It’s no surprise that exercise is more effective and much more enjoyable when done in groups. There’s something about the shared pains and gains, that make the experience far richer than any comparable activity alone. And it’s something I look forward to each morning, working out at PSU with Miss Triche.
We frequently take class outside where she leads us up and around Portland’s well-forested West Hills. The view is so gorgeous, you can almost forget the hurt…
“I’m going to die,” said one student, breathlessly, from the top of a long flight of stairs.
“Don’t,” said another, knowingly, “She’ll kill you.”
A few days later, again we trudged up and around the Hills. April, my favorite cohort of all the students, one who never fails to make me smile (even when she’s grumpy) ran by my side.
“I had the weirdest dream this morning,” I told her, trying to keep my voice down – it’s not easy, but Miss Triche prefers silence while running… “I was trying to protect these little round nests on the ground, with what seemed like hummingbirds inside. I was trying to save them from being stepped on…but I failed. And it was heartbreaking!”
Trotting along in what sounded like a herd of elephants, Miss Triche, April and I, shoulder to shoulder ahead of the rest of the pack, then passed over what was the most incredible looking snail I had ever seen. With a color of rich mahogany, this thing had to be almost palm sized. For a split second, I hesitated.
It’s doomed, I thought to myself… but I must try to save it!
Without choice I stopped in my tracks and spun around, dividing the crowd of lumbering, sweaty college students, shouting, “Look out! Look out! There’s a huge snail you’ve got to go around!”
The mob of students miraculously parted and flowed around me, until I found myself looking at this poor snail’s fate, straight in the… chest.
Her boobs were so big, I’m not sure she could see the ground.
She said, “What snail?”
And it was crushed. The sound seemed to reverberate off of the mountainside as Miss Triche, April and I cringed. I felt a little sick. The emotional roller coaster of stumbling across the raddest snail I’d ever seen, combined with the dashed hopes of saving it, made my stomach turn.
If only I had not hesitated! Maybe the snail could have lived.
“That’s it!” Said April, “That’s what your dream was about!”
“You know what?” I replied, “You’re probably right.” And then I wondered aloud with a chuckle, “Why did the snail cross the road? To get to the afterlife!”