I learned about Peloton a couple years ago, probably from Meg. She told me at that time that the most supportive friend in her life was an exceptionally gay Peloton spin instructor named Cody who regularly yells at people to get their lives together.
When These Unprecedented Times began I really wished I had a Peloton bike. Since we could no longer go to a gym, Skylar purchased some rubber bands and a giant blowup ball from the internet to create the world's most depressing fitness center in my basement. I will forever have an extremely visceral memory of walking down there every day around 2:00 to start doing pushups on a rug while Duncan repeatedly dropped a ball in front of me, annoyed that I wasn't playing with him.
Skylar told me then I really should order a Peloton bike since it would fit in the basement and I could take the spin classes available online. This seemed like a good idea but every time I looked it up and saw that it costs $521,000, it just seemed like an irresponsible thing for me to buy.
Finally, Skylar pulled the trigger for me. It was actually a Christmas present. Christmas presents in marriage are fun because it's your spouse's way of saying "here's a thing you bought yourself against your will."
Apparently the bikes were on backorder or had to be shipped from Venus or something because it then took two months to arrive. But arrive, it did, last Friday. And y'all: this thing is amazing.
Yes, it's a nice bike.
Yes, the workouts are challenging and useful.
Yes, my hair looks terrific when I ride.
But the main reason this is amazing is these instructors have literally become my church. I worship in their pews. They are my ministers. Their warmups are my scripture. I will be having them officiate my next wedding. I have already started paying tithing to them. I will henceforth be confessing my sins at their faces.
I climb on the bike and suddenly Cody or Ally or whoever is like "first we're going to start by acknowledging you showed up for yourself today."
And I audibly say "I did show up for myself today!
And then they say "now thank yourself for making you a priority."
And I yell "thank you, Eli!"
Then we start riding. They deliver harsh truths and optimistic encouragement. Cody calls me his "boo" and says "it's 1:00 AM in the club and I'm not letting you go home with no man because tonight is ladies' night on this bike!"
Or Ally will tell me it's ok that she hasn't informed me what's coming up in the workout yet "because there is beauty in uncertainty because in uncertainty lies unlimited possibility."
I don't always understand what they mean, but when I'm exhausted and dripping buckets of sweat onto the basement floor, it all sounds reasonable. They're so confident, the way they shout directly into the camera, that I'm convinced they can't be incompetent.
Eventually the workout will start to wind down and Tunde will tell me "no matter what happened today, your mind is your strongest muscle and honey, you just proved it."
"My mind is my strongest muscle and today I proved it," I told Skylar when he came home from the hospital or gambling or affairs later that night.
"I dropped my arms and baggage at the door and will never let anyone dim my light."
Skylar sighed as he fumbled through that day's mail sitting on the kitchen table. "I'm going to regret getting you that bike, aren't I."
"Regrets are just your mind's way of blocking self-empathy." I told him.
He shook his head and sighed once more.
"Lord. I've turned you into a fortune cookie."
~It Just Gets Stranger