On being ... repurposed

By Ingrid Sapona

One of the nice things about living alone is you don’t have to explain your everyday behaviour or decisions to anyone. That said, I often catch myself coming up with rationalizations for my actions, as if I had to justify them to someone. Wait, that sounds a bit odd. Let me put a more normal-sounding spin on it: before I decide whether to do something, I mentally go through as many arguments -- pro and con -- as I can. Maybe it’ll make more sense if I give you an example of something I found myself debating about last week.

I’m taking a phys ed course one night a week at a local high school. It’s a “boot camp”, which amounts to a bunch of middle-age folks doing laps, squats, lunges, sit-ups, and pushups in a gymnasium. (I know, it sounds like we’re trying to re-connect with our youth. Well, I for one was never that into gym in my youth. Believe me, the only thing I’m “re-connecting with” are muscles I never knew I had.)

Anyway, some of the stuff we do requires lying on our stomachs or backs on the floor. I’m long past worrying about cooties, but I have to admit, the gym floor is pretty disgusting. After the first class most of the women brought yoga mats. I don’t have one and I figured a towel would be fine since I just go home, shower, and throw my clothes in the laundry. But, during last week’s class I realized another problem is that the floor (a basketball court) is quite slippery, making floor work both gross and hazardous.

By the time I got in the car after the class that night, my inner debate team was raring to go on the issue of whether I should buy a yoga mat. First up was the “buy it” side: “Just bite the bullet and buy a yoga mat – it doesn’t have to be anything fancy or expensive. So what if it disintegrates after four months? It only has to last for six more sessions.”

Then the contra viewpoint chimed in: “Come on -- you’re not one of those yoga mat-totting baby boomers. Please…”

Then the rebuttal: “But think of your knees – that floor is so hard on them – aren’t they worth protecting? Go on, get one…”

Followed by the surrebutter (I’m a lawyer – look it up if you don’t believe me!): “So just double the damned towel when you’re doing something on your knees, no big deal. Besides, where would you store a yoga mat? You have no room for more stuff!” Finally, as I hit the shower, the moderator chimed in: “No need to decide tonight…”.

Though I thought I had put it out of my head, the next afternoon it was clear that I hadn’t. I was obsessed with trying to think of something I could use besides a towel or yoga mat. Before I knew it I was digging through the bottom of a closet to see whether I still had a long, narrow carpet I was no longer using. (If you must know, I was no longer using it because I ruined it last year by putting in the washer. As you can see from the photo I took at the time, somehow the washer took a fairly large, fray-free bite out of the carpet.) I was pretty sure I had gotten rid of it because storage space is precious and it certainly wasn’t suitable for my front hall any more.

I couldn’t believe it when I found the carpet neatly rolled up in the corner of the closet. Why had I kept it? And how long had I had it? I checked the date on the photo – it was from May 2009 -- eight months! Just then a voice inside my head chided me with, “Yeah, space is at a premium … so premium you’re keeping holey carpets!”

Unrolling it ignited a whole new discussion in my head: Would it be too embarrassing to use in the gym class? That debate went something like this: “Embarrassing? How about pathetic? Who brings a floor runner to a gym class -- even an un-torn one?”

“But the runner is exactly the size of a yoga mat. And, it’s certainly clean (after all, it’s not been used since the washing that caused the mysterious hole) so it would be a hell of a lot nicer than that icky gym floor. And it has a rubber backing, so no more sliding around. So what if it has a hole? Besides, who’ll notice it?”

“True, no one will notice the hole -- they’ll be too busy snickering at the loser who brought a carpet to boot camp!”

“This isn’t high school (well, it is, but I’m beyond high school, if you know what I mean). What do I care what people think? Besides, I’m there for a workout -- not to impress anyone.”

This point/counter-point went on for quite some time until I came up with the winning argument -- one in favour of taking the carpet to the class. It’s very clever, if I must say so myself – it provides an excuse, er, rationale, for why I didn’t throw the carpet out last May and it is oh so 21st century: I’m repurposing the runner.

What’s that? You’ve never heard of repurposing? Well, think of it as the 4th R – reduce, reuse, and recycle are all so yesterday…

You know, I’ll bet repurposing catches on. If not, maybe my holey runner will start a trend in workout gear. Stranger things have caught on…

© 2010 Ingrid Sapona


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