by James “Cranky” Ramsay

Cuppa scuppers
Illustration: Russ Tudor

This past winter and through the spring, I had been planning my return to the start line in 2018. This was to be my summer of glory, in which I would reclaim my rightful place among the top 50 masters road racers in my postal district.

I prepared well by eating right, thinking winning thoughts, doing squats, jumping on and off wooden boxes, engaging in visualization exercises and going to bed before 9 p.m. As the weeks and months ticked by, my fitness increased, my mind was fortified and my body was transformed.

And then I was sidelined. Knocked flat. It all happened in an instant. Today, it hurts to walk. Jumping on or off anything is out of the question, much to Mrs.’s disappointment. Visualizing myself exercising is the closest I’ve come to actually exercising in the past two months.

How did this happen? It’s an embarrassing story, but I offer it as a cautionary tale: I hurt myself procrastinating.

“That’s ridiculous,” you say. “Procrastination is morally corrupt, but you can’t injure yourself doing it!”
Cuppa

Oh, but you can – and I did. Let me tell you how.

It was a Thursday evening a couple of months ago, about 9 p.m. I was at work. I had decided to put in a few extra hours so that I could leave early on Friday to drive up north for the weekend. My plan was to finish up everything I had to do for the week. I estimated this work would take me until about 10:30 or 11 p.m.

“So far, so good. But where’s the procrastination?” I hear you ask.

Well, there was one report I needed to write that was proving troublesome. I kept trying to start it, but I couldn’t find the right words to get the flow going. So I put it off and did something else. And then I put it off again. And again. Finally, after running out of other productive things to do, I thought, “I’ll just go and refresh this cup of tea. That will get me going.”

The office cleaner had just come by with his mop. The floor was gleaming with warm, slightly soapy water. As I stepped toward the kitchen, I thought, “This is a bit rotten of me, to be walking on his nice clean floor. Poor fellow will have to go over it again.”

Clearly, some karmic force agreed that it was indeed rotten of me because at that exact moment, I slipped on the floor, my feet sliding out from under me. I came crashing down flat on my back. Except I didn’t land entirely flat. Most of the impact was absorbed by my left elbow and my tailbone, the latter of which hit the floor at a slight angle.

After I spent a second in shocked silence, the pain hit me. I let out a truly foul stream of expletives, at which point two of my colleagues came running. I rolled over, Canadian grimacing in agony and tried to get up. The pain in my lower back was so intense that I nearly passed out.

My colleagues put me in a chair in the boardroom where I gradually recovered my composure. It seemed I hadn’t broken anything, but I felt as though I’d been assaulted (which I suppose I had, albeit with an office floor rather than a more conventional weapon). After recovering for about 30 minutes, I struggled into a taxi and made it home, where Mrs. Cranky experienced a confusing mixture of concern for my well-being and dread at the thought of the moaning and groaning she knew she would have to endure in the coming weeks. I was moving like a 100-year-old man.

Since then, I’ve been gradually recovering. But I haven’t been able to ride my bike (or run or stand on one foot) in several weeks. My physical activity has been limited to walking. As any cyclist knows, walking should be avoided at all costs, even when it doesn’t hurt.

My witch doctor tells me I’ll be back on my bike by August. That means I’ll have some reasonable fitness back by late fall, which in turn means I may be able to put in a good showing at one of the late-season gran fondos. Failing that, I’ll be heading into the off-season with a head start on my winter fitness. As long as I eat right, drop weight, do my squats, engage in visualization exercises and go to bed before 9 p.m., I’ll be all set for glory in 2019.

Unless, of course, I find myself staying late at the office one night next spring and tempted to put off my work in favour of another cup of tea. Just to be safe, I think I’ll buy a kettle for my desk.

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