On the Diversity of Torture (Part 2)

So, Abbey and I spent fifty-five minutes today on a new workout routine called Plana Forma. The source of this novel form of self-inflicted torture—the source of most novelties in our life, actually, whether torturous or not—was Tria. On her instigation, we found ourselves doing things abdominals, hips, thighs and hamstrings were likely not designed for—unless our bodies’ functionality includes the express generation of pain. Our instructor, Julie, was obviously a veteran of many introductory classes, given the timeliness of her occasional urgent reminders for all of us “to breathe.”

And there were several moments when passing out seemed an attractive, if not altogether humane, option. Years of yoga on my end, ballet on Abbey’s and jazz on Tria’s didn’t count for very much. In the end, we peeled ourselves off the floor, politely shook our heads when Julie asked us (jokingly) whether any of us had felt like killing her, and tried (unsuccessfully) to change out of our workout clothes without moving any of our lower extremities (at which point Julie entered the dressing room and reassured us cheerfully that we would feel pain for the next two to three days—lactic acid build-up, she said).

In the lobby, the staff studiously ignored our slightly stilted gaits and happily pointed out the Plana Forma 4×4 Challenge, which involves completing four consecutive weeks of four sessions per week. When I asked them drily (which tonality they also studiously ignored) what one would get if one managed not to die in the course of the challenge, the answer was: discounts to even more sessions. Next to me, Tria was already making plans to schedule her husband, Peter, to do the course.

Outside, Tria asked if we wanted to go out for dinner. I said: As long as it’s somewhere that won’t make all that pain go to waste, like some place that serves salads. Abbey and Tria nodded. So where should we go then? I paused for a moment. Pasto.

And that was how we spent the next three hours working through crostinis, pizza, pasta, oysters and ice cream. We never made it to the salad.