Chionophile

I walk on my lunch break. I have not always done this, I used to do sensible things like read, catch up on sitcoms, watch YouTube videos, or play Minecraft. Then, I got a fitness tracker (you know those little fashion accessories that also remind you to get up off the sofa once per hour, and make you feel like you let them down when you don’t reach your step goal for the day). For those who do not have one of these little devices, be warned, it will change your life. I know that is a very general statement, so let me specify: if you are remotely competitive, susceptible to peer pressure, have friends with the same tracker you do, are willing to join weekly challenges with people more competitive than you but with approximately equal physical activity levels, it will change your life.

It seems silly, but it is true. I find myself making excuses to walk. I used to be quite content to sit at my desk all day. I brought a giant water bottle to work so I wouldn’t have to get up more than once per day to fill it up. I now drink out of a coffee mug. A big-ass coffee mug, but still much smaller than the water bottle I used to bring to work. This means that I have to get up much more frequently to take the requisite fifty-step roundtrip to the water cooler to fill my mug twice as frequently. The fact that I down the remaining liquid in the mug every hour at ten ‘til when my watch tells me I should move means that I have to take about twice as many bathroom breaks as I did before I had an electronic fitness coach. This results in another 75-step roundtrip with the added bonus of having a flight of stairs thrown in there (I could use the restroom in my office and save myself going downstairs, but, even before I was looking to add extra steps to my day, my paruresis wouldn’t let me do that).

So what does this have to do with chionophiles? Well, if you have not googled it already (or if you don’t remember from my beer blog), a chionophile is an organism that thrives in cold conditions. I fear that my lunchtime walks are very cold-weather dependent as, (as I mentioned in my sock blog) I wear a shirt and tie to work. Walking a couple miles at lunch while it is chilly outside is very different from trying to do the same thing in sweltering heat. If I go for a brisk ramble in 80-degree heat, I will end up heading back to work with pit-stains that would make a linebacker on cardio day proud. On all but the warmest days, I should be able to get away with my pre-work constitutional without having to sop up with a sponge, but by noon under full sun, I am done for.

Now don’t get me wrong, I hate the cold as much as the next guy; it is my lunch-walk that is a chionophile. Me, I am a delicate flower. I wilt at the idea of subzero temperatures, and you know how they say that it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity? Well, the opposite is true as well. I will take a dry, Idaho cold any day, but you add some moisture to those cold temperatures, and, I swear to all that is holy, gloves make it worse. Well, probably not good winter gloves that don’t let the wind through, but those cool gloves that let you continue to play Pokemon GO while not having any exposed skin? On a damp day, you are better off with nothing at all, my friend. But I have to have that walk. It lets me refocus on heading into the downhill section of my day; it wakes me up in the afternoon since my body refuses to tolerate caffeine; and, well, without that walk, how am I supposed to crush my friends at virtual step competitions?

So, while I know most everyone is out there hoping for a nice warming trend to the weather, I will be hanging out, praying to Boreas for the strong north winds to continue to bring the chill of Canada down and keep the perspiration at bay.

by: Tim Kiester with extensive grammatical edits provided by Laura Nelson (check out her blog; she is hilarious).

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