By Tina Calder
For those who know me well you will already know about my complete dependence on Diet Coke to get me through the average day without strangling some of the more irritating people I encounter.
Those people will probably also know that I rarely leave the house without my trusty stash of aspartame-laden 330ml cans. Because let’s be honest, it just doesn’t taste the same from a bottle no matter what anyone says.
On Wednesday this week I was running slightly late as it was but I had decided that only death would prevent me from going to the gym this week no matter what ridiculous excuses my brain would concoct to try and cry off.
Half asleep and literally tangled up in my coat and three bags I fell in to my aunt’s car – I was at the point of no return and proud of myself…well as proud as one 36-year old half asleep working mum can muster up.
I had a cheek to be tired, Sharon – my aunt and my new gym buddy – is the mother of 5-year old quads.
I pretty much looked like I was moving in when I arrived at the gym, to be honest I probably looked homeless in my ratty old gym gear, numerous bags and hair that could have very easily been mistaken for a birds nest.
I got to MY locker, I’m a creature of habit – it’s pathetic but true. Realise I had forgotten my water bottle #NightmareNumber1. So I rummage around like a Womble (the little cute TV ones not the weird paramilitary ones – don’t ask I’m still confused) and finally find the extortionate £1.30 it’s going to cost for a bottle of River Rock.
I’m back on track and I head into the gym. Head for the treadmills where I was in luck because Jeremy Kyle was doing DNA and the guy “is your father” rejoice! But as I finish on the treadmill (20 minutes – yey me) I feel my stress levels rising as I realise the place is packed and the only three recline cycles were being used #NightmareNumber2. So I get my lurk on…I relax, hover, drink, check phone, pace and eventually sneak up behind the three women who are off on their own Tour De Shore Road. Under the guise of pretending to set up a cross trainer I realise they are all just minutes from finishing…there is literally an angelic fanfare in my head – there’s no way I could have survived the cross trainer that day.
I’m on the bike, I’m listening to Maroon 5, I’m watching Jeremy Kyle and sending emails while clocking up the miles and knocking off the calories…”look at me” I say to myself with a little proud grin as I count how many things I’m doing at once.
45 minutes since I stepped onto the treadmill, I gave myself a wee invisible pat on the back and counted that I had burned off 230 calories according to the machines…I was already deciding what treat I could have now !
I head for the showers…there’s red hair dye everywhere, it looks like a scene from Criminal Minds and then #NightmareNumber3 occurs…I get out of the shower expecting it to turn off as normal (they’re automatic) but it doesn’t, and I’m already dressed and my little newly filled bottles of shampoo and conditioner with those very words scribbled hurriedly in black marker are stuck inside the cubicle, I can’t go back in – I would get soaked…red hair dye, half empty bottles and a shower that won’t turn off I walk away defeated.
I pull myself together and gather my stuff to leave. I’m late, later than expected my anxiety levels rise as I frantically type an apology text to the person I was working with that day…but I was interrupted by a hissing noise, I turned round as I left the changing rooms – nothing.
Walked a few feet more, I could still hear it but I was preoccupied by the belief that I hadn’t dried properly because the back of my legs felt wet. I turned – nothing.
I walked a little further past the two men painting the gym and I was still feeling something wet on my legs and the hissing noise…I turned around only this time to find a 10 metre trail of Diet Coke drops….
#NightmareNumber4 IT WAS ME…I dropped everything to the ground and said to the painter “oh no that was me, I was wondering what was going on” embarrassment set in…I had to unravel my gym clothes including socks and underwear to use my towel to clean me dry the not one but TWO laptop power cables I had stored in the same bag as the exploding Diet Coke.
One tiny hole near the top of the can created by some tool of mystery caused havoc as #NightmareNumber5 set in “do you want a hand love” says the very kind workman “no” says I, “I’m too embarrassed to take it”.
A gym worker arrives on time to rescue me from the humiliating task of using my purple and white spotty towel to clean 10 metres of Diet Coke spillage.
I run off.
Only to encounter #NightmareNumber6. I had rang my local taxi company and within seconds a taxi was beeping his horn, I grab all my bags, one now soaked in Diet Coke and wrapped in a towel and go to jump into the car…two things happen, firstly the car wasn’t for me – which is not normally that embarrassing only secondly it was the owner/driver of the firm I had a huge run in with just over a month ago.
I waited on my taxi…he got me to where I had to be as quickly as he could, but the reality was I was a lot later than I had hoped to be #NightmareNumber7.
And this was all before 11am. At shortly after 11am I cracked open the last remaining unscathed can as I sat waiting on the computer to crank up and I had my very own Diet Coke Breakdown and asked myself “who in hell’s name ever said 7 was a lucky number?”.
(C) Tina Calder