Functional Strength: Revised Definition

My week of business travel at a swishy resort ended with a bit of a hairpin curve.  But there are lessons to be extracted from any adventure – good or bad.  i learned a few on Saturday.

My flight was scheduled for 2:00 pm, so i planned a leisurely morning at the gym, poolside brunch, then the short jaunt to the airport.  Up with the sunrise at 6:00 am, i scratched and made a cup of coffee to slurp on the balcony while listening to the crashing surf one last time…

Around 6:30, the lights flickered and went out.  i put on my workout gear and headed down the 18 flights of stairs to the fitness center.  Walking through the lobby?  Quiet chaos as the early-risers tried to check out, corner a bellman for a luggage assist or just bark at the helpless staff.

In the fitness center, the lights flickered occasionally, but i was able to get in a 30 minute session on the elliptical and 30 minutes with weights.  The hotel had back up power – the ellipticals kept working but the poor bastards trying to use the treadmills were periodically lurched onto the carpet when the power quit.  Pretty entertaining… caught myself anticipating the next power glitch just to watch them fly!

Talking with a woman on the adjacent machine i learned there had been a fire in my tower, and that she had been roused from her room by a knock at the door and a request to evacuate the building.  She was in the same tower as me, one floor up.  They must have paid more for their room.  No knock on my door… Bad time for staff to respect a ‘do not disturb’ sign.

Finished up, wandered back through the lobby – where there were now a large number of cranky people assembled.  Free breakfast pastries and orange juice were offered, as none of the restaurants or shops were open.  i snagged a bagel and headed out to the pool. 

After an hour of baking in the morning sun, i munched over potential options for getting my two suitcases down from the 18th floor – while sorting through other potential obstacles for getting to the airport on time. 

It was 10:00 am.  i needed to be checked out and headed to the airport by noon.  Hotel staff had told me that the power should be back on in an hour.  Right.  They had also assured me that i would be able to get bellmen to assist with luggage.  Sure…  “Check is in the mail”, “I’ll respect you in the morning” and “I’m from your government and I’m here to help you”.

Hoofed it up 18 flights of stairs, lit only by glow sticks.  By then, the emergency lights had shriveled.  i encountered a few souls hauling large suitcases down the stairs.  i mentioned to one woman that she might have been able to get assistance, she laughed and said “From what I’ve been told, they’ve all vaporized!”

In my room, i finished packing.  Hauled the first 50 pound suitcase full of scuba gear on a long trek down a dark stairwell.  Good times.  As i got to the ground floor, and attempted to navigate the warren of dark hallways to find the lobby, i took a wrong turn.

Popping around a corner, into a service garage area, i stumbled into a nest of bell staff.  About 15 of them, smoking cigarettes and looking guilty.  They were startled by my arrival, and seemed ready to scatter.  Smoke billowed out of their heads in relief as i turned and wheeled my bag back to the lobby. 

Checked my bag at the desk and headed back up the stairs for my final trip.  On the way up, i heard an awful racket above me.  Stepping into an alcove, i dodged a bellman ‘sledding’ two large bags down the flights of stairs – and realized i was far better off hauling my own gear.  Grabbed my second suitcase, attached a glow stick to the front for better visibility and headed down again.

Other than initial failure to locate my rental car company*, and the masses of “cruise-nozzles” in the airport, the rest of the trip was uneventful. 

Managed the entire morning without panic, or assistance.  Had i not been doing 30 minutes of interval training 6 days a week, and lifting weights since January, i might not have had the strength and stamina to pull this off.  There’s still a long way to go, but this body shall not rot. 

Functional strength** – being able to do whatever is needed, whenever it needs doing.  By yourself.

* If you are ever completely unable to locate your rental car return venue?  My favorite trick – learned while trying to get to an off-off-terminal rental car shack in East LA at 10:00 PM on a Friday night.  Drive through the airport “arrivals” lanes.  Find the right rental car shuttle.  Tail them aggressively – they always go home… Has saved me far too many times.

** Earlier this year, i wrote of my approach to fitness:  Functional Strength.  i have a much better idea of what that means now…

25 thoughts on “Functional Strength: Revised Definition

  1. i’ve started working on it! new meds mean a lot of possible obstacles, but fuckit, right? i’ll do what i can now and more when i can later! xoxoxox

  2. Good show, daisyfae, good show. Ultimately, the only one you can ever really rely upon is yourself. Functional strength – the cat’s ass.

    Thanks for the tailgate the rental car shuttle tip. Good one. Hope I never have to use it, but glad to have it in the back pocket.

  3. Functional strength = Warrior Princess

    This is how I would market it, but then again I would use Xena to market everything. A six foot Kiwi Amazon can sell anything, at least to me she can.

  4. archie – oh, we all could…. rawr…

    fragrant liar – i was surprised at how non-reactive the staff was to people standing a foot away and screaming at them. something tells me it’s happened on more than one occasion!

    rob – that’s it… count on no one, but remember to be delighted when people come through for you unexpectedly. like rental car shuttle drivers, who know what you’re doing as you cling to their rear bumper – and wait for you at intersections! (i should just break down and get a gps unit).

    renalfailure – i’d buy a slapchop, cheap polarized sunglasses and a snuggie from that woman…

    nursemyra – and vice versa!

    DP – yelling was the non-productive option. yet lots chose that route. easier to just move your own damn suitcases…

  5. I would’ve waved a $20 at the third world bell staff and then made the sucker who jumped at it carry me back up 18 flights of steps, hahahaha.

  6. Ok..I laughed at the dumbasses on the treadmill..wouldn’t you just not get back on after the first time? However, I hate that you’re rubbing it in how powerful you now are..makes me think you’re that trainer rubbing my fat ass in my own face…fine fine..I’ll use the treadmill and weights for what they are intended and not a storage area.
    If you can do it, so can I.

  7. ah geez daisyfae, now i feel so guilty for having such a great day! seriously though, i’ll bet you are a hoot to travel with.. the treadmill thing was hilarious. you need to carry a camera or a flip video for just such occasions!! surley someone’s posted video on youtube.

    so how bad was this fire?

  8. unbearable banishment – interesting question. although the end result would have probably been the same – i was in decent shape in my early 30’s – most likely i would have done a little of the ‘pathetic , exasperated woman alone’ routine to try to get help. since i was younger? it might have worked. i’m now invisible. another of my super powers.

    dai – when i handle things on my own? i always feel better. the best? helping out someone else. although in this situation, it was every man for himself!

    kono – one of my ‘options’ was to offer $20/bag. but that might have cut into my ‘airport drinking fund’, and given the number of vacationing families? not worth it…

    stephanie – the world will have to wait. i really need to fix the bathtub first…

    kyknoord – if snorkel is a euphemism? yes. absolutely.

    hisqueen – you can do it. don’t try to do too much to start, though. pick a simple change, add it to your daily routine – maybe just some bicep curls in front of the tv. as you get used to that, you can add a few more things. the “all or nothing” approach tends to discourage people. i’ve been moving in this direction for a couple years. it will take time. especially because i’m never giving up bacon, chocolate or booze.

    lynn – it’s a case of ‘make your own party’ most of the time. i’ve been party to bribing a cab driver to race (against a pack of friends in another cab). $20 tip and he became a Vietnamese Mario Andretti at 3am in downtown San Diego… (and i can’t spell either!)

    dolce – i have one. we all need one. i would sleep in it if the sword didn’t make dents in my ass…

    jimmy – i really should just buy a gps, but it seems like a cop out to me. navigation is a good skill to maintain. just in case…

    uncle keith – i don’t do reverse cowboy. unless there’s something good on tv.

  9. Oh my….you take a couple of days off from blogging and you come back to five thousand words….and that was just here….will read them all laters……

  10. Ah good service really is hard to find….and hard service is good to find, or something like that. HOWEVER, it’s not good to get the two confused.

    I’m staying in a hotel as I write this and thankfully only on the 4th floor.

  11. manuel – sorry about that. i try to keep it at 500 words or less, but sometimes i go on a tear… i’m home now, far less time to write. should slow down a bit…

    carlae – exactly! safety-wise, you should be on the 3rd-4th floor. above the ground to keep people from coming in the window, but low enough that you can be reached via ladder truck in a fire. i prefer the high floors, though. this was my second fire evacuation in 20 years of heavy travel. i could see the ocean from my balcony. worth it…

    killer – welcome to ‘the park’. i see manuel sent you?!? i am very lucky to even have a job, let alone one that pays me to think deep thoughts and come up with crazy science ideas while playing on a beach… i keep thinking it won’t last… and am prepared for it to all go to shit.

  12. Good times, Good times;+). Luckily you had been working out, it sure makes a difference in over all strength. I was just thinking about that last night working out at the Gym. We have been going for a couple of months now I was surprised at how much stronger I was a pretty big difference.

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