Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Amongst the Garbage Cans

About two hours into my physio appointment, Travis often approaches me and says “Okay, come with me. Field trip.”

This time I had listened to almost the entire Meatloaf song Paradise by the Dashboard Lights while I did hamstring stretches, so I was eager for the change of activity—the only problem is that I knew where we were going. We were going upstairs to run amongst the garbage cans.

Now some people might think of physio as a stretchy, massage-y, relaxing appointment, and for some types of injuries, that may be true—but for me, no. I am usually dripping in sweat for a solid two hours. There aren’t really any breaks, and Travis barks a lot of orders.

The running thing always comes at the end of the appointment, when I am most exhausted. The reason I run near the garbage cans is that no one else is there; it’s nice and cool, overlooking the seating for the ice arena. Travis needs to check my running style to make sure I am not favouring my knee. “Run to the 2nd garbage can and back,” he says.

I comply. Travis stands there, arms crossed, watching me and frowning.

When I come back, he says, “Again.” I go again. I come back. “Okay, now run, knees high, to the garbage can and back.”

I go. Travis yells after me “Higher!”

I come back. The second garbage can is halfway to the other end of the arena, so I am starting to breathe a little huffily. He still has his arms crossed. Still frowning. “Now skip.”


“Yup. Like a little girl.”

“Can you demonstrate?” I ask hopefully. I know what skipping is, of course, but this will buy me some time to catch my breath and make Travis look as ridiculous as me. It actually worked once before: he skipped to the garbage can and back, and secretly I think he liked it, since he did a little twirl and added some jazz hands at the end.

“Nice try, Cathy.”

“Okay,” I say. I skip amongst the garbage cans. Tra la la.

“Nice skipping,” he says admiringly when I get back. “Now shuffle side to side. 2nd garbage can.”

I shuffle side to side.

“Now in back, in front, in back, in front,” he says.

“What?” I ask desperately, huffing and puffing. “Like this?” I try to do it but I am pretty useless. You know what this is, right? Arms out sideways like an airplane, legs shuffling sideways, alternating one in front, one behind you. It feels kind of like dancing, and I’m not a good dancer. I’m an enthusiastic dancer when I’ve had a drink or two and the music is good, but these conditions are different.

“I need you to demonstrate,” I try again. He takes the bait. He shows me a little, then comes back, and says, “Come on, let’s go. Together.” We dance sideways together, in back, in front, all the way to the garbage can and back. He is much better at it than me. Still, I can’t help feeling like a clumsy, sweaty Ginger Rogers.

“Now run up those stairs,” he says.

“Travis, there’s no stairs in soccer,” I say.

Cathy…” he says sternly.

I run up, run down. He raises his eyebrows at me. “Again,” he says.

I run again, even though I think perhaps this time he is making me do it because I am such a pain in the ass. As I go, he yells out “Knees high!” My knees are not high. They are not even highish.

Somehow I make it back down.

“Again.” He says.

I go. “Higher!” he yells. “There’s a burning child up there at the top of the stairs!”

I start to laugh. Dear god, why am I laughing about a burning child? When I get back down, I say “Travis, I don’t like that child. That child is dead to me.”


“Can’t the kid just jump down?”


I go again. As I run, he repeatedly yells “Burning!“ and again, I can’t stop laughing. I feel like I’m in the military. Is this how I would react to my drill sergeant? Maybe it’s nervous laughter since I feel like I’m in the movie Full Metal Jacket and I’m worried Travis is going to beat me with a pillowcase full of soap.

Finally, we are done with the stairs. It’s almost time for me to go home and rock back and forth in the fetal position until my next appointment. As we leave, Travis says, “You should see it when the Vancouver Giants do the stairs.” He is the physiotherapist for the semi-pro hockey team. I want to tell him I am old enough to be one of those hockey players moms—and not some kind of scandalous teenage mom, either—but I can’t talk since I am breathing so heavily, so I decide to let that one go.

I also consider asking him why he couldn’t have lifted a finger to save the poor, burning child at the to of the stairs, but then I remember I have to see him in a few days and if I am at all unkind, I’m very,very afraid of what will happen next.


  1. time to put on the big girl panties and go save burning children Cathy, tsk tsk

    - man who couldn't find semi naked pix of women in this post

  2. Frank?? Is that you above? Cathy, thanks for the geegles.

  3. You've got me laughing again. Excellent imagery, as always.

  4. Frank?

    Dominix that you?



    Man of stop outing me!