Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Vices, Temptations, And Things Better Left Alone

Someone once asked me what my vices were, whether or not I indulged them when I was on the road, how easy they were to come by, did I even bother trying to resist temptations when I was on the road and away from my wife. It's never easy, avoiding temptation. The biggest ones are the easiest to avoid, but the most minor and inconsequential ones seem to be the ones that trouble me the most, morally and in more real-world terms.

Sex is always the biggest one, and the one I've developed the best defense against. Not that I have a problem with sex, it's just that whole Joy-would-beat-my-ass-like-a-redheaded-stepchild-if-she-found-out thing that gives me the willies. I'd mentioned previously how I deal with it, with what I call the Gentle Deflection, where I very carefully, very carefully try to turn a woman's unrequited lust into something more beneficial. No, not like a place to crash for the night or a free meal. More like having a network of friends that'll help keep me out of trouble and provide company of more Platonic means. I've even developed my personal favorite not-quite-a-brushoff line that's totally truthful:

Woman: "So, you're a long way from home. Do you cheat on your wife while you're on the road?"

Me: "Sure, I eat all the things she's allergic to. Dairy, citrus, shellfish, oh yeah....."

The last time I used that line, that poor woman looked at me like I was from Mars. Utterly thunderstruck. Gobsmacked. At sixes and sevens. DOES NOT COMPUTE. All I could offer up was a shrug and a shit-eating grin before I walked away. What the hell else was I supposed to do? Every last word I said was the honest truth!

The vices that get to me are more trivial, but perhaps more insidious. I'm already fully aware that I've got to get off my ass once in a while and exercise and eat less. Weather tends to be the problem a lot, as Nevada is dangerously hot in the summer, and dangerously cold in the winter. That keeps me indoors more than anything else. Now that I know that I have access to the gym and pool at the Nugget in Sparks, I can use that to get in a workout and kill time doing something other than eating junk food and making LOLz online. Finding similar freely-available facilities in Carson City would be even better.

I've also become an internet junkie, but then again, so has Joy. I can stay away from the more sordid corners of the World Wide Web without much trouble, but truth be told, virtually any activity online can be addictive for me. I already know that my genetic makeup leaves me very prone to addiction - most of my family are either alcoholics or recovering alcoholics - but bashing trolls on political blogs or on a PlayStation2 can be just as addicting. I know I've become a Facebook junkie, checking it several times a day for this update or that. Hell, I never thought I'd even like Facebook!

Lack of exercise is a killer for me. When I met Joy sixteen years ago, I probably weighed about 170 pounds. Now I'm pushing 225. Gaining about four or five pounds a year doesn't seem like much on the surface, but I know better. It's added up. This is why I need to get off my ass more often. When we first moved to Reno, one of the first things we did was to get a membership to a local gym. I'm not sure I lost a lot of weight, but I know that I was in better shape. It didn't help that my brief rugby career left me with shin splints so bad that, had I been either rich or a professional athlete, would've likely sent me in for microfracture surgery that would've taken months to recover from. But in the case of my working-class self, my only option was to get off my feet as much as possible for a while. But when your wife is in need of care like Joy is, that doesn't happen as much as I'd like it to.

And I know that I eat too much. Killing time alone in a hotel room as a virtual shut-in, staring at a monitor day and night (PS2, TV, computer), then working a sit-down job, it's not good at all. I like to cook when I can while I'm on the road, but cooking in a hotel room is a challenge at best, and something that could get me kicked out of said hotel room at worst. I wind up eating a lot of soups and sandwiches under the best of circumstances, and nothing but fast food and junk food under the worst. Working out more will hopefully offset the more destructive angels of my nature.

This way, the world can see less of me, right?

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