It takes me a long time to learn anything. I think I’ve always been this way. It’s part of the overanalysis, I guess.
I am a natural at nothing (except golf. It is what I was born to do, but that ship has sailed).
When I was 16, I started working at Wendy’s. The first thing they taught me was the grill. I think they wanted me to master the grill before I moved on to anything else. I was on the grill for a long time. Roughly 3 or 4 times longer than anyone else before I really caught on.
But then after that really steep learning curve, it turns out I was the best damn grillman they ever had. Not that that means anything. I was literally flipping burgers. But damn, I was good at it.
Say that reminds me. I used to take a slice of cheese and set it on the wooden counter we leaned on as we worked the grill. I’d take the spatula and while I was singing “Dun, da-dun, da du-na-na …” (the MTV theme song) I’d cut 2 narrow triangular slivers from the bottom of the cheese slice and one wide triangle from the top to make the cheese look like a big “M”. Then I’d use the 2 pieces from the bottom (still singing the MTV song) to make the little “T” and the wide triangle from the top for the “V”.
The sandwich girls swooned.
Anyway, I think part of my problem learning from people is that I tend to take them literally. When I hear words, I first consider the literal meaning of them. If that doesn’t make sense, I evaluate the environment and try to get the true meaning of the words. Since I usually guess wrong, if I can’t make any sense at all out of what I’ve heard, I’ll repeat the words, emphasizing the part that has me confused. Turns out, that sort of thing is universally received as being a “smart-ass”. Usually, I just roll with it, because as the wise man once said (actually, it was a sandwich girl. Another time.), “It’s better than being a dumbass.”
And if the person calling me a smartass really saw that I honestly did not understand the sentence, he would most certainly consider me a dumbass.
Oh that reminds me. One time, I was in a mostly empty warehouse. In the middle of the room was a card table. Next to the card table was another card table with a boom box and a stack of cds of rock and roll music from the 80s and 90s. Around the first card table were about 6 or 7 chairs. I was in one of the chairs. My friend Todd (A.K.A. Mike) was in another. I didn’t know the rest of the guys. Two of them were these gay guys that lived across the street from Mike. They were amazing to me because they were these totally flaming heavy metal rocker types. One of them had on a Megadeth t-shirt and a thick leather biker’s jacket. He was fat and didn’t look very clean. His boyfriend was just this loser gamer guy. Totally changed my view of heavy metal rocker guys. I mean, Judas Priest!
Maybe it was because these guys lived in LaVista that they didn’t feel the need to conform to “Big City Gay” behavior. I don’t know. I just found it fascinating.
Also at the warehouse that night was Chris. He is my friend Mike’s BFF. He’s a pretty funny guy.
Then there was this one guy. I don’t remember where he was from, but he might have been a friend or relative of Mike’s ex-wife. He’s the one I just thought of up there when I typed the word “dumbass”
We were all there to play poker. One of the things that I’ve spent way too much time thinking about is poker. It took me a long time to learn, but now I’m so good at it, that nobody better ever play cards with me because I will win all of your money. Why do you think they call me “Fredcube” anyway?
Ok so, we’re all sitting there playing some poker, having a good time, when Dumbass points at me. He says, “You’re a whisky drinker, aren’t you?” But because of the way he kind of sloshed his words around it sounds more like “… wish-key”
I was confused. I hadn’t seen this move in poker for a long time, and I knew this kid didn’t know it, so I decided against my better judgment to take him literally. “No, not really, I …”
“You can’t kid me. I know a wish-key drinker when I shee one,” Nudging my buddy Mike with his elbow, Einstein asks, “Hey Mikey, you know thish guy. Ish he a big whish-key drinker?”
Mike just kind of covers his mouth with his cards, suppressing his laughter. Ahh that’s why this guy was invited. For the immense entertainment value he brings to the table. Now I’m trying to keep a straight face (particularly with the gay rockers across the table).
So he continued, “It’sh your nose gave you away. Your nose ish all red. That’sh a wish-key drinker if I ever shaw one. That’sh how you can tell if shomeone drinksh wish-key.”
Now I have had whisky before. I don’t really care for it. I like beer. As a matter of fact, I was sitting there at this warehouse card table tossing back a few beers. I was not drinking whisky.
In response to dumbass, I kind of pursed my lips, raised my eyebrows, lowered my chin and glanced over at my buddy Mike. His jerking shoulders betraying his suppressed giggling. I looked back at dumbass and shrugged. “I knew it!” He shouted triumphantly, “I can always tell. Raise.”
I’m not sure what was so important to him about whisky drinkers. Actually, that’s not quite true. It wasn’t about whisky drinkers. He was testing a theory of his built from “knowing someone who drank whisky who had a red nose.”
Oh yeah – and I was sunburned, so I called his bluff.
But anyway – it takes me a long time to learn stuff.
Recently, I’ve been learning to eat. I know a lot about what I’m supposed to eat. I’ve heard over and over again about the recovery window and the importance of hydration and how terrible it is to bonk and so on and so forth. Yawn.
Up until say, 3 or 4 weeks ago, I considered eating “whatever the hell I damn well pleased whenever the hell I damn well wanted,” one of the many perks of 10-15 hours of intense training a week on the bike. It is true that if I workout hard and regularly, I can eat whatever I want and I won’t gain weight. Unfortunately, that becomes about the only benefit. Performance on the bike is severely limited. I say this having only learned it, um, yesterday.
About 7 years ago, I was training pretty regularly. I was eating whatever the hell I wanted. I was working at the U.P. My weight was a little high but I figured I’d drop those pounds with more bike hours.
Every morning I would go to the U.P. Cafeteria and get one of their super-duper deluxe omelettes with every damn thing they could fit on it. One morning I was standing at the register when Shim walked by and saw the plate, “That’s not on your diet plan,” he said.
“Yes it is,” I countered for no particular reason, other than I didn’t have a diet plan. That’s when Shim paused to take a closer look at what I was eating. He said, “Well maybe so, but not with all that cheese,” and he walked away.
That was when I first actually looked at the pool of yellow grease covering the eggs and veggies. Wow. It just took a little comment. Of course it was a ridiculous amount of cheese. That’s where the delicious comes from.
Then about 7 years later (slow learner) I was on a Saturday group ride. We’d gone to Arlington and were stopped at a gas station. Brady held up his full water bottle with the realization that he had yet to drink anything on the ride. “Uh-oh,” he said. What, I wondered, was the problem. I hadn’t had any water either. Is that somehow important? Don’t get me wrong. I normally drink water on rides. But this was a cold ride and you don’t feel thirsty very often. But if elite Brady thinks he should have, he’s probably right. I decided to investigate this “hydration” thing another time.
A couple of weeks after that, Brady wrote about bonking on that very ride. I rode that ride home alone, but had a much more difficult time than I normally would have for such a short ride.
Thinking about it, the only time I drink water is on the bike. Otherwise I drink coffee, soda, or beer.
Maybe it’s time to change that. I went and got a water bottle to drink from at my desk. Now I go through 3 or 4 of those a day since it’s just sitting there. The first week or so, I had to pee about every 15 minutes or so, but now, somehow, even though I still drink as much water, I pee a lot less. So that’s some information for you to visualize. You’re welcome. Usually, I place my right hand on the wall above the urinal*. Just sayin’.
There are other things I’m doing diet-wise that are more out of aversion than knowing better. Normally, I take my lunch to work. This is a good way to get a quality meal. I usually don’t take my lunch on Fridays. I like to take a day off each week. Also, I like to go to lunch with the co-workers once a week. But two Fridays ago, I was meeting the U.P. gang after work for a group ride. I still didn’t take my lunch, but when the co-workers said they were going to Pepper Jax (which I love), I honestly couldn’t stomach the idea of eating all of that grease and then trying to go for a potentially spirited ride a few hours later. See, I’m learning. Oh, so slowly.
My newest thing is taking the “recovery window” seriously. For my weight, that means almost 700 calories (Kcal) in carbs within 30 minutes of the end of a long hard ride. We’ll see how that goes, but I’ve been doing this for 2 weeks now and I feel like I have more strength and energy for longer and more often. That could just be placebo effect though. I still haven’t dropped Savery enough times to be sure my new methods are foolproof.