Sunday, August 28, 2011

Functional Bodies

As you may know, I'm on the board of Capital Stage Company, which is the coolest little professional nonprofit theatre in Sacramento, and possibly west of the Mississippi. Anyway, Cap Stage is in the final stages of renovating a former gun store in Midtown and making it the perfect space to see bold, intimate, live theatre. It's been a long, arduous process, especially for my brother, who's the project manager, the other two founders (one of whom is my sister-in-law) and the amazing, talented, and chronically overworked staff.

Because we are nearing the end, it's time for tasks that unskilled laborers like me can help with. Last Saturday, I wielded broom, shop vac, and dustpan for maybe an hour and a half, smiting piles of sheetrock dust with deadly intent. Surprisingly tiring. Thursday after work, I managed another couple of hours, this time backrolling the ceiling after the spray work of Jeff the painting
dude. I came home looking like a Welsh coal miner (albeit one in a floral tank top and khaki shorts), my arms like jelly from rolling black paint over my head in 90+ degrees.

All this time I was in awe, as I often am, of my multi-talented and massively energetic brother. It's kind of unfair - he's epically handsome and charming, he can sing like an angel, play any instrument, build anything, cook anything, figure out any kind of technology, grow insanely large vegetables, act like Colin Farrell (that's him as King Charles II, w/ equally lovely & talented SIL), direct plays that make grown men cry, and do note-perfect impressions. If he wasn't such a good dude, I would hate him. And he can work all day lifting, carrying, bending, hammering, climbing, sweeping, and pretty much never stopping. It's exhausting just watching him.

It made me realize anew just how much it sucks to sit all day. Even on days when I do a lot of exercise, it's still around an hour. When I was training for half-Ironman races, I would have l
ong workouts of maybe 3-4 hours, conducted mostly at a very moderate aerobic pace. Once or twice a week. Then shorter workouts of 1-2 hours. Total of what, 11-14 hours a week of physical work. Some weeks are more physical than others for the younger J-Will, but he probably gets that amount of work in within a four-day period most any week. He doesn't "work out," he's just highly active and he's got fantastic strength and endurance for what he does. You get good at what you do all the time. I am great at sitting at a computer.

I often feel as though the ideal job for me would be one that combined about 3 hours a day of varied but highly physical labor - tree-trimming, ditch-digging, moving pianos, mucking out stables, whatever - with about an hour of socializing and 3 hours a day of sitting and writing. Yeah, I know that's only seven hours. The eight hour workday should be a thing of the past now that we have tons of technology oozing out our ears. Tim makes fun of me when I voice this wish, but I think it's a good goal to aim for.

Anyhow. I went back yesterday for the big painting day, and I was expecting to get pretty beat up physically. It was going to be 96 in the heat of the day, and I was planning
to be there for quite a few hours. Took some precautionary Advil, stocked up on Gatorade for myself and the troops, and supplied myself with a bandanna for sweat-mopping.

I haven't painted in earnest for I don't know how many years. And if you're trying
to be quick about it, it's a certain amount of effort. Women's restroom, lavender gray. Men's restroom, sort of a seafoam green/gray. Breaks for fluids. Ticket lobby, some walls cinnamon/nutmeg, some apple green. Breaks for fluids. Hallway, a second coat of black in the hallway. Breaks for fluids. Some cleanup of lumber scraps and sawdust. I was Gatorading like crazy and consuming pretzels like a mad Bavarian. And yet, I didn't pee for over 8 hours.

When the day started to wind down, I'd had a couple of forearm cramps from the unaccustomed roller work, and my back was getting tired. I hadn't gone as hard or worked as long as my brother, but this wasn't about sibling rivalry. It was about
my own often-creaky bod hanging in there and getting a bunch of work done with my muscles.

So, anyone got a job for me that's three hours of physical, three hours of mental, one hour of social? I'd be pretty awesome at it. Reply below...


  1. come be our trip planner and guide! research and logistics will satisfy the mental part, walking around cities or hiking will get you the physical part, but you'll have to deal with more than one hour of socializing a day. can handle?

    really sweet, and accurate, description of j-will the younger, by the way.

  2. Can definitely handle more than 1 hour of socializing a day; that was the minimum.

    How well does this job of yours pay? ;)

  3. How about working for a lawn service company where you do lawn service half the time and manage their office the other half? I be you'd be a wicked office manager.

    Though I also suspect you are wildly over-qualified for such a position. ;)

  4. MacMadame - not enough writing. :)