Dear My body,
I’m sorry. I know this transition must be hard for you. Isn’t it funny how when we told people about our move to Beijing they thought I might let you get too thin as they pegged all Chinese people to be skinny or something? Ha! Looks like we’ve proved them wrong, which is the concern of this letter. You’ve probably noticed by now how I keep you sitting in a chair for about 12 hours a day. What? Yes, I know the 5 minute bike ride to work could have been longer, but I questioned your ability to withstand the coldest part of Beijing’s winter on a longer commute. So, now we live a few blocks away from work. You’ll thank me later.
As for the all the weird food I’ve fed you, this is just customary in china –all the grease, all the oil, and all the sauce that can only be categorized as ‘sauce’ because I have no idea what products it owes its existence too. Yeah, I know the sweet and sour tofu sauce is strangely neon red in color, which is why I go for the chunks with the least amount. Don’t worry, pretty soon I’ll start cooking for you again, just like in Michigan.
As for exercise, you may have noticed that our jogging routine has ceased. The reason for this lull in activity is multiple. Do you remember when I kept you up most of the night for about four days straight? Well you caught a cold after that sleep-deprived spell and I figured you needed a little recuperation time. You still haven’t quite kicked it yet, which is why I’ve been letting you sleep a bit longer. The other reason why we haven’t been out again is that when I queried my dad about the health risks of jogging in Beijing he equated exercising in polluted air to smoking a pack a day. I know, that scared you and me both even though he said your risk of lung cancer would zero out after a year of being home. Now, I’m looking for a gym that we can go to, maybe one that has pool too. This exercise thing is a must!
I’m worried about your legs, which just seem sprawl lifelessly under the desk at work all day. I have thoughts about atrophy, and soft things becoming tight and gnarled. Hey, this thing takes two, just because I’m staring at a computer doesn’t mean you have to shrivel away, bounce a leg nervously or something, I don’t care, anything. You just seem so lethargic when I go to the water cooler to fill up our glass. I’m trying to keep you hydrated because according to the tint of yellow I see in the toilet, you can get pretty dehydrated by doing nothing all day. The first few steps out of the chair can be painful, like you’re a paraplegic at physical therapy. What? That IS what you feel like? Don’t you remember that 560 mile walk we did a few months ago? I can show you that photo someone took of you flexing your leg muscles at the end. That looked crazy!
Okay, we’re losing focus now. Oh, yes, the coffee. I’m sorry I’ve put you back on caffeine. I remember how annoying that three-day headache was when I had you quit cold turkey, but come on this espresso machine at work is pretty nice, right? It’s also making us money…sort of. I mean, we could pay five dollars for a latte downstairs, but we’re drinking for free up here. It’s like getting a ten-percent raise….
I’m also concerned about your belly. You’ve been skinny most of your life, except for those early years as a toddler, which from what I gather in the mirror you seem to be reverting back to. Don’t you remember how we always gawked in disgust at those men at Stadium Hardware with the big pregnant-bellies? Well it’s clear where you’re putting any extra fat, and shockingly specific I might add. It would be nice if you could spread it out a bit more instead of stockpiling it in the mid-section. Don’t you remember when your stomach was tight like a drum? I didn’t take you to the gym or anything and yet you still had a default four-pack. Now when you flex your abdomen its like looking for potatoes buried in the mud.
Actually, don’t worry about this I’ll take care of it. It’s a simple equation really, you just need to burn more calories than I put in you. Done! But it’s not easy when you start craving sweet things after every meal. The other employees have already noticed how much sugar I put in our coffee, and when you nag me to go downstairs to the “Wow-New” market and buy an ice cream after lunch they seem to be even more confused. This all has to stop. Crave an apple or an orange because we get those for free from the fruit bowl.
I know this move has been hard for you, but I promise we’ll find our routine and go back to our old self. These things just take a little time and planning. In closing, I have a few more requests, please do not let your hands soften and fingernails grow long like a nerdy gamer-type. You can start grabbing rough surfaces if they strike you enough to warrant a touch. Try to sit more upright with your shoulders back -I fear you’re getting too comfortable with a turtle-like posture. Look proud in front of that computer dammit! That’s all for now, but we should communicate like this more often. Thanks for being there for me.