I've been listening to my daughter compare the number of Littlest Pet Shop toys that she and her friend have. Natalie (who only has 4 of these little things, compared with about 20 for the other girl, not including all hamster wheels, houses, carriages, etc..) talks about the disparity matter-of-factly, with no trace of envy in her voice. She's a good kid, and has never outright complained about having less toys than her classmates. But whenever we talk about it, inside me a little competitive beast squirms. Her classmates have way more toys than she does!!! The larger shopping beast inside me is only too happy to add to the ruckus. Need to buy more toys!!!! I remind her (and myself) that she has lots of other kinds of toys, and if she really wants more, she could try asking her aunt or grandparents for them as a birthday present. But the next day, when I was at Target, I bought her a Littlest Pet Shop Chihuahua. I told myself that it was just a $2.99 trinket, a reward for her doing so well at her swimming classes. But that little beast inside of me knows better.
This, my friends, is the ugly side of a type-A personality. Another time I was at the gym doing some bench presses, and saw a frail-looking, sixty-ish lady on the other bench, also doing bench presses. I guess she wasn't so frail because she was pressing 95 lbs. (45 lb. for the bar and 25-lb. weights on each side). A-MA-zing! The most I've done is 75 lbs., and these days, I'm struggling with just 55. I immediately added 10 more lbs. to my bar and gritted my teeth. If Arnold Schwarzenegger's ma here can do it, so can I. My pecs were still sore a week later. I remember Graham shaking his head and muttering something about how pathetic I was to compete with an old lady.
I was at the gym today, on the treadmill, doing my uninspired 30-minute shuffle. A lady and her teenage daughter took the two machines beside me and proceeded to crank it up to 6mph. I'm sure this nice lady wasn't even interested in what I was doing, but I saw it and thought, she's faster than me (ungrammatical but true). That was when I started thinking, I really ought to challenge myself more. Stupid. Since I've been hovering around 5mph at best for the past year -- during the few instances that I actually did run, not walk -- it was a wonder I sustained 6mph for even 5 minutes. I slowed down and thought, Whaaaat are you doing? Your heart is bursting, and for what?! There is a good reason you were not going at 6mph, and that's because you CAN'T.
Competition is gonna kill me -- physically and financially -- one of these days.