Life is full of surprises. And so is my front porch.
Perhaps one of the most common hallmarks in South Carolina — trailing only roadside boiled peanut stands and the haloed lights of a high school football stadium cutting through the darkness of a Friday night — is the sight of a U.S. Postal Service truck (or UPS truck or FedEx vehicle) pulling up outside of my house. My wife — the Queen of Amazon, and I’m not talking about the river — keeps them busy.
If you’ve followed this column space for a certain amount of time, you know my wife’s internet shopping efforts are legendary. She can whip out her iPhone and fire up the Amazon or QVC apps faster than Doc Holliday could draw his famed Colt Lightning pistol.
When Amazon was looking for locations for a second headquarters a couple years ago, I joked that there was no need for them to do so. Our front porch is so frequently piled with Amazon packages that our house was already the company’s unofficial “HQ2.”
Truly, when Amazon eventually launches its long-whispered-about drone delivery services, there will be so many aircraft flying above our house that it’s going to look like the Russians have finally launched an invasion.
Needless to say, the deliveries have gotten even more pronounced during the coronavirus pandemic, when we’ve made far fewer trips to brick-and-mortar stores. Whether it’s through Amazon or one of any number of other companies, there’s no telling what might show up on our doorstep. I’m just along for the ride.
And when I say “along for the ride,” here lately I mean that literally.
A few weeks ago, a truck rolled up out front and two delivery folks lugged a monstrosity in the house and asked my wife where she wanted everything set up. “Out in the sunroom,” she told them.
And with that, we had entered the, uh, wonderful world of the Peloton.
I’m sure more than a few of you are aware of Peloton, but for those who aren’t, it’s essentially a really fancy stationary exercise bike. In fact, though the word “Peloton” actually refers to the main body of riders in a bicycle race, I like to think it’s really just French for “fancy exercise bike.”
One of the key features of this particular piece of equipment is that it has a screen above the handlebars that connects to the wi-fi and allows you to stream live or recorded cycling sessions, led by an instructor. So, you can log into a class and ride at the same time as people across the world.
My wife had been threatening to get one of these for a while, and she launched right into the classes. After a few days, she finally coaxed me into giving it a try. So, I climbed up on the thing — looking like one of those bears riding a bike in the circus — and gave it a whirl. You actually have to wear special shoes that lock into place on the pedals. When you lock in, it sounds ominously like a jail door being shut.
Music is a key part of the Peloton workout, and you can sort through different genres to find a class you might like. I chose one in an old school hip-hop category.
This led to a sort of surreal moment during the class, when the instructor, a soft-spoken and very fit lady, was giving shout outs to various virtual participants in the workout as Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power” was blasting in my headphones. You haven’t lived until you’ve heard a spin class instructor wish a happy birthday to “KylesMom12” while Chuck D is in the background rapping about burning down the establishment. I tried to imagine a teenage version of myself — who slap wore out that Public Enemy tape — watching the 41-year-old version of me huffing and puffing to the same song on a fancy exercise bike. I couldn’t help but chuckle at the thought.
I’ll probably keep doing the classes — it is a good workout — but I have to admit I didn’t see a Peloton coming into my life. I’ll have to keep a close eye on what shows up on the porch next.