Waste, obsession and yoga-ball repair
August 22, 2009
It was deadline, and, on the phone with a writer who was trying to figure out the date of a mountain rescue, I reached up and excitedly ripped my wall calendar down.
As she and I talked on, I seemed to begin sinking. My hands on the keyboard rose higher. I shrank smaller and smaller; felt less and less authoritative. Soon I was looking up from my yoga-ball seat at my keyboard.
An inflatable “ball seat” keeps a person’s back in a salubrious state of motion and adjustment. My ball seat, though, had rolled onto the thumbtack I’d just yanked out.
I e-mailed my co-workers, asking how to fix it.
Mark replied, helpfully, “Use a tire tube patch.”
My household has tire patches. In fact my household looks like a used-bike shop.
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My young co-worker Andrew was more terse: “Go out and buy a new ball like a grown-up.”
I replied, “Boy, is that a conservationist’s attitude. ‘Don’t even try to fix it! Throw it away! Buy a new one!’ You must not have Yankee forbears.” Mind you, this is all by e-mail despite our sitting 10 feet apart. He responded, unmoved: “They have them at City Market for $20, dipsh-t.”
Surely, I declared, they must cost more.
He wordlessly sent a link to a sale on yoga balls for $17.99.
But mine was perfectly functional, or used to be. Arms spread like tongs, I carried the flabby blue orb down the building stairs, out to my car, and home.
There I enlisted the aid of one bike-racer son, who began expertly rolling the ball to find the leak. I should have marked the puncture.
Roy, 13, rolled and rolled; listened assiduously. And finally handed the ball back, disgusted. “It’s too slow a leak,” he said. “I can’t find it.”
Well, bubbles should be visible in water. I carried the ball into the bathroom, filled the tub, and rotated the ball slowly. But the faucet spattered leaks, disturbing the surface, despite my efforts to tighten it closed. I rolled on, at times losing my grip. The faucet splashed. I cranked on it, cussing, then really cranked. Zing! It gave-stripped. Busted. And still splatting.
Well, now I really had to find the site, and I did, dried the ball, then lost the spot; re-submerged, re-located. I marked the site, and returned the ball to Roy, who applied glue and pressed on a bike patch. The next day I marched into work, pumped the ball up – which takes hundreds of pumps – sat down, and sent Andrew a triumphant email, omitting mention of my future plumber’s bill.
He replied, “I can’t believe I am spending my time talking about what your high and mighty rear end sits on. I have things to do.”
This is the guy who blames everything on Baby Boomers. Yet it was I who was sparing the landfill. I straightened my back in righteousness. The patch popped off and I dropped beneath my keyboard.
My coworker Quent, who can fix anything, suggested a waterbed patch. I asked cost, and he predicted, “Couple of bucks.”
At Ace hardware the patches were $7: Rather close to the price of a new ball, but I couldn’t go back now. The next day I cleaned the surface, trimmed a patch per directions, kneaded it on, let it dry, and pumped the ball up. I sat grandly, and in 10 minutes the air tunneled outward and blew up an edge.
“GET A NEW F-ING BALL!” pinged my email. “THEY ARE ONLY $12.” I typed, “It has become greater than either of us.”
“Wow,” read the reply, “you really have lost your mind.”
I glued on a larger patch, and still sank again.
When Quent said calmly, “Why don’t you just buy a new one?” I finally lost hope. I, too, deflated.
Over the weekend, however, my friend Andrea, who used to work in property management, said casually, “What about Super Glue?” I brought in a tube from home, glommed the puncture, and, still half-indifferent, let it dry for days. I pumped it up, with motions now accumulating into the thousands. And perched on it, and I am still there.