Full Disclosure: Hello Darkness, My New Friend


[Editor’s Note: If you don’t know her, Susan Gelvin is a wry, keen observer of herself and her hometown and she writes extremely well, so I asked her recently to consider penning a regular column for NewCanaanite.com. Our editorial board is very pleased and proud today to introduce Susan as the news site’s first columnist. Here’s the debut installment of “Full Disclosure.”]


Susan Gelvin

Through the years I have jogged up and down South Avenue countless times. At a certain point, it was exhilarating getting an encouraging honk from a driver-by. Even a whistle or two wasn’t terrible. But something eventually shifted to where a friend pointed out that she saw me “working off the Thanksgiving mashed potatoes” along South Avenue. So that’s when I felt a little too visible and vulnerable on our local thoroughfare. I needed a new workout venue—one that was off the beaten track and would allow me to age gracefully in private.


Getting old is funny business. Like the time I took kitchen shears and sliced the waistband of my ski pants to accommodate my expanding midsection. That was the first time in my life when any additional girth could not be attributed to pregnancy. Man, that was such a better justification than my current “I’ve just let myself go” excuse.

So, in an effort to curb said girth, I recently initiated some baby-step tactics to get me on the move to drop some poundage. Please note that any effort to become more active in the dead of a New England winter is what New Year’s Resolution failures and nightmares are made of. Yes, I would much rather power walk on a white sand beach, or hike up to a majestic peak. Alas, I am forced indoors with my fellow gym rats.

I decided to take control and attend a spin class at our local, newly renovated New Canaan YMCA. I was intrigued by talk of an underground spinning lair. It sounded like a rave for biking enthusiasts who had some sort of secret power to endure the pain of unforgiving, rigid bike seats. I found my way to the spinning suite-slash-bat cave and snatched up a gel seat cover—first thing’s first, comfort the nether regions. Then I moseyed over to a bike that was hiding in the cover of darkness and hurled myself aboard.

Naturally, I was a few minutes late to class, so I did not get a chance to warm up or adjust my seat—which, it immediately became clear, is the number one top priority. Since I have little to no upper torso, and am mostly comprised of legs, I could barely reach the handle bars. My instincts are pretty good when it comes to knowing when I am the weak link in a room, so I desperately scanned the biking abyss to see how everyone else was positioned.

On my left was New Canaan’s version of Lance Armstrong, who looked far too intense to replicate. The super fit, supermoms were up front, hungry for speed and prepared to slaughter virtual roadkill. I had to avert my eyes. My safe haven was the instructor, who was illuminated by a spotlight. I drank her in.

I sacrificed a water break to make adjustments, all while trying to exude the confidence of a professional fine-tuning her equipment. Handlebars finally in reach, I took off. The party music was pumping and the rotating fans blasted some much-needed cold air into the room. I was a vision. A spinning mistress of the dark. Hair blowing, legs whizzing, sweat racing down my…everywhere. And then I heard the instructor say, “Our warmup is done.”

Forty-five minutes later, I looked like someone had beaten me with a wet mop. I was nervous about negotiating the stairs to the exit with my spaghetti legs, but I had a great workout.


There is something to be said for working out in a dimly lit space. You can hide in the shadows and remain a mystery. Who was that woman in the corner grasping for her handlebars, suffering an asthma attack and drowning in her own sweat? No one has to know—it is my secret pact with the dark.

30 thoughts on “Full Disclosure: Hello Darkness, My New Friend

  1. Congrats Susan! This is a great addition! Everyone needs a dose of Susan humor in their daily lives! I look forward to reading your column!!

  2. LOVE the wit and whimsy in this column! This column is MY new friend! Bring on the everyday, real-life satire PLEASE! (And, dare I say it’s more of what our not-as-relaxed-as-it-used-to-be little town needs?!)

  3. Now, all of the unfortunate souls who are not lucky enough to count Susan Gelvin among their friends will understand why we all love her so much.

  4. This was hysterical and so well written! Glad to know I’m not so alone in the not so perfect NC mom category! I’d love to join an “everyone just chill” movement so we could all better enjoy this beautiful town!

  5. Great article Susan. Only once to a spin class 9 years ago- never to return because of feeling out of place. Maybe I will try it again thanks to you!

  6. This is such a great addition to the New Canaanite. I laughed so hard my belly hurt. I cannot wait to read the next one! Susan you are such a talented writer!!

  7. Mike,
    Susan is a great addition to the New Canaanite. Everyone should have a friend like Susan: intelligent, funny and so wise! Good luck and keep the humor coming New Canaanites need the levity!

  8. Woo hoo! Now the whole (New Canaan) world can find out what many of us have already known for a long time: Susan Gelvin is the funniest person in town. Congrats on this much-deserved success!

  9. Awesome column! What a fun “next adventure”. I agree – pay her more! Can’t wait for the next one. She absolutely cracks me up!

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