It’s 7:24a.m. in the morning and I am winded.

Today is the first day of two weeks that I have to send Zibin to work by 6 to 6:30a.m. We got off to a good start; even managed to prepare breakfast for him and made a hot cereal drink for myself. I didn’t wish to bring my big bag so I took a couple of essentials in a small wristlet pouch. Hand phone, tissue paper, driver’s license and just in case… $50. Since I’ll be coming back with Zibin’s keys (his car key is together with his set of house keys), I didn’t bother bringing my key pouch. And off we went.

Everything was fine as I was driving back home after dropping Zibin off at work. It was almost 7a.m. and I was thinking of whether or not I should squeeze in a pilates or yoga work out this morning before I started work. But as I drove past our condo’s security guard post, it hit me: I forgot about our elevator key!

Our elevator key. That’s what allows me to hit ’24’ in the elevator. Without it, the only elevator buttons anybody can press is B1 and 1. It was too early to buzz my neighbour on the 24th floor, and I thought of buzzing John and Cathy on the 16th floor (he has a card key for the 24th), but since I was pretty sure they were still asleep too, I decided to climb. After all, Zibin did it once before. I suppose it would even things out for us this way, and I promised myself that later on, I will most certainly remember to put an extra elevator card key in our car.

24 floors is no joke. Stamina on terra ferma has never been my forte. I was tiring as I reached the 9th floor. By the time I reached the 12th floor I was wishing I was in my Toronto apartment building (cos I stay on the 12th floor there). I was winded by the time I was on the 16th floor, and I wondered how on earth people climbed the CN tower?!?!? By the time I reached 19, the lack of oxygen in the narrow stairwell was making me dizzy. Suddenly, I was afraid I would faint if I didn’t stop. It was 7a.m. and I decided to try my luck with my brother. Climbed back down 3 floors. Rang their doorbell. Nothing. Called his hand phone… no answer. I settled for sitting on their door step to catch my breath.

5 minutes later, I climbed the remaining 8 floors with a growing stomachache. Suddenly, there is a new urgency to reach home and I willed myself to keep going. My lungs were bursting in my ribs and I climbed the last flight of stairs almost with an air of olympic achievement. Somehow, my shaky hands managed to put the key into the lock and I was home.

I caught up with the rest of my breath while sitting on the throne, with rivers of perspiration coursing down my face and neck. All thoughts of pilates and yoga flew out my head. I’ve had my morning work-out, thank you.

What a start to the day, eh? Now if only the stairwell was better ventilated, I wouldn’t mind trying this again for the exercise. But if I ever do that voluntarily, it would certainly be with something more solid in my stomach than a cup of cereal drink.


  1. Wha-? You think I’m fit from this entry?? I was thinking I should be fitter! Aerobic exercise has never been my cup of tea. :P Though I gotta say I’m a lot stronger than before I re-started my yoga and pilates… 2 years ago, I don’t think I could have made it.

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