THIS IS A FREE POST. ALMOST EVERYTHING I WRITE IS, BECAUSE I DON’T WANT TO PREVENT ANYONE FROM EXPANDING THEIR MINDS WITH FINE LITERATURE. IF YOU READ THIS ALL THE TIME AND HAVE A JOB MAYBE PAY FOR IT - UNLESS YOU JUST REALLY DO NOT WANT TO.
Peloton and Peloton: They Are The Same Thing
Some months ago, I noticed that the writer Anne Helen Petersen was often Substacking about something called Peloton, which was also a word I was seeing and hearing everywhere. “I got a Peloton,” people would announce and I was like, “Great,” not knowing what a Peloton was but also not not knowing. Some words floated around in my mind when people said PELOTON: “Anne Helen Peterson” “Instagram” “Celebrities” “Is it a Bike?” “Why is it more than a bike, how??” and for some reason “Weddings” and this was confusing but not so confusing that I could actually experience feeling confusion.
In retrospect, it felt very much like my sense of Machine Gun Kelly before he started dating Megan Fox: I knew that there was something called a Machine Gun Kelly, possibly human. But what did it do? Why was it here? What did it want? I also KNEW the answer to all these questions, but I didn’t know I knew, and I didn’t care at all. Then suddenly, I found myself confronted with a view of the inside of Machine Gun Kelly’s mouth, nearly every day, and I couldn’t remember a time when I, when all of us, didn’t live like this. I am no more interested in Mr. Gun Kelly than I was before, but now that I know who he is I can’t help from learning more and more about him. He is mad at Eminem. They are mad at each other. He went to Shaker Heights High School. God help me.
Summer arrived to my world in the parched Sierra Nevada Foothills. There were terrible fires and pounding heat and thick smoke here every day for so long I couldn’t imagine that it would ever end. In the midst of this my friend E, who lives near me, said, “God, it’s impossible to work out because it’s always 10 million degrees outside with an AQI of 9000, should I get us a Peloton.” And I said, “Wow, yes what a great idea, what is that” thinking “How odd, makes me think of Anne Helen Petersen, have no idea why.”
Then I went out of town to get away from the fires and the smoke. I came back two weeks later and there, in E’s garage, was a Peloton. You can imagine my shock when I realized that the thing E had bought for us and the thing Anne Helen Peterson had Substacked about that was the same word were all the same thing. THIS thing called PELOTON was THAT thing called PELOTON and I HAD KNOWN THIS BUT ALSO … I had NOT known.
DOES THIS EVER HAPPEN TO YOU?
In the end, it became clear that a Peloton was a bike that you bought and put in your house and paid a monthly fee on (well, E bought it and paid a monthly fee on it) and you took pre-recorded classes on it (that can be live, sometimes) given by instructors who have become celebrities to the point where their weddings become news.
I started writing DMs that said “I LOVE JESS KING AND SHE LOVES ME TOO” and “Do you like Bradley Rose I LOVE HIM SOOO MUCH SOBBBBBBB” and “HANNAH FRANKSON OMG HEART HEART HEART” and “LEANNE H I’m OBSESSED” as if I had never not known.
Peloton was Machine Gun Kelly. I was Megan Fox. I don’t care what anyone says. Being alive is amazing.
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Same, but for my Substack in general:
I love this almost as much as I love my Peloton, Helen. Which - omg I am only now realising this - when I was setting up my Peloton and it asked me to name it (weird) I sat for a moment and waited for a name to come to me and the name that came was HELEN and while I thought that was a weird name for an exercise bike (it is) it seemed fitting and I bet it's because I too had been subconsciously linking it to AHP!!! Wow. Her power!