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My neighbor got a Peloton and Will. Not. Shut. Up. About. It. It’s not just the quantity but quality of his Peloton-based conversations. The man talks about the instructors more than his kids! The man pops his P’s like he’s 2 Live Crew. I can tell that this smug dick has a fetish for proper nouns, the way his cadence changes as he retells college stories from his Harvard days or touts his precious Tesla.

I try to not let the disdain show, but I’m sure he can sense it. I don’t even want a Peloton as much as the Peloton lifestyle. I want the large empty room with the windows that every Peloton owner has – the one where they will eventually place an uber-expensive vehicle that ironically takes them nowhere.

“Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s Peloton,” my wife scorned me, as soon as he was out of earshot.

Would she rather I covet thy neighbor’s Peloton riding wife? Thy neighbor’s Peloton riding wife looks like the woman in the Peloton commercial, but who is allowed outside, seemingly only for errands or carpools or country club soirées. I prefer my wives to have a little more self-autonomy.

What neither my wife nor my neighbor (nor my neighbor’s Peloton riding wife) know, is that for the last six months I’ve been sneaking into his house and using his Peloton. For such a smart Harvard grad, he really shouldn’t leave the key in the plastic rock that looks way more plastic than rock. Also, boasting all of your extracurriculars is basically an invitation to your daily planner.

It started as curiosity. (OK, to be totally truthful it started years ago when he got his 90 inch television.) Just like the TV, I had to see what the fuss was all about. At first, I was extra careful, spraying down the bike afterwards, and deleting the saved record of my ride.

I was pedaling to nowhere. No distance traveled, no miles logged, and no trace of breaking and entering or breaking a sweat.

But like any other egotistically successful, small-scale criminal, I got conceited. Also I got toned! And fast! I was destroying my neighbor’s personal bests, but also lingering a bit and often helping myself to post-workout protein bars from the fridge.

I was getting so audacious that after one grueling ride, I thought about taking a shower. I heard the garage door go up as I was sniffing the shampoo and conditioner options. That was the wake-up call I needed.

Immediately, I scaled back, returning to the simple ride and run habit that I began with. It wasn’t the luxury lifestyle that the Peloton commercials portend, but it still afforded me a sanctuary from my unrelenting sanctimony.

As June rolled around, and my neighbors were gearing up for their annual month at the beach, I knew I’d be tempted to set up a temporary residence next door. I wasn’t fully addicted but did catch myself browsing for more supportive bike seats online.

When I’d figured their Tesla was at least a couple of hours down the road, I made my move, gym bag in hand. I walked into that house like I owned it, which state squatter’s rights declare wouldn’t happen for at least another three weeks. Much like my neighbors, my mind was on vacation mode, which is why I strolled right past all the hints. The lock clicked differently and there was a buzz of low hums as I opened the door.

But I just put my head down and kept going forward, like I’ve been instructed to do by my army of spandexed instructors. There, atop the Peloton, spun my wife, with one eye on the class, the other on me. Game over.

There were lots of scenarios of how this could play out, and I hated all of them. We could take turns. We could both quit. We could have a ride-off. We could turn it into a bougie, Americanized Parasite situation. But none of the options were good because all of them deprived me of my private getaway. I slunk away, upstairs, to think over my options, in their sauna.

Josh Bard

Josh Bard is a guy. A sports guy, an ideas guy, a wise guy, a funny guy, a Boston guy, and sometimes THAT guy. Never been a Guy Fieri guy, though.

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