10 March 2008


I talked myself out of going to the gym Friday.
I did the same thing Saturday.

Yesterday afternoon I dressed in my fat-squishing, supposedly slimming black lycra and spandex blend gym leggings, along with the rest of the accoutrement. I had a feeling that my disappointment in myself for not having exercised the previous two days would have more of an effect if I was dressed in the official gym attire.

Before I convinced myself to get out of the house and take myself in my fat containment pants to the appropriate place, I simply HAD to wash two loads of laundry, clean the litter boxes, wash a sinkful of dishes and it was imperative that I tidy up my bedroom, but eventually it worked.
I went.

A starchy crisp power broker business looking woman approached a machine I sat my gloves and towel down on. She looked ticked off, flipping her head back and forth in a 'okay, whose stuff is this, gedditouddahere NOW' gesture. I was standing on the other side of the machine not sure how she couldn't see me right there.

Her: Are these your things?
Me: Yes.
Her: Well were you using this machine?
Me: I am, yes. Currently, in fact. Right now. Using the machine. I mean, I picked up that tipped-over bottle of disinfectant over there, but yes I am going to use the machine now.
Her: (harrumph)

Her persnickety crab appleness kinda cracked me up; her harrumphing and stomping must work for her elsewhere, but not so much with me who was thinking 'suit yourself. harrumph until the cows come home, sister'. But then she didn't leave. She stayed planted, watched me, waited. Near the end of my first set (12 reps) I guessed she thought I wasn't doing things fast enough because she harrumphed and power broker walked away. Set 2, somewhere around the 9th rep she returned to stare while she waited. Because *I* know I do three sets *I* knew I was about to take a 2 minute break before my last set. She, however, did not know this and seemed displeased when I didn't hand the machine over to her immediately. She stood and stared at me the entire last set. I wiped down the machine with disinfectant spray and as I did that I felt a horribly itchy temptation to say something biting and snotty to power broker lady. When my mouth opened I was surprised to hear 'THANK YOU. for being patient. I APPRECIATE it' come out. (hunh? how'd that slip out?)

Not 15 minutes later I approached a big weird contraption that has pulleys attached on one end to hand grips and on the other end, to the weights. I looked around, nobody there, no personal items there -- not being used, I decided. Hopped on, finished the first set and stopped to take the 2 minute break, at which time a big shouldery guy, wearing on long chains, two outlandishly large Star of David pendants that clanked together when he moved, approached.

Him: you done here?
Me: mm, nope.
Him: oh. well I was using this machine.
Me: when?
Him: just now. I was using this machine. It's okay, it's okay, no problem.
Me: I'm not sure I understand. When I first got here I saw no personal items and no people at it. I took that to mean the machine was available. Did I misinterpret?
Him: oh (heh heh), I vary my routine by doing multiple sets at different machines. I was just here, then (gesturing) I went over there, now I'm back here for my next set.
Me: Oh.
Him: So whaddaya say we trade off? You can do your next set, then I'll do mine.
Me: What?
Him: (repeats)
Me: (silent pause for puzzlement) Um, okay, I guess? I don't understand what could be so incredibly urgent that you cannot wait 5 minutes for me to finish, but I guess it's not a big deal.

We took turns, him first. He looked smug, plugging the pin into the very highest peg available between the weights. I'm sure he was lifting like 6 jillion pounds, which honestly would have been impressive but for the fact that his form was crappy and he didn't do the reps slowly enough. (because I'm such a gym rat that I can justify standing in judgment of others?) Oh, and that he was a pushy ass. That didn't help. Lots of show, little substance, I figured.

When he finished he did a big 'wow, wasn't I just fabulous hefting all that weight' whhheewwwwww exhale and didn't bother disinfecting the equipment after he'd finished. I can only assume he thought he was being helpful by resetting the pin to where I'd had it set, but he was wrong, plugged it into the '20 pounds' peg when I'd been pulling 50 pounds. I smiled and thanked him, then put the pin in the appropriate 'hey, I'm a girl but I am way stronger than THAT' peg. Jerk.

A while later I changed into my swimsuit in the locker room, puzzling over both encounters, wondering if there was some philosophical lesson I should have taken from them.
I mostly hoped that both had left the building.

I laughed out loud upon entering the pool area: both of the pushy shovey crabbertons were suited up and walking slow laps against the current in the oval shaped resistance pool - the one thing I'd set my sights on starting with. Okay, haha Universe, boy howdy, that was a good one. I get the picture. I can start somewhere else. I GET it.

The rest went alright.

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