Since I’m a stay-at-home mom, my schedule is pretty flexible. This means I can go the gym during the slow time- after the morning rush but before the lunch-time business crowd. I never understood how people could go to the gym during their lunch breaks- how do you get there in time to change, do any real workout and then shower and get back to work? I speculate that some don’t even take a shower- they just peel off their sweaty clothes and change back into their office attire, maybe pausing only to reapply deodorant and body spray. I could never do this- I sweat easily and that--- would be disgusting.
But I digress- my story today is about going to the gym and forgetting that it is a national holiday, therefore everyone and their mother is working out. I waltz in at the ripe hour of 10am and find myself facing a packed house. Ugh. Most of the machines are taken, so I have to take one smack dab in the middle of everything. I usually like something on the end of a row…. and near an oscillating fan if possible. But that’s what I get for not checking my calendar. Although I’m ticked off that I have to work out in a herd, I quickly realize that today is a great day for people watching- one of my favorite pastimes.
Lucky for me, subjects are all over the place! On the eliptical machine directly to my right is a jerk trying to pick up a girl on his other side. Here’s a sampling of their conversation:
Guy: “I usually do 30 minutes of cardio, then I lift for about another hour. Yea, I’m here at least 6 times a week.”
Girl: (Obviously not interested) “Wow, that’s a lot of working out.”
Guy: “Yea, well, gotta maintain, know what I mean? But what about you? You’re in great shape! You must come here all the time!”
Girl: “Not really.”
Guy: “Are you from around here?”
Girl: “Well, duh, this is my gym… so…. yea.”
Guy: “That’s cool. I live around here, too. Do you party anywhere around here?”
Girl: (now visibly annoyed) “Do I party around here? Yea. I guess.”
Guy: “Like, where? Cause me and my boys are always at Kenny’s. Are you ever at Kenny’s? That place is awesome.” (He says “awesome” with the kind of irritating emphasis on “AWWW” that all guys like this do)
Girl: “No. Not really.”
Guy: “Yea, that place has been going downhill for a while anyway. How about Calloways? I’m always there on Thursdays nights.”
Girl: “Not really.”
Guy: “Big Heads then? I usually hit that up on Saturdays.”
Girl: “No.” (she ups the level on her machine and keeps her gaze straight forward as she focuses on her workout. Any idiot can see that she’s not interested. Well….. I guess not just ANY idiot…)
Guy: (upping the level on his machine to keep the pace) “You’ve been on your machine for a long time. How much longer are you gonna be on it?”
Girl: “23 more minutes.”
Guy: “Really?” (visibly out of breath) “Well, yea, me too actually.”
I’m already bored of eavesdropping on their conversation, and besides, it’s clear it’s going nowhere. I’m thankful for the girl on my left. She’s quietly working out and reading a magazine. That’s another thing I will never be good at--- unless I’m sitting on a stationary bike, I cannot read while working out. Trust me, I’ve attempted, but with disastrous results. At any rate, since I’m nosey, I peek in her direction at the magazine in front of her. The left side page is an article about something I can’t make out, and the right side page is an advertisement for Hanes women’s underwear in which a beautiful model is sporting a pink lace bra and matching panties. I casually glance at the girl on the machine, and notice that she doesn’t appear to be reading the article- rather, she’s staring at the advertisement. Hmm…. Maybe she’s in the market for new underwear…. nothing wrong with that…. She’s really focused on that picture though…. That’s a little--- odd…..
Suddenly, I hear the refrain of Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” blasting through the gym. I look down the line of machines in time to see a very perky-looking girl answer the cell phone that is blaring the tune. Ahhh….. Hot Cell Phone Girl---- I should have known you’d be here. There’s always one at every gym- you know the type. She has a loud, full blown conversation on her phone while pounding away on a machine, which, by the way, is at maximum incline. Her gorgeous, silky hair is pulled back in a perfect ponytail. She wears a clean, white t-shirt that possibly may have been purchased from the children’s section. Her pink cell phone matches her pink ipod which matches the pink accenting on her clean white sneakers. Also, she looks like she may have applied make-up to come to the gym, and there isn’t a single bead of sweat on her pretty face. But what, you might ask, irritates me the most about Hot Cell Phone Girl?
She is never out of breath during her conversation. Ever.
I try to shift my focus back to my own work-out. However, Magazine Girl next to me has caught my attention once more because she is still staring at the same Hanes underwear ad. I try not to meet her eye as I turn my gaze to her face, but I now see that there is no way she would notice that I’m looking at her because she is intensely fixated at this model. That’s when I realize that, yes, she is totally siking herself up! Wow, how weird! Hmmm….. I can’t help but understand her logic, though…
Uh oh…. Here comes Mister Stand-Around-and-Stare-at-the-Times-on-Everyone’s-Machines- he’ll wait impatiently until someone gives up their spot out of guilt for being on past the allowed 20 minutes during the busy time. Whatever- it took me an hour to get out of the house today and my daughter is quietly enjoying her time in the gym daycare- I’m not getting off this machine until my workout is done. He begins to sigh loudly. There’s a general discomfort among the masses- we all know he’s there---- now, who among us will give in to his silent demands? Luckily, Dude-Picking-Up-Disinterested-Chick has just finished up, mainly because Disinterested-Chick has just finished up. I am happy when Mister Stares hops on the machine furthest from me (before the girl even has a chance to wipe it down, I might add). I can’t wait to see who will fill the empty spot directly to my right!
Ah…. could this be our candidate? Here comes a tall, white-haired older gentleman who looks tough enough to have survived combat in a war or two. Hmmm…. I wonder what branch he served in--- oh, now I see- his shirt reads “NAVY” in large yellow letters. I always admire these tough old guys at the gym- they look like they drink a raw egg every morning for breakfast. And I admire their gusto, still working out so hardcore. I can barely get my ass here 3 times a week, and I don’t have arthritis. At any rate, Navy Man struts right past the eliptical machines and walks onto a treadmill instead. I’m momentarily distracted by the ringing of Hot Cell Phone Girl’s phone yet again, and when I look back, Navy Man has begun his workout--- He is gripping the side handbars of the treadmill and Facing BACKWARDS! Yikes! He looks like he could trip over himself at any moment! Is this even allowed? And why is this workout even necessary?? Is walking forward not tough enough for you, old man? What exactly are you trying to prove? Ugh, I have to look away- he is making me nervous!
To my right, someone has vacated the empty machine. This guy can best be described as someone who looks like he fell directly from the cast of the Jersey Shore. He may or may not have come directly from the tanning booth. His hair is gelled, and he is resplendent in his white hoodie with a dragon motif scrawled across the chest. Before he begins his workout, he turns on his ipod full blast, and lucky for any of us within a 10-foot radius, he’s a fan of hardcore death metal. Awesome.
I begin my cool-down and reflect on the collection of people I have seen today. Although this hodge-podge of hilarious characters is an entertaining sight, they all have their own motivation and I have to respect that. Whether they’re striving for that model body, or they are catching up on their correspondence or they’re just here to pick up chicks, they still made it here, right?
So I think it’s only fair that I now give an honest description of what you might see if you chose a machine next to mine. I look like I’ve just rolled out of bed, although that couldn’t be further from the truth. I have actually been awake for quite some time, but in my rush to feed, change and pack up the baby I never bothered to look in the mirror. I may or may not have spit-up on my ratty tank top- which, by the way, could be an old maternity tank top, depending on whether I finished the laundry. I spill water on myself almost every time I clumsily take a sip from my bottle while working out. I also leave my towel draped over the data panel of my machine- this is so that I don’t have to watch how slowly time is passing. In short, I am a hot mess. But, like all these other people, I got my butt here today, and that’s all that matters. In fact, there was a time just last week when I was so proud to have made it to the gym at all that day that I didn’t realize until about 10 minutes into my workout that I completely forgot to brush my teeth.