You Know That Moment Where the Dude at the Gym Offers You His Water Bottle?

So, you know that moment where the dude at the gym offers you his water bottle?

Yeah, I didn’t either.

Until yesterday.

I’m running on the treadmill.  It’s going terribly…I need to run more.  Lots more.

And faster.

So I’m running and sweating a lot.  Normally I would sweat sitting on a polar ice-cap, so you can imagine what it might mean for me to be running and sweating.

It’s a lot.

It’s like running next to a water fountain no one would want to drink from.

Because of this, I usually try to pick a treadmill with no one on the left or right.  I’d hate to get people wet with sweat flinging from my elbows.

Yes, my elbows sweat.  Don’t yours?

I also try to find the solitary treadmill because I don’t like talking to people at the gym.  I talk to people all the time.  It’s my life.  Hence, I try not to do it at the gym.  To give my inner I a break.

But yesterday there were no lone treadmills, and so I had to squeeze in between a very pleasant looking woman walking her butt off at an incline setting that was probably called “Everest,” and the muscle-bound dude in the black tank-top who had hair like Rick James.

Ok, it wasn’t exactly like Rick James.  It wasn’t very long, but cropped all up on his head as if Rick James’ hair had suddenly retracted into a flop.

And that’s the culprit: the dude with the Rick James flop crop.

After about 17 minutes I’m tired as all get out and sweating badly.  And all of a sudden, in my line of sight, a water bottle appears.

It’s not mine.

It happened so quickly and strangely that I didn’t know what was going on, and therefore didn’t do anything.  It was like a mirage, an oasis in YMCA treadmill Hell.

But then it appeared again after another minute…minute 18.

By minute 20 I was fit to be tied.  That’s so sad, but true.  And the water bottle made another appearance.  And I think I was in some sort of a daze, dehydration or apoplexy, because I reached out and grabbed it.

And then, as I was holding it in my hand, I thought to myself “What kind of a person passes a water bottle to a complete stranger at the YMCA?”

That question didn’t haunt me as much as the next one that popped into my mind, “And what kind of person accepts it?!”

Turns out Rick James’ crop flop wasn’t offering me his water bottle.  He was, in fact, throwing punches to the left and the right as he ran while holding his water bottle.

You know, as we do when we have muscles.

Still running, I turned to the side and said to him, “Uhm…I think this is yours.”

He looked over at me with this stunned, bewildered look.

I don’t blame him.

He took back his water bottle and said, “I guess you can have a drink if you want one.”

I just shook my head and kept running.

No thanks, man…life is strange enough without that experience.

I lasted another five minutes before jumping off of there.  That was quite enough for one day.


Happy Mother’s Day

So, at the Y today, post-workout.

(I’m setting the scene for you)

And I’m chilling in the sauna for a second with a towel around my head…so as not to have to talk to anyone or look at anyone.

And in there are a couple of older guys, what I would probably call “regulars.”  These guys are the masters of banter.  They love to chat it up.

So, anyway, I’m just chilling there, minding my own business, and a guy in full racquetball gear (goggles engaged and everything) comes in and says, “Geezus guys, it’s hot in here!”

And one of the regulars (we’ll call him Regular #1) goes, “What?  You wanna eat dinner in here?  It’s a sauna!  You sweat your brains out.  That’s what you do. Idiot…”

I’m loving it so far.

Racquetball Man sits down and starts bouncing his racquetball on the ground.  He begins,

“You see the high for mother’s day?  Holy shit, 55 degrees! Can’t believe that…”

Bounce. Bounce.

Regular #1 says, “Oh yeah?!  I remember when it snowed on Mother’s Day!  I was in Chicago for that.  Years ago.”

Bounce. Bounce.

He pauses…no bouncing…and then says sentimentally, “I’ll never forget that Mother’s Day…”

Ok man, now I gotta know. You speak with such emotion. Why won’t you ever forget that Mother’s Day?

I dare not ask, though.  The first rule of sauna sitting is: you don’t speak in the sauna lest someone speaks to you and you have to make up a fake profession and talk about the workout facility saying things like, “Yeah, I hate that lifeguard, too…”

But he doesn’t answer, he just goes on, “My wife treats me like she’s my mother. ‘Buy me flowers. Have dinner with me.’ Geezus…”

Bouncing resumes.

Bounce. Bounce.

Racquetball Man chimes in, wiping off his goggles, “I know what you mean, hombre.  My old woman thinks I owe her something.  Just ’cause you have kids, don’t make you a mother.”

Uhm…actually, that’s the common definition of “mother.”  But I keep my silence and listen on.

Regular #2, who up to now has been silent says, “My lady gets a card.  That’s it.”

Bounce. Bounce.

Regular #1, “And what you put in that card, all X’s and O’s I bet.”

This comment is apparently funny, because everyone laughs except me.

Raquetball Man, “Alright, I gotta go play.  Tell your mothers I say hi.”

He bounces out.

And then…silence resumes.

I surely will, Racquetball Man.  I surely will.

It’s Fun To Stay At The…

Finn was born.

For those of you just tuning in, Finn is our son.

“Finn” is short for Findley.  But really I just wanted to name my kid after a Jimmy Buffett song, and “Finn” with two “n’s” was as close as I could get.

So Finn was born and we moved to a new neighborhood.  This all happened in three days.  After three days I hear resurrection happens.

Or, as in this case, after three days you collapse in a mess and go, “What the hell, man?!”

Having a baby and moving in the same weekend was a bad idea.  Filing that away under “Mistakes of 2013.”

But as we moved to a new neighborhood, we had to join a new gym. Plus, I have to be able to carry that kid long distances, so it’s time to get back on the workout wagon.

If you’ll remember, our old gym was full of Trixies and Bros, which made people watching a lot of fun.  The conversations (if you want to call them that) had by the water fountain at that gym were intellectually stimulating in the way that the Teletubbies are intellectually stimulating: it’s god-awful but you can’t look away.

We’ll see what this new gym brings.

In searching for a gym near our new place, Rhonda and I decided to go back to an old standby in the “now-we’re-married-and-have-to-do-married-things” playbook.

We joined the YMCA.

On the tour we noted the dated pool, pock-scarred racquetball courts, and complete maze of a building.  It was as if a crazy person designed this place.  Hallways lead to nowhere, and that nowhere is the yoga studio tucked in the southwest corner.

We peeked our heads in and saw men and women in the dark lying prostrate, stretching things with candles by their heads.  It looked unsafe.

But the cardio room was newly re-done, and the weight room wasn’t completely full of meat-heads (which means that I can probably lift there during slow times).

So we took the plunge.

This morning was my first morning to head there.  I pulled out of our garage only to be met by the huge garbage truck in the alley.  As I began to back out the alley the other way, a truck looking for scrap metal pulled up behind me.

And there I was, stuck between two necessary professions and going nowhere.

Obviously a metaphor for my life…

After 10 minutes of following the garbage truck down the alley as dumpsters, boxes, and the occasional sofa was tossed into the belly of that beast, I was free on the road.

Except that road was Montrose.  And it was backed up from the freeway entrance.  Plan B, cut down to Irving Park, and then sit there as it’s backed up…from the freeway entrance.

The freeway is badly named, by the way.  It’s not free at all.  It sucks away your life as hours tick by all the while you’re waiting to enter the race.

Another metaphor for my life…

Finally I passed the freeway, turned in by the Golden Nugget (that’s a breakfast place with an unfortunate name), and came to the mechanical gate of the Y.  There’s a minivan in front of me, so I practice my morning meditation and wait.

The silhouette of the woman in front of me is one of sheer panic.  Her trashcan-size purse is being ruffled through as if she’s searching for ticks on a dog, and items are flying everywhere.  Then she just turns the whole thing over, making the messy contents contained in the bag fall on her floor.

Which makes her unbuckle, and begin sifting through her floor.

And what’s she looking for?

Her ID that will let her in the gate.

I turn up Billy Joel.  It’s my only saving grace at this point.

And as I’m on my third round of repeating mindfully, “Three, two, one. One, two, three. What the hell is bothering me?” I hear a tap at my window.

It’s her.

“Uhm, I’ve forgotten my card.  Can I use yours to get in?”

I abandon my running vehicle, go up to the box and slide my card.

As I’m getting back into my car I notice she missed the entrance window, and the bar is falling back down.

And why did she miss it?

She was putting on her seat belt.  To go to a parking space in a largely deserted parking lot.

Another life metaphor staring me in the face…

I get back out, swipe the card, and in she goes.

As I follow her in through the gate, get out of my car, and lock my door, she comes up to me and says, “Thank you so much.  It’s been a rough morning.”

Yes, yes it has.

And as I head into my workout, I look back at that gate and start praying that I can get back out of the lot.  Because although it’s fun to stay at the YMCA, I’ve had my fill of wasting time…