I saw it yesterday: the gym flirt.
Having spent most of the day lounging around in moose pajama pants (thanks Mama B!), stocking cap, and a robe, I decided at 4:30pm that it might be time for me to go to the gym. If there’s one thing this blog is making me do it is get off my ass and go to the gym. After all, I wouldn’t have much to write about if I didn’t. And I don’t think I can, in good conscience, write about walking up and down the back steps of my apartment with a load of laundry while trying to prevent my robe from flying open, in what I can only guess were 90 mph winds tormenting Chicago yesterday, and still call this blog “The Year of Health.”
I figure I have to do something “health” related if I’m going to write it up for the public to see. And so, at 4:30pm, after six episodes of West Wing Season 6 (thanks Santa!), grits, coffee, and two loads of laundry done and folded, I decided to get to the gym.
I was not going to be ambitious. We’re starting out small, remember. I’m a tortoise, not a hare. Ask anyone. I’ve always resembled the clunkier turtle to the agile rabbit. So 30 minutes on the wimpy but effective elliptical was all I was planning on doing.
Oh, btw, discovery number one of the day: “elliptical” has two “l’s”. I want to thank all 300 of you who have been reading this for alerting me to that fact. It’s not enough that I’m sharing very personal information with you, but apparently I also get to show you I spell like a 3rd grader.
And I used to teach reading. Sigh. Just another confirmation that, should I ever think too highly of myself, there are at least 1342 reasons not too.
Ready for reason number 1232?
On arriving at the gym I made another discovery: the check-in sensor talks to you. It’s not that I hadn’t noticed this before; I had. Upon swiping your card you hear a “Have a good workout!” in a deceptively high yet humanoid voice, to which I have, without fail, replied, “I’ll try!” followed by a huge smile toward the desk attendant.
Only this time I finally noticed that it was the computer talking, not the person behind the desk. This explains the bewildered looks I received each time I replied.
Curse technology. And curse the desk attendant for being mean and not telling me that I was talking to a program.
So, now that I’ll never be replying to that again, nor chatting up the desk attendants, I’ll move to the story.
Having changed and gone to the second floor (where the elliptical machines aren’t placed in front of the street-side windows so I don’t have to suffer the odd looks from the people outside), I chose the elliptical nearest the dreaded stair-climber, punched in my weight, time, and level (a modest 12 out of 20) and began to ellipticize.
At minute 5:34 a woman hops on the stair-climber, which is positioned at a right angle to my elliptical.
At minute 5:55 a man comes running over to the woman as if she was about to leave the country and he had to verify her passport. He was holding out in front of him a water bottle, but holding it at an alarming angle. I’ve seen a similar scenario with this style of fast sprinting/object holding. Only it was in a hospital. The sprinter was a nurse. The object was a cardboard box with a heart on ice inside, ready for transplant.
You see where I’m going.
This is the conversation, as best as I can remember it:
Him: “Hey (hopping guard-rail blocking off running track from exercise area in one leap making you feel as if you’re a failure at life because you cannot do that without looking like a doofus), you left this at your Zumba class station.”
Her: (Flipping ponytail to look at him with a perfect smile) “Oh! Thanks! You saved my life. I need my hydration!” (Laughs)
Him: “I know. Water is sooo good for you, and tastes good!”
…I kid you not, he said water “tastes good.” You can’t make this buffoonery up.
Him: “Well, you’re welcome.” (Flashes perfect smile and begins to walk around the guard rail)
Let’s pause. I should describe him for you, just in case you’re wondering at this point what he looks like.
He was probably chiseled out of limestone at one time in his life, touched by a wizard, and given the gift of breath. His biceps were the size of two liter bottles, the 1980’s versions with the very round tops and bottoms. The ham steaks glued to his chest could be called pectoral muscles if they weren’t large enough to be a person of their own. I imagine he could probably hold a quarter between them and, with the flick of a muscle that he can move independently but that I don’t even possess, could shoot that quarter right into my waiting hand should I want to buy a Hostess Cupcake from the vending machine.
His legs looked like they were constantly flexing. He had hair (that’s all I’ll say about that). The only flaw was that his eyebrows were continually furrowed, but I blame the difficulty that conversation probably posed for him on that expression. I don’t think it was permanent.
And her? She was, of course, Trixie-rific. Tight blonde ponytail. Tight leggings. Short tank-top that accentuated the fact that nowhere did she bounce where she wasn’t supposed to. Her shoes were pink, her sox were white, and she was doing a setting of the stair-climber that I dare not even attempt.
It’s like they were created in the same factory and shipped on the same date, and now were reuniting so that pretty people can continue on this planet. I felt like an imposter, watching Fate work her magic for attractive people. Fate usually just led me to step in dog crap and track it in the house. That’s what Fate does to people who blog about elliptical machines.
As he started to walk away, she called back at him and said, “So what are you going to do now?”
Him: “Uhm, probably lift a bit. I have to work my shoulders. My training coach says that they’re my most underdeveloped area. Some lat work next, at that cage over there.” He pointed to one of the “cages” that held tire-sized weights.
Her: (Laughing) “You look in pretty great shape to me.”
Him: “Yeah, I do alright. In between school and work, I don’t get to lift as much as I’d like.”
It was at this point that I realized that conversation was not hard for him. He was in school, worked, and found time to go to the gym. I started to peddle faster, seeing that he was put on this earth to be inspiring, not to be mocked.
Her: “I’ve almost got my nursing degree.” At which point I peddled even harder. Gosh, these beautiful people were inspiring, with their wondrously toned arms. And here I was “sweating to the oldies.”
Him: “Well, I hope to see you again soon.”
Her: “I’m sure you will. Thanks for the water.” (Takes a sip) “Just what I needed!”
I looked down at my clock and it was now just minute 12:12. “Just what I needed” ?! Please, lady. You haven’t been on this machine 10 minutes, don’t pretend your dying of thirst. It’s not impressive (it was).
Although I had to suffer with their superior bone/muscle structure for another 17 minutes, I’ll spare you the details. He would pass her by every so often and wave. She would wave back and then return to her routine of breathing through her nose and out her mouth. All the while I was melting like a snowman in Jamaica, just trying not to appear as if a) I was listening in on their conversations/interactions and b) going into cardiac arrest.
When I stepped off the machine at minute 30, I was ready to be done. My legs were tense and my morale, while happy that I had worked out, told my stomach “See what you could have been had you done this 10 years ago?!”
Such a scolding is difficult to take, unless you remind yourself that it’s not about getting ripped, it’s about being healthy. At which point I remembered that I had a loving partner, good relationships, AND I was working out regularly. That I had been through school, gotten three degrees, AND am a good godfather, uncle, husband, and friend. Suddenly ham steak pecs weren’t as necessary (unless they’re on the menu, and then I’ll gladly take them on behalf of humanity).
Oh, I should also mention that one time when the guy passed, he made a motion as if he was going to smack her butt. It was at that moment that I realized that while he may be good looking, while he may have huge biceps, he wasn’t classy. And she laughed at it. And I realized she wasn’t classy either.
Please, lady, go for the nice guy. And don’t flirt at the gym. Vomit is hard to wet vac.
Stay classy, gym rats.