Lately I have noticed that an alarming number of my friends are working up a sweat for recreational purposes. While I do find this admiral, I have a hard time picturing donning stretchy materials for any reason other than losing a bet. In fact, the last time I went running, I think I was running towards a Charles David sample sale (which admittedly you have to be pretty fit to get through without breaking a limb). To be honest, when I hear them talking about bonding over waking up at unthinkable hours, braving the elements while working up copious amounts of sweat and ultimately thrashing their bodies, all I can think about is how great it felt to wake up this morning in my freshly washed sheets on my fluffy pillow-top mattress and hit the snooze button five times until I was ready to roll out of bed.
Now I am not lazy by any means. I have been known to sprint upstairs in 4 inch heels, crunch pretty hard when taking off the 4 inch heels, stretch into a warriors pose when grabbing the Trader Joes Baked Crispies out of my cupboard, keeping my feet at shoulder width apart while squatting onto my couch, and of course several reps of the 12oz diet coke curl. In fact, just thinking about all of this activity has caused me to break out in a small sweat.
Lately my self-imposed guilt has gotten the best of me as I notice that my coworkers seem to developing a healthy glow and wearing smaller sizes and all I seem to be able to retain is water weight. So in an attempt to jump on the band wagon (that counts as exercise right?) I found myself walking into the gym that I have been a member of for over a year. I have never actually gone into my gym since the day I joined it and got a free tour/personal training session with a very attractive young man named Blaine…with a name like that, he really only had one clear career choice. I also got a free smoothie and a hat, so win, win. Blaine was nice to look at, but by the end of the 45 minutes that I spent with him, the only thing I wanted to do was throw my shoe at his perfectly gelled hair and wipe that crest-kid smile off his far too perfect face for doing 60 sit ups with me while not getting winded. So, needless to say, I was not looking forward to walking into unfamiliar territory that I paid an annual fee to never go to.
After about 10 minutes of wandering around and walking into what I hope was the women’s steam room (it was too steamy to see specific body parts) I managed to find the locker room. I located a locker that was not positioned directly in front of a mirror and began the very painful process of undressing in a public forum filled with perfect strangers. I have found that when in public changes rooms, there are certain unspoken rules one of which, don’t speak to anyone while they are naked. As I was almost done pulling on my lycra calf-length exercise shorts, a much older and naked-er woman looked at me and said,
“Where do I know you from? You look so familiar to me!” I really didn’t know how to formulate a response to this, I was having a hard enough time trying to figure out where to put my eyes.
“Hmmmmm. I don’t know. I work in the area, maybe you know me from the building?” I asked.
“Oh really? Where do you work?”
“Cole and Weber across the street.”
“Hmmmmm. Well, that’s not it. Huh, well it will probably come to me later. Have a good work out!” I smiled to the best of my ability and turned my focus back to tying my shoes.
After locking my possessions with my extremely flimsy $2 padlock which was obviously going to detour any focused thief from walking away with my iPhone, I made my way to the cardio floor. The cardio floor is a gigantic, loosely air conditioned room that smells heavily of human sweat and old men. People hoping to secure a cardio machine stand in line waiting for the opportunity to expend energy in a controlled environment. All the treadmills were taken, so I meandered over the something called an elliptical machine. The elliptical machines are interesting looking contraptions that make me conjure images of Tony Little on his Gazel enthusiastically running suspended in air while wearing spandex and a fanny pack. I had never until that moment ever actually tried one of these machines and I have to admit, I was more than a little intimidated. Somehow the women around me were able to work with the elliptical and not fight against what seemed to be a very unnatural movement. It’s not like running, and in fact, you are forced to keep your feet still while spinning at a high rate and trying to move your hips to the movement so you don’t lock up and launch yourself into the person directly to your right or left. After several unsuccessful tries and some very sympathetic glances from my sweaty neighbors, I admitted defeat. I could not find my rhythm on that thing…hell, who was I kidding, I don’t have enough rhythm to successfully perform the Macarena.
While trying to master the dismount from that horrible contraption, I noticed Blaine from across the room torturing yet another innocent woman who was obviously lured into that situation by his rock hard pecs and winning smile that seemed to say “Don’t worry, you could run a marathon tomorrow if you wanted to, trust me, I’m a professional.” I tried to not make direct eye contact, but somehow he saw me and waved. For some inexplicable reason, I raised my arm to wave back, which is not as it turns out a wise idea while trying to get off of a large piece of “exercise” equipment that you have never used before. Before I knew it, my foot that was still planted firmly on one of the elliptical’s moving parts dropped like a gliding rock bringing my body with it, however I somehow missed the upswing of said moving part and pitched myself forward trying to catch onto anything that didn’t have a component in motion. Instead, I ended up grabbing air as I swan dove into the front console of the machine missing knocking out my front teeth by millimeters. If that wasn’t an argument to spend the rest of my life from the safety of my couch, I don’t know what was. I swiftly tried to correct myself and ended up lurching upward and stumbling a few steps into the machine directly behind me. Not my most graceful moment, almost as bad as seeing me attempt the Macarena.
To my horror, I noticed that the person on the machine behind me, was none other than my once naked conversation partner from the women’s locker room. Thankfully she mentioned nothing of my clumsy dismount and instead took out her ear phones to ask me if I was ok. The only thing severely bruised was my pride at this point and all I really wanted to do was run, far, far away. So I did just that. I retreated to the locker room, gathered up all my crap and bee-lined for the door vowing never to publicly work out again.
I remembered later that night where naked woman knew me from by the way, she was a professor of mine in college 10 years ago…Why she recognized me partially clothed from across a large public locker room is a thought that still plagues me to this day.