Ah the gym...
A flow of air sweeps my hair back every time I open the doors to a steady hum of the treadmills, clanking of weights and a steady beat of music. I walk through the small assortment of workout clothes to the front desk, punch in my number and scan my finger. "Hello Amy, here are some towels. Enjoy your workout." Inhaling smells of rubber and cleanser I smile back, thank the front desk employee and zig-zag my way back to the locker room. Deep in concentration, I find a convenient open locker, unload my things, gather my water bottle and headphones and head out to the main area.
Given the time of day, a treadmill attached to a little T.V. screen can be hard to find. While there are huge T.V.s every 2 feet across and at least 10 rows back, the personal T.V. is pretty nice. First, you can change the channel and second it's right there. No need to look at an awkward angle to watch because running on a treadmill can be challenging enough. I pop the headphones, I find an amusing channel if the overhead music isn't to my liking, start the belt, and take a look around.
The people I love seeing are the supper overweight ones. Really. It inspires me to keep working hard because if they are overcoming their obvious personal challenges then so can I. I love seeing their story unfold but at the same time I try not to day dream too long in their direction because I don't want to look like a jerk.
After my run I move on to the weight lifting area. I take a deep breath and plunge through. I don't much care for this area because of the muscle men. Every gym has them. Fascinating as it is to watch these men who are so large armed that they can't touch their right shoulder with their right hand because muscle gets in the way, I can't help to feel like a weeny when I'm pushing as hard as I can on the shoulder press at 10 pounds... There is no where to put your eyes except right in front of you and that is usually where they are and because you can't look anywhere else, and stay in good form, these guys get their hourly shot of ego boost as they probably think I am checking them out. Which I'm not completely denying....
After stretching on the mat on the far end of the gym, worn out and ready to high-tail it out of there, I go back into the locker room and face the most dreaded people of all. I have yet to come up for a nick-name but I know everyone knows the type. Generally these girls are in the young to mid twenties and undoubtedly know someone else in the locker room to whom they are talking with so you get the whole story.... "Does my eye make up look okay? I wore waterproof mascara today so when I sweat I don't get black eyes." Her friend, "Ew. How bad do you sweat? Hey should my running shorts be folded down like this or inward like this?" Response, "Did you get the text from Jenny today? I just can't believe it! Hey, you want to get some coffee later?" With one last look in the mirrors they disappear around the corner.
One night there was a trio of these girls as I was coming out of the swimming pool area. They were talking about how they needed to get some color and then there was an off handed comment about someone's color that was just in the locker room, "She was so white you could see her veins! I mean, come on. That's just nasty." (I want to note that these girls were white as well.) I, having no shame, walked in the middle of these hens, who's chatter continued, stripped down to my birthday suit then proceeded to find my locker; making it so I had to walk around before getting the things I needed for my shower, including the towel I did not wrap up in. They stopped talking so fast it was almost startling. I wanted to eye them, dare them to say something, but they put their heads down, and couldn't pack their bags fast enough before leaving. Shallow minds only go so far, but at least they will have something to talk about over coffee.