Sure, I’ve written about the perils of working out in previous entries (see Pain, pain go away and Kiss, kiss), but a recent incident has inspired me to once again write about the space where men and women go sweat away the whipped cream from the skinny Frappuccinos they secretly gulped minutes before entering the doors of — THE GYM (echoing sound effect).

The gym is an intimidating place filled with potentially obnoxious people. I like to compare it to the Palmetto Expressway between the 36th Street and 74th Street exits. Particularly how we merge onto the highway as fast as possible, while not making eye contact with any of the other drivers and certainly not entertaining conversations from trucks. Instead, we blast our music and drive forward. This is exactly how I gym.

However, during a recent visit to the workout emporium, I was left with no choice but to speak directly to a patron. I wouldn’t have noticed the older gentleman with excessively white sneakers and matching tube socks that extended midway up his calves, but he was on my leg press machine. Now, I say my leg press machine because this machine is my favorite machine in the whole sweat lodge. First, hardly anyone uses it, so I’ve convinced myself it’s cleaner than the other machines. And, second, I have a specific routine that I’ve somewhat invented which makes me feel more accomplished than Jillian Michaels.

But, there was this old guy. Balding. With glasses. Awkward. Hovering over my machine. Pretending to do reps (I counted 4 presses and then he’d get up). During his rests, he would pull out a BlackBerry from his pocket and fiddle with it. What was he doing? And, really, whose email was he waiting for that was so important? But, most importantly, when is he going to be done with my machine?

And then I caught his sight line and that of his BlackBerry. He was checking out and photographing a woman on the ab machine.

This angered me so much – not so much that he was a perv, but more so because he was using my machine as a guise for his grossness – that I walked over to him. I pulled the ear buds from my ears and barked out a deep and curt, “Excuse me.” The perv’s baby blue eyes were now on me, but his look was one of a frail and scared little man.

I almost felt bad for him. I almost understood that at his age, this is the closest he can come to attractive women. I almost accepted that he was conditioned to not think that women were more than just sex objects. Almost. But he was on my machine and I needed him to move.

So, I said:

“How many more photos, I mean reps do you have left?”

And the perv lowered his head and said he was done.

Published by Mari

I was born with a widow's peak and a thick accent. I majored in English as a second language. I work ( and travel ( and sometimes do both.

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