I am a newbie to this whole gym thing. I have the rhythm down, I know enough to not stare at the guys who have biceps bigger than my head, and to wipe down the machines when I'm done. I also know enough to take my own water, and that turning up my music is not a sin when the constant clatter and whir of machinery threatens to send me into a paranoid insanity where I'm absolutely certain that they're all living death machines that survive off human pain and suffering.
|This is what most people imagine before ACTUALLY going to the gym. Complete with bustle.|
But since the music takes care of that, I'm far more paranoid that someone is watching me at the gym. Not because I am particularly good looking, but because I feel like I don't belong. The gym is full of skinny women in spandex that wouldn't even make a tube top for me and men who can bench press my considerable weight without flinching. Husband tries to reassure me that this is not the case, and conversations generally go in the direction of:
Me: I hate that everyone looks at me. I'm sure they're all thinking "How dare that fat girl try to come in here and take responsibility for her physical health!"
Husband: I doubt they're thinking that at all.
Me: But they have to be! I don't belong!
Husband: Dear, if they're staring, it's because you have pink hair, tattoos, and a five carat wedding ring on your hand.
...Touche, husband. Touche.
|This is fairly acurate. I swear.|
The truth of the matter is that people there are probably more concerned with their own physical fitness and their own training than they are in one pink-haired fat girl. Nobody probably notices me, and if they do, chances are they only see camaraderie, or someone taking responsibility for their own life. And if they're thinking something snide and mean, well, what does that particularly have to do with me? Why the hell do I care about what one meat head thinks?
So I go to the gym and come home wheezing like a beached manatee, making the "Please, dear merciful God, if you exist, push me back out to see" whimpering noise. It frightens the cat. Husband has learned to just walk past my melodramatic display of agony and sea creature noises. He'll have none of my nonsense. Especially since he knows that in twenty minutes and a shower later, I'll be back to normal.
Today does stick out in my mind though. Mostly because there was this woman at the gym who literally looked like she was skin and bones. The kind of person who would benefit from an additional twenty pounds of weight or so. But there she was, two treadmills away from me. That wasn't the weird part though. The weird part was that she had the treadmill at such a level that it was nearly 90 degrees into the air, and she was clinging to the display panel for dear life as she climbed it.
I began looking around, wondering if she maybe needed help, but nobody else seemed concerned. So I broke my own gym etiquette rules, and I kept an eye on this woman with my peripheral vision. Mostly because I was absolutely certain that she was going to miss one of her steps and go shooting off that thing like a cat on waxed counter top.
This was not something I wanted to miss.
|This is EXACTLY what I thought would happen. If I were lucky.|
My imagination ran with the news story that would obviously occur to cover a woman flying off a treadmill at speeds that propelled her through the row of elliptical machines and into the wall (oh the humanity), where I would be the only witness, and I could tell them all how concerned I was for her, so I kept an eye on her from the very beginning. It's entirely possible that I got a little lost in these thoughts, because next thing I knew, she was gone.
I searched all around, and realized that she indeed had not flown off the treadmill, but had obviously finished her work out. So I finished my own, slightly disappointed, and went down to the locker room to get my things to leave. I should have never allowed myself to believe that I was going to be left disappointed. Because there she was in the women's locker room, right as you walk in. Butt naked.
I love it when things come full circle.