Six months have passed since this writer joined the local gym. In a previous column, we shared our observations regarding the folks who populate this particular den of fun torture. But there is so much more to share.
If people watching is not an activity you enjoy, you are missing out on some great entertainment. Part of the process is trying to guess who people are. Since most people watching happens without feedback, we end up with countless unanswered questions.
Of course, if you are willing to engage in conversation with anyone, including a lamppost after a night on the town, then you will approach the object of your curiosity and interrogate them, politely. As it happens, this writer prefers to stay in the background and is reluctant to do what her offspring manage with ease — talking to strangers.
The lady in question always comes to the gym in full makeup and perfectly coiffed hair but did not seem friendly. In this writer’s imagination, the woman might have been a cheerleader in high school, college or both. Her husband looked like many tall athletic, but not overly muscular, guys from high school who either played basketball or was the quarterback of the football team.
After weeks of observing the couple, curiosity won out over shyness, and the nosy woman approached the possible ex-cheerleader.
“Hi. You always look so put together. Were you a cheerleader at any time?”
The woman smiled and chuckled. “No, I was a hippie.”
Once the communication door opened the conversation flowed — the ex-hippie, widowed after 38 years of marriage, related part of her journey. “I volunteered at the animal shelter and even worked at a large cat refuge. I met Mark four years ago in church.”
From that day on, the hippie girl always smiles and greets this nosy lady by name exchanging brief pleasantries. Her husband smiles and sometimes stops to chat. While his wife gets on with the business of working out, we noticed her husband is more than willing to engage in lengthy conversations.
If you become a regular gym attendee, folks recognize each other and nod. One such nodding acquaintance is the next puzzle we need to solve.
He is tall, compared to this five-foot woman everyone is tall. He sports a rotund middle and somewhat skinny legs. His hair is gray, and a generous handlebar mustache looms over his upper lip. His gym attire consists of baggy shorts and T-shirt along with bright pink knee socks, which we guess is in honor of someone battling breast cancer.
What tweaks this writer’s imagination is the bandana on his head. It looks similar to the Japanese flag, red and white with black lines. Is he an aging biker? He could well be since many Harley riders are on the corpulent side. There was a time we thought folks called Harleys hogs because of the size of their riders.
Approaching this gentleman is still in the mulling over stage because: a) he is a guy and this lady is not into picking up men and b) he looks intimidating. What if he is a big bad biker and bites her head off when curiosity wins out over common sense?
If you go to a gym regularly, you expect results, especially from the thigh-flapper machine. If you are not satisfied or are just impatient, get a trainer to help mix things up. The idea is excellent, but no one warns you about the pitfalls.
My trainer set up the new schedule, and the next day this excited writer hit eight on the volcanic explosion scale for embarrassment.
Suffice it to say the session with the foam rollers would have made any slapstick comedian proud. This writer hopes no one in the gym saw her rolling-around-the-floor-chasing-the-foam-roll performance.
To finish up the day’s frivolities, she had to use the elliptical machine, which she had never used before. Keep in mind this woman is technically challenged; she pushed enough buttons until the machine started but had her running backward.
“Exercising is fun, but sweating is so unladylike,” the lady muttered on the way out.