Monday, August 20, 2012

Now I Know Why People Work Out at Home

I entered the busy,
dimly lit
sweat center
just before rush hour
when everyone
for their sedentary jobs
by becoming a

I warmed up on
my usual machine
without anyone
next to me.

Thank goodness.

But then I went to find
a treadmill.

I opted for the front row and
left an empty space

between that lady and

As it turns out, said lady
was at the gym
but really just
didn’t want to work.

Because I could hear the
bottoms of her sneakers
scraping the treadmill tape.

It sounded like squeaking mice.
Or baby birds.
But not cute ones.
Or like a needs-oil
Hamster wheel
That doesn’t annoy the hamster
but annoys me
to death.

And it wasn’t just every few steps.
like she was getting tired or
had a bad knee or
had been running for a while.

It was

I tried to just
focus on my music.
I tried not to
give her an evil glare.
I tried to just

But those squeaking mice or those
baby birds or that
old hamster wheel
were all taking over my right ear
and my whole brain.

And I wanted to turn to her and
And I wanted to
throw my hands up
in that questioning way
and ask her why she can’t just

bend her knees or
pick up her feet or
wear lighter shoes or
slow down her pace
if it was too hard to keep up with?

When I got past that
of every footstep,
this Asian woman approaches
the machines near me.

There are six empty ones
To my left.


I saw her put her bag down
Two machines away.
Which would have been fine.
Except today was
“smart day” at the gym.

And homegirl steps onto the one

And I glance in her direction
with total confusion
(and maybe some exasperation).

And then her two daughters
get onto the machines to her left.

That makes
four of us
in a row.

Too bad it’s not a game of Bingo.
Because one more, and I could have

But then,
because it’s a dumb day at the gym,
my left shoelace came untied.

So now there are
crying mice and
three Asian ladies and
an untied shoe
ruining my therapy session.

I stop. I tie.
I double tie.
I start again.

And two minutes later,
A stench rises
Up to my nostrils

Because on top of the
mice-personal space violation-shoe lace
I needed to smell somebody’s
late and malodourous lunch.

But not to worry because
I have reached two miles
and I am giving up
on this entire
gym thing



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