January is an aggravating month to be a gym bunny. I go to the gym five days a week all year round. My typical routine is interrupted each January by droves of people with well-intended resolutions. They peter out in February, and I can return to visiting the gym at the 6:00 crowded sweat-hour and still get access to my machines with relative ease.
In last year’s gym rant, I discussed the coughing/gagging man on the treadmill next to me. In addition to the strain of running 3 miles, I spent the time in high alert to spring away should my neighbor projectile vomit my way. This January put last January to shame.
Gyms are stinky places. People are sweating. My expectations for hygiene are slightly relaxed. There is a patron who frequents my gym that shatters my lowered expectations. This guy goes year round and seems to turn up five days a week. His existence isn’t unique to January, but in less-congested times of the year I can steer clear of his green cloud of noxious fumes.
On a good day, the fumes only extend within three feet of his wake and the stench is not pungent enough to draw tears to my eyes. On a bad day the gag-range can reach ten feet. Yesterday afternoon, after and extensive search for alternatives, I realized that the only machine available to me was submerged in stinky’s ten-foot cloud.
Aside for the obvious struggle to remain on the Stairmaster while blinking away tears, living in stinky’s cloud comes with another down side. While I am aware of stinky’s situation, the people around me might mistake me for the source of the great stench. The only upside is watching people’s faces as they approach stinky. Men tend to be unresponsive. Women look like they’ve been slapped in the face upon approaching the green cloud.
That sums up the first part of my work out. I moved to the treadmill after doing my 30 minutes in the cloud. I need to say just a bit about what I was wearing. I’m working on a study of gym clothes for work. So, all week I have been wearing performance clothing all week. I exhausted all the shirts that I like. That particular day I pulled out a shirt at the bottom of my drawer. After two minutes on the treadmill, I was reminded of why it lives in the bottom of my drawer. It likes to ride up to just below my sports bra.
I was in the movie room at the gym, so I just accepted a bare midriff for those three miles. Then I noticed my treadmill neighbor. The fifty-year-old, pudgy, balding man to my left was looking at me. I thought, ok, I’ll just give him a minute. He fell into a pattern of staring at me for thirty seconds and then looking a head for two seconds. I let this go on for eight minutes.
I mustered a wicked glare and stared him down. The lecherous old turd ‘s eyes widened and he looked forward. I stared a little longer just to make sure he got the message. He must have, because mere moments later he got of the treadmill and left.
February, I am waiting for you. Please bring back the gym that I know and love.