It’s tourist season at the gym! And let me be the first to say that I love a lot of things about the first of the year New Resolution-ers. So much energy! So much enthusiasm! So much more laughter about the bizarre rules the Gym Buddies and I use to play basketball! (Laughing with us or at us? Considering we made Gym Buddy Allison do a personalized cheer that spelled out each of our names with her body when she lost, let’s go with both.) Truly I’m happy that more people are at the gym and working out. But. But like any good thing there are growing pains and sometimes it’s just better to get it off your chest, right?
A first for me at the gym: I actually got off my treadmill and moved to another one because of the person next to me.
For some this might not be a big deal but I pride myself on being very tolerant of all different kinds of weird human afflictions. Bad gas, stinky sweat, singing loudly to a tune only they can hear, talking on their cell phone, heavy breathing, clouds of cologne and even, on occasion, leering. I’m not saying I enjoy any of these things (especially not the leering and especially not when you consider that at the time of day I work out the only men around to be doing the staring are over 70) but we’re all people, right? I’m not going to switch my ‘mill off and start over just because you sneezed into the fan and crop dusted the gym with your germs. In addition to my tolerance, I’m also pretty tough in the ol’ immune system. It takes a lot to get me off my equipment. So what, for the first time in 3 years, drove me across the room quicker than you can say “Which one of these brightly colored buttons is the emergency stop?”?
And not just a little bit. I can handle a whiff of Marlboro Reds – takes me right back to high school where that was the cig of choice for my underage friends – but this was different. It was like the gentleman had chain smoked three packs and then dutch-ovened himself so he could marinate in it all night long. (True story: the Turbo girls introduced me to the concepts of a “dutch oven” – where you fart in bed and then hurry and pull the blanket over your bedmate’s head – and a “Conestoga” – where you fart in bed and then flap the covers until they resemble a covered wagon. How have I lived all my 31 years on this planet and never known that bed-farts have names?! I’ve been dying to throw that into a conversation but oddly there hasn’t been much occasion for new fart nomenclature lately so you guys get it instead. You’re welcome!)
I noticed the stench when he got on but I had less than a mile to go so I tried to brush it off – think of happier things, you know, like my grandmother who used to chain smoke with her oxygen tank next to her. And I say “used to” not because she blew herself up (that would NOT be a happy memory) but because at 80+ years she finally kicked her pack-a-day habit! Woo hoo! One of the upsides of Alzheimer’s Disease – probably the only upside – is that you can’t remember where you put your lighter. But back to Cigarette Man. The problem really started when he finished his warm-up, peeled off his sweatshirt (smokeshirt?) and started running. The nicotine sweat started rolling off of him in waves. For the first time since we did Lindsey’s barf circuits last month, I thought I was going to hurl. I threw my sweat towel over my face, grabbed my stuff and high-tailed it to the farthest possible treadmill.
I suppose I should have been happy that he was trying to negate some of that smoking-induced lung damage by getting in some good heart-pumping cardio but instead all I could do was try and think of creative ways to tell him to quit the cancer sticks. Oh and be bitter that he was polluting my hard-earned pink lungs with his toxic sweat gas. In the end I didn’t say anything to him but I kind of hope he got the message when I ran away.
And while I’m on this subject, my second pet gym peeve: tons of cologne or perfume! If I can taste your Drakkar Noir or White Shoulders then I cannot be held responsible for tripping you while you run past the toilets (oh yes, at my Y the toilets are right on the track) in the hope that you will fall in and wash some of it off. I’d rather smell your sweaty stank any day of the week.
Was that terribly rude of me? Would you have said something? What’s your pet gym peeve? Anyone have any other bed-fart stories for me?? (I’m puerile. Duly noted.)