Finally! After 3 weeks at the gym, somebody finally talked to me! Granted, he was 89, had false teeth, a zillion old age spots and was semi-bald, but he actually TALKED to me. I was so happy, I almost hugged him. I had contemplated giving up this whole weight-lifting routine—not because it’s hard but because not one, single person even acknowledges me. Like zombies, they move mutely between machines with their earplugs in and stare at themselves in the mirrors between grunts.
I’ve seen one guy at least 5 times and despite my saying, “Hi” every time, he has never said, “Hi” back. Not once. Not ever. Not even a head nod. Occasionally, if our eyes meet, he just stares at me in a creepy, serial killer kind of way. I thought he was maybe ‘a bit touched’ in the head. Nope. Yesterday, there he was chatting normal as you please with the guy next to him. So, I gave him my biggest, brightest, bestest smile and said, “Hi. Here you are again!” He looked at me, stared blankly, then looked back at the guy next to him and resumed his conversation.
Even the women are anti-social. They are either drop dead gorgeous in full makeup with skin tight outfits, or big and sweaty, with rolled bandanas around their necks, lifting ‘dumb’ bells heavy enough to flatten me into a graham cracker. I learned by Day Two not even to ask them for help. Once, I asked a ‘personal trainer’ which machine was good for building your core. She replied snottily: “If you would like some help, book an appointment with me.” Unwilling to pay to figure out how the machines work, I either follow after people or start each one at ZERO weight.
Until today, I had never seen anyone use a machine called the ‘Preacher Curl.’ Kept wondering what a ‘preacher’ was. Finally, today, I saw a guy using it. I watched him intently. It works the biceps! He caught me staring and paused mid-bulge. “Oh,” I smiled, slightly embarrassed, “I see you are curling your preachers!” He did not think that was funny. He just looked at ME strangely, stuck his left earplug back in his ear and sauntered away like an upright armadillo.
Geez. Haven’t had this much fun since I visited a morgue in college. ‘Weight bearing’ exercise is supposed to stave off dementia. Scares off humans, too. Frankly, the caption on this photo pretty much sums up my feelings on both nursing homes AND gyms. And for the record? I AM NOT GIVING UP!! I’ll have this place talking in no time. . .even if it’s about me!!!
Helen Hudson is the author of, “Kissing Tomatoes.”