Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Battle of the Bulge -- Now With Dinner Theater

So here at my shiny, new apartment complex there’s also a shiny, new workout room. It’s… petite, but it suits my needs. Now instead of my bike rides 3 times a week I can take bike rides 5-7 times a week. Rain, snow, sleet or falling frogs, I can still take my bike ride. Which is very, very shiny. (Well, as shiny as anything that sweaty can honestly be.) Plus also there’s this added advantage of being able to read a book while I bike. This, I can assure you, is much more difficult on moving bikes, as there’s that whole thing about needing to watch where you’re going and balance and stuff. So in the “reading while I bike” department the stationary bike in the workout room is a VAST improvement!

Most of the time there’s just me in there. I tend to head down there fairly late, so as to not have to share my panting and wheezing with others, but most of the time there’s someone else trotting on the treadmill or… something with jaunty elliteration on the elliptical machine. I just sit on my bike, pedaling away. But the other night was odd. I’d been zooming along for ten or fifteen minutes when the first guy walked in. He is most often the one who shares my sweat-space, so we did that silent nod-greeting thing and he jumped on a treadmill and took off away from me. (Except of course that on the treadmill you don’t go anywhere. And besides if you DID I’d totally have caught up on him on my non-moving bike, so…)

But after a couple of minutes another guy walked in. And in fact this guy was two guys. And these two guys jumped on the other two cardio-machines, one treadmill and one elliptical, and away they went. From my spot on the bike I had, in those moments when I looked up from the book, this funny little view of a trio of strange hineys bouncing down the road away from me. An amusing enough site that I admit I looked up more than once. A couple three or four times actually. And on the third or fourth time my middle hiney guy started to flap.

Yes, flap.

He was running along, treadmill flying under his feet, and his arms started to flap. Arms straight out to the side, hands palm-down, away he flapped. So enthusiastically I had to look down to his feet to make sure they weren’t coming off the ground. My funny, runny stranger flapped and flapped as he ran and I felt the first giggle coming up kind of like a tequila burp. But be proud of me, my people, for I stifled.

Then the fourth guy showed up.

First of all, there’s never been three, so you KNOW there’s never been four. So that was surprising enough. And yet I was fully committed to ignoring and getting back to my book and disregarding the unprecedentedness of a fourth guy. Still, out of the corner of my eye I noticed that he was headed to the weight machines. I also noticed that he was a little guy. Not short, but more slight. Spindly even. So it definitely caught my attention when he decided to lift so much weight. Because it really was a lot of weight. Frankly, it was pretty much ALL the weight. I’ve never even looked at the number on that bottom weight because I knew I’d never see that come off the ground ever, but I know that some of the numbers above it include combinations of 8’s and 0’s. Mr. Spindly pushed up this big HEAP of weight. Probably a whole 4 or even 5 times.

He then moved to another weight machine and once more lifted all the weight. Numbers of 8’s and 9’s going up into the air another 5 or 4 times too. And then he rearranged the weight to pull from here rather than there and pulled yet again all the weight! With the spindly arms!

After the fourth pile of “all the weight”, though, Mr. Spindly looked dejected and grumpy and wandered back out again. At this point I realized he’d been killing time waiting for someone to step off of a cardio machine, but flapper and his two buddies never even looked back. And so off Spindly left.

And right after that my flapper stepped down. He was done treadmilling, and therefore done flapping. The guy on the elliptical also stepped down, and stepped out, and I knew the show was coming to a close. I felt kind of bad, because it had been a big night in the workout room. And then, as if he heard my mental cries of “Encore! Encore!”, flappy gave it up for one more big performance. He began high-stepping his way across the floor. Not nazi-style, mind you, but more along the lines of “can I knock my own teeth out with my knees? Can I?”-style. Step, step, step he went, first east to west and then back the other way, back and forth across the room twice. I watched, holding my breath and the guffaws contained within that breath, as his knees came higher and higher.

And then he was gone. And it was all I could do to not applaud.

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