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Saturday, December 5, 2015

Life at the gym, life in the world

Joining a gym is sort of intimidating. People walk with purpose and intent, stern and efficient. Finishing one set of exercises, striding to the next, a straight line of exercise geometry. Nobody smiles, or stops to talk.

Until recently the only time I had ever entered a gym was to play basketball, but age and injury forced me to retire. Now, the gym is where I go to exercise. But, it still has to be fun, I need to enjoy my time. I don't want to become a person who glares from station to station, unwavering, looking like he is being sentenced for a crime.

I am starting to work on a plan, "tonight I will do ab crunches on the ball, then cable rows, and dips, and curls, and, other things that I can't think of right now."  But, truth is, planning is not a strength of mine. Life has taught me that learning to flow with change is more important, or maybe I am just not very disciplined. Take your pick. I will not be offended.

Honestly, some of the exercise machines are still a complete mystery to me, so I watch other people use them and then I try to imitate what they did. There is one machine in the free weight section that is completely alien looking, and I still haven't seen anybody use it. It stands right in the middle, and people walk around it, and take weights off of it for barbells or other machines, but nobody ever sits, or leans on the apparatus, and starts lifting. It has become an obsession, I will watch until somebody uses it.

And, while drifting from place to place, headphones in, Dylan, or the Dead, or Tull or somebody
rocking and rolling through the workout with me, I smile at people, and say hello. And sometimes they smile back, and sometimes they don't. Dylan and I don't care. We are there to improve ourselves, and that includes being nice to people.

I am at a loss as to why all of these people with the same goal, exercise, aren't more open, and friendly. We are all working towards the same goals, being healthier. But, we are not going to make eye contact, or acknowledge each other.

In many ways it reminds me of my time in a Catholic high school. I was not a good student, and was only biding my time until I could reach escape velocity. But, I wasn't a real trouble maker or problem, either, but when trouble came, it came in the form of an angry principal. And his anger and loathing were palpable, and the air was thick with rage. I always wondered how he could be so angry, we were both Catholics, we were not that far apart, and yet it always seemed that he hated me intensely. In all fairness, I did deserve to be talked to, I was lazy and apathetic, but in my own defense I was not mean, violent, or a real distraction for anybody.