…the gym…observations and lessons…

Must it fall on me to tell everyone about themselves in every location? Apparently, from what occurred at the gym this morning, it must. Okay people, listen up.

Being a man of a certain age and not quite as delusional as is commonly believed to be the case, I go to the gym not to release and sculpt my own inner Brad Pitt

Brad Pitt working out: note he smokes as he does so. I may have to take this up.

Brad Pitt working out: note he smokes as he does so. I may have to take this up.

-there is no chance of that happening – nor to socialize or meet people. I go to the gym so that I might not devolve into looking any worse than I already do, and so that I might maintain enough cardiac capacity and viability to continue smoking.

My “workout” is a carefully planned circuit for which I have a few simple rules (and standards – what the hell happened to standards, people?) which are as follows:

  1. I don’t use free-weights, nor venture into the muscle-head section where they are used.
  2. I use only machines that feature a built-in cup/water-bottle holder.
  3. I don’t use the mats provided by the gym – I’ve seen who does.
  4. I only enter the locker room because I have to in order to reach the bathroom; while in said locker room, I am clothed – YOU SHOULD BE TOO – most of you do not look good enough naked to be parading around unshod.
    Men who should NOT be naked in locker room.

    Men who should NOT be naked in locker room.

    And those who SHOULD be walking around displaying themselves, alas, never do.

    Men who SHOULD be naked in locker room and so, of course, are NOT!

    Men who SHOULD be naked in locker room and so, of course, are NOT!

Furthermore, I am not here to find sex partners. That is what Craigslist and Grindr and escort services are for. Here’s the thing, none of the people who are interested in me are people for whom I am likely to return the feeling. It has been my experience that those people I do find myself attracted to are likely to fall into one of the following categories:

  1. Not interested in me;
  2. Interested in me only as long as they can use me for something – like cash;
  3. Insane.

Unfortunately, this morning I broke another rule and after hoisting myself from my bed, rather than spend two hours drinking coffee, smoking, and writing in my morning notebook, I had one sip of coffee and left for the gym.

Bad idea. Lack of adequate caffeine and nicotine intake weakened my defenses and I allowed myself to be talked into a different workout regimen by my friend.

I acquiesced to the rowing machine because I was suffering from a fantasy of  incorrect assumptions having to do with swarthy, English accented boys, wearing ties and jackets (for a while, anyway) rowing sculls down the Thames. I thought there was a position on said team called “Cocksman” – and in my imagining of just what that meant, I thought the position might just be PERFECT for me.

The Eton rowing team, after the match.

The Eton rowing team, after the match.

The Eton rowing team on the way to the after-party, hosted - I imagined - by the Cocksman.

The Eton rowing team on the way to the after-party, hosted – I imagined – by the Cocksman.

Well, color me irate to find it’s “Coxswain” and has nothing at all to do with the story I had going in my head.

This is what comes of not having written before I went to the gym. My imagination was far too engaged, accustomed as it is to early morning use.

Worse idea: I agreed to do some mat work. Okay, look, I am not a plank. I have no aspiration to be a plank. I have, in fact, at my advanced age, given up most of my goals having anything at all to do with wood.

Even worse: after thirty seconds or so during which I was reprimanded to breathe deeply and lower my ass – again, two things I do not want to be told except in the intimate privacy I share with people I have paid to do so – I collapsed onto the mat where I was no doubt infected by all variety of nasty “other people” sweat and germs. It was only then when I began doing what I really do well – verbally attacking my workout partner and whining about why no one loved me, why I was ugly and poor and unappreciated, and why she was making me do all this shit. Wouldn’t you know, just as I am working up a brain-sweat, hitting my mewling, griping, grumbling stride, some out-of-shape, not very attractive, older man plops down on his little roller-thingy six inches away from me.

Don't PLANK on me.

Don’t PLANK on me.

Let me say this; if I want to be that close to an out-of-shape, not very attractive, older man – I will look in the mirror. Although, at my best, I couldn’t get so close as six inches – more like ten. Say nothing.

It had gone on too long – as do most things involving other people except those things one would like to go on. But, it ended. It was essential that we hie immediately to a purveyor of caffeinated drinks. With outside tables. Where I might smoke. DON’T YOU KNOW – Starbucks is now designating all property within a twenty-five foot range of their locations as a “smoke free environment.”

WHAT THE FREAK? Within 25 feet of the store? When I'm paying 6 bucks for a skinny-freaking-latte?

WHAT THE FREAK? Within 25 feet of the store? When I’m paying 6 bucks for a skinny-freaking-latte?

People. Bad enough I have to teach gym etiquette. Now I have to take on Starbucks? My life sucks.

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