In less than 24 hours I will have begun a seven-day house/pet sitting gig at one of my favorite locations. Alone for seven days. And just in time, believe me.
The home to which I am going has warmly positive old-house mojo, it’s decadently comfortable, and sun beams through all the rooms as if a Broadway lighting designer plotted it. I am able to luxuriate in hours-long sessions of reading and writing there, not plagued by the restiveness, short-attention-span/inability to focus that has been upending me for the past year or so everywhere else.
I have my reading material all lined up. Today, my favorite place to be in the real world, The Curious Iguana Bookstore [celebrating their ONE YEAR anniversary this weekend – check them out by clicking HERE], handed me a signed copy of David Mitchell’s The Bone Clocks. Definitely making the seven-days-alone cut.
Alone. I’m thinking I might not even go to the gym. People are REALLY getting on my nerves. Today, for example, I got to the gym later than usual because it was a Mom-day. I took my Mother on various errands, had lunch, spent time together. I adore her. We did not have an easy time during my teens to my late twenties but we have become wonderfully close in the past few years since I’ve started spending a day or two a week with her, driving her to hair salons and doctor appointments and – I’m sorry but she loves it- WalMart. And wonderfully honest. Today, for instance, she started crying because she was having a great deal more difficulty walking than usual. In fact, today she did what she had done the last time we were together; instead of just taking my arm to help her, she has entwined her fingers through mine, holding my hand. It doesn’t really add to the stability, it’s a comfort, need thing. For her. For me, it makes me both ecstatic – because she is holding my hand and trusting me – and so sad, because I am terrified of losing her.
So, yes, I get to the gym after this and I am spent. I need to sweat and elliptical and sauna. I do my cardio and push push push myself through the melancholy. I take a quick shower and head into the sauna which is blessedly empty. Until . . .
. . . two late teen/early twenty-something boys come in. First of all, I don’t wear my glasses in the sauna because the last time I did so the layer of protective-scratch-proof-whatever on which I had once spent a pretty penny MELTED into cloudiness and I had to replace my glasses to the tune of $400. So, I stopped wearing my glasses in the sauna and, lo and behold, unexpected good thing. I can’t really see anyone, they are mostly blurs, and this creates a magical, other-worldly distance.
Sadly, I can still HEAR them.
I’ve seen these boys before. Upstairs in the gym proper. They are not unattractive. Well, they are not unattractive physically. In particular, the one named Pat is quite sexy. His skin brings to mind the color and smooth, lickable look of Haagen-Dazs double-chocolate melted and mixed with whipped-cream. He’s not overly tall, tends to wear red gym-shorts which fall perfectly over his gorgeous ass, has long – as in a bit past the shoulder-length – dark, curly hair which he pulls into a semi-ponytail-bun arrangement – and, well, he’s the kind of young man about whom I think to my self, “If only I had Calvin Klein’s money and could buy myself a weekend with that one.” Apparently I am not alone in thinking this. Which I will get to. As he and his buddy – whose name I did not learn – got into the sauna they annoyed me from the get go.
1) They turned on the light. Look, it’s NOT that dark in there and the light is JUST ANNOYING ENOUGH when one is sitting with eyes closed trying to meditate. And, HEY, I’M IN HERE WITH THE LIGHT OFF SO WHAT THE FUCK GIVES YOU THE RIGHT TO TURN IT ON WITHOUT ASKING?
2) They were dressed in their sweaty workout clothes and shoes. The sign AT THE DOOR says to shower BEFORE getting in. I can’t STAND the smell of heated sweat and – WORSE YET – heated dirty sneakers. It is disgusting.
3) They had a conversation as if I was not sitting right there. Which is why I think it’s okay to give the physical description of him and his name, because he said all this, including his name, right in front of me – a complete stranger – so, he must not care who knows about it.
Pat was telling his friend – who I shall call, henceforth, Friend Of Pat – or, FOP, for short -that he (Pat) had been given a clean bill of health by his doctor when he went in to make sure he didn’t have genital herpes and to have his liver checked because he had been drinking so much this summer. Liver fine. No STD’s.
Although Fop said that one summer of heavy drinking was not enough to cause liver damage, Pat assured him that he had had SO MUCH to drink this summer, he wanted to be sure. Fop was, however, amazed that Pat could have hooked up with as many girls as he had in his life so far -and Fop was sure Pat didn’t even tell him about ALL of them – and not have gotten an STD. Fop said, “I figure you’re in your thirties by now.”
But, NO. Pat said he was in the high thirties five years ago when he had been dating [NOT USING HER NAME AS SHE WAS NOT IN SAUNA BLABBING] and by now he was in the high forties.
Fop said, “Oh right. We made that list back then.” And that he was only to seven. And lots of his friends were only at one or two. Pat said, “You need to get new friends.” And Fop then started answering Pat’s questions as to how many girls specific friends had had sex with. There then ensued a conversation about a young lady who had hugged Pat in a sexual way at Bushwallers (a downtown, Frederick, Maryland bar) this past weekend but he was busy that night. He’s going to hit her up this weekend though.
Wow. Pat, pretty as you are, only adding ten sexual encounters in five years, looking like you look with that hair, ass, and – my, the CHARM – well, back in my day in my particular mirror-balled, popper-sniffing neck of the woods that was we would have called a slow fortnight. (Yes, we said fortnight. I am either that literate-pretentious or that old. Take your pick.)
Look, here’s the thing, I am ALL FOR having consensual, responsible sex as often and with as many people as you can. Believe me. And if I looked like you, Pat (or Fop) I would be sexing it up nightly – no question. But here is what I would NOT be doing – talking about it in front of people who I DO NOT KNOW AND HAVE NEVER MET. And even if I was – I would not be doing it UN-SHOWERED AFTER A WORKOUT, in a sauna, dressed in my sweaty clothes and smelly shoes.
I exist. Yes, I am likely old enough to be your grandfather but that doesn’t mean you can pretend I am not there. I pay my own gym membership and I go there to relax and have some – strange as it sounds – peace and quiet and solitude. You don’t just take over a space as if it was empty when ANOTHER HUMAN BEING IS THERE. Say hello. Respect that they might NOT want to hear what you have to say. Say excuse me when you walk by. Say, “Do you mind if I turn on the light?” If you MUST talk in the sauna – and you should NOT – remember that this is a public place so anything you say is PUBLIC.
And since you felt free to say all this (and more) in front of me, I guess you don’t mind who else knows about it.
You are both, no doubt, “hot guys” but, today, you proved that the only kind of hot you are is the sweaty, smelly, inconsiderate kind.
Yes, when two good-looking young men in a sauna do nothing but make me want to scream and kill, I definitely need to be in seclusion for a while.