I recognize that I write about my experiences at the gym far too often, but I feel a lot is resolved and sorted out in my raisin brain while I sweat my way through virtually the only quiet time I get all day.
Most of the time the gym is crawling with cliched stay at home moms like me, the occasional male, and throngs of elderly folk. Throngs, I say.
I quite enjoy most of them, despite the random curmudgeon in the pack. I’ve heard some good jokes, seen some good fashion, and heard some great phrases from those old birds.
I can’t remember the jokes, because I simply do not have the mental capacity to remember jokes. I certainly tell the most painful joke the world has ever heard as well. I’m one of those people who tells the punchline wrong, but only after backtracking on the joke 3 or 4 times to add in a forgotten detail.
As for the fashion, there are a surprising number of them who wear- wait for it- shirts tucked into jeans! With belts! Brilliant.
Phrases, you ask? How about: “wash and wear hairdo”, or “You give a kid a peanut and he blows up”. Try this on for size: “Betty’s not doing any of the driving. She can’t see well enough. I mean, she can see shadows, but that’s not good enough to drive.”
I don’t know. I have a strange fascination with the old folk. They simultaneously delight and terrify me, because they will fawn all over 3 year old Beckett when we ride with them in the elevator, but then mostly what I hear out of their mouths in the locker room are stories of cancer and dying. I know it’s natural to be talking about medical things at that age, but it fills me with dread.
There will be the crinkly-eyed gentleman who makes Beckett’s whole day by asking what his name is. While they bask in their connection, I am trying to quell the voice in my head that’s screaming, Oh my god! Look! My child is relatively new on this earth and you are at the end of your days! Did you even notice the poignancy?!
Many times (like way too often) I picture myself as an old woman, walking on the treadmill, chatting up my buddies. But I assure myself I won’t repeat myself three times before I go do it. Example: Today a 70 year old woman in horribly embarrassing pigtails told her cronies she was going to go “walk the pool”. Three times. She felt the need to keep telling them, and I wondered if it was because she was nervous she might never return, then they would know where to go looking for her.
Anyway, I look at all of the old women and choose who I want to look like at that age. There is a beautiful older woman that I aspire to be, but I assume she’s not human. She’s one of those 68 year olds who has a better body than most everyone, walks with quiet grace, and has curls the color of warm wheat- natural looking and full and they fall perfectly around her face.
Shall I shut up now? Are you people as obsessed with getting old as I am? Probably not. This is what happens in my mind while others are engaging in healthy conversations or watching their treadmill TV’s.
image: Cristian Newman