June 06, 2007

Don't talk to me when I'm glistening, please.

I looked up from my second set of leg presses to see a mid-thirties man I'd never met standing over me at my feet, his mouth moving, but no words coming out. I looked quizzically at him, and he gestured to his head.

I touched mine, realizing my headphones were in, music blaring, which would account for the fact that this man was making zero sense to me. It still didn’t account, though, for him talking to me when I was clearly busy working out.

I jerked out an earbud and glared at him.

“Yeah?” I said, too loudly of course, due to the other bud still crammed in my right ear.

“Um, I was just wondering if I could hop on there for a quick set in between yours,” he asked. “I just have one more to do, and…”

I hadn’t realized I was hogging the machine in the near-empty gym, but apparently this whole sharing equipment thing was status quo for homeboy, so I nodded cautiously, standing. “Sure, no problem… but you might wanna—“

Before I could suggest wiping down the machine, as I had just completed a 3 mile run and was… glistening , we'll say, he was on his back, legs up, lying in my little sweatmarks, in the middle of his first squat.

I stretched while he finished, and when he got up, I was hit with a dilemma: Either I could lay down in my/his sweat and finish my last set, something I really didn't want to do, or I could walk across the gym floor to the nearest little sanitization station for a papertowel and some of that pink weird equipment spray, which might come off a little insulting, as this guy hadn't seemed to mind my sweat at all.

I paused for a moment, and then... fuck it. I layed back down on the machine and started pressing. I figured if he could do it, I could do it.

And then, four reps in, there he was again at the foot of my machine, mouth flopping.

I jerked up, plucking out an earbud again.

He leaned over and handed me a paper towel, already covered in the weird pink stuff. What the hell? I thought. Now he wants to clean the machine? “Uh, thanks?” I said, wishing he would just go away so I could resume my workout in peace. But instead of leaving, he stood there, expectantly.

He wanted me to wipe the machine down while he was there, when I was already in the middle of using it again.

Flustered and completely weirded out, I twisted around, wiping down the back of the seat, then the handles, and crumpling up the towel like There. Happy?

“Thanks for sharing,” he said, and reached out his hand.

“Sure,” I said, again willing him to vanish. But he continued to hold out his hand. I was totally perplexed, unable to think of anything else to do with it but shake it. So I did. Kinda a “Well, see you later,” shake, I thought.

But instead of shaking back, he kinda half-pumped and then let go, wiping his hand like I might have just given him some sort of disease.

“No, I meant I’d take the towel now,” he said, all uncomfortable, like I was some strange gym girl hitting on him when HE was the one who approached ME and then layed on MY sweaty machine and insisted on talking to me instead of just waiting 30 goddamn seconds for me to finish my set.

“Oh.” I said, ever-eloquent, fumbling for the crumpled, sweaty, pink-stuff covered paper towel. “Right.”

I am clearly a master of interpersonal communication; an example for all people interested in having non-awkward interactions with humanity; a veritable book of rules for those who want to go gracefully in this world amongst their fellow man.

God I hate it when strangers talk to me at the gym.

3 comments:

roeyourboat said...

I make sure not to make eye contact.

Chuckles said...

This is why I work out in my apartment. It's cheaper, too.

Trebuchet said...

Roe -- good advice. I'll employ it immediately and report back.

Chuckles -- two things: 1) EEEW, that must be stinky and 2) if i worked out at my house, i would never get off the couch. It takes me needing to go somewhere else to get the job done. Also, it's nice to decompress somewhere outside your home so your house can just be the center of all things tranquil, delicious and prime-time.

That's my policy, anyway.