Unemployment took away my last excuse not to go to the gym… work. And for that I will never forgive it. If you’re reading this, unemployment, consider yourself out of the will. The cats now get my ever-shrinking pile of assets. (Wifey will have to take it up with the furry ones.) My gym membership is cheap and paid through some time next year. All that prevents me from going these days is laziness and achiness (by which I mean laziness).
My gym has three reasonably convenient locations and many more totally inconvenient locations. One is in midtown, across the street from a previous employer and a short subway ride from home. Working out was so convenient until layoff #2. I still go there sometimes in the late morning to avoid the lunch-time and after-work crowds. Another location a few stops further downtown in
I left for the gym at about 9:30 this morning. It was drizzling and sunny, and the sky threatened thunderstorms, portending another day of confusing weather. There was also a 30% chance of snow, a 20% chance of tsunami and 10% chance that the atmosphere would solidify into some sort of jello-like substance making it impossible to do anything. I crossed underneath the subway tracks as the 7 train rumbled overhead, and wound through Elmhurst past the hospital and the park. I turned down through a neighborhood of houses, most of which have been converted into apartments, judging by all the doorbells and
The one-story box of a building sits right on the
The gym was packed, because it’s always packed. Every person in Elmhurst is required to hang out at this gym for two hours each day; working out is optional. I signed up for a couple aerobic machines at the front desk. The earliest available was in an hour. Every machine looked to be occupied when I got inside. Some people were working out, some were talking on cell phones, and some were trying to do both. I jumped on a recumbent bike when one opened up.
As if the crowds weren’t bad enough, the noise levels were just ungodly. Pumping club music covers of 80s songs blared from the aerobics room, as the instructor yelled instructions into her headset microphone. Some of the TVs played corporate music videos of beautiful, disaffected white guys rocking out in construction sites and on the tops of buildings. The accompanying audio came through the club’s speakers. Other TVs tuned to
I moved from the bike to a cross-trainer when my turn came up, kicking off the woman who tried to take my spot and putting my towel in the drink holder not lined with hardened bubblegum. The air conditioning wasn’t really on, and I was sweating profusely. Soon after, a 40-something-year-old woman busting out of her stretchy black and white gym outfit took the machine next to me. She was all silicon and botox, and damn proud of it. I glanced over, and she flashed me a smile through her lipstick, at least what amounts to a smile for someone who can’t move her face. Distracted from a
When construction lady was done, one of the two people I know at the gym – an unemployed engineer – took over the machine. We chatted about what would happen once unemployment insurance ran out. He has his eyes on a job at McDonalds. I’m thinking
By the water fountain in the locker room, I ran into the one other person I know at the gym – a heavyset retired guy who enjoys science fiction and Broadway shows. We met many months ago when he commented about
My time on the elliptical trainer was uneventful, except for the
Leaving the gym, I passed an employee returning from her smoke break and waited at the corner for the traffic light. I was tired and had the beginnings of a headache. It had been a relatively quiet workout, but I was still less relaxed than when I arrived. Tomorrow I’ll spend the four bucks and go workout in peace.