21 February 2006

At the gym

I took the day off work today, and used it to do all sorts of meaningful, virtuous things. Like grocery shopping and cleaning the refrigerator. I chopped up vegetables to use to make salads with for the rest of the week. I went to the gym.

The gym in the middle of the day is a different place from the after-work gym, or the weekend gym. People stay there for hours, for one thing, instead of the efficient 45 minutes the after-work crowd allots themselves. In the entryway were a half dozen Peg Perego strollers. I thought at first that the mothers had brought their children to the gym and put them in daycare while they worked out, but it turned out that the children's nannies had them in a tots' work-out session in the basement. One of them set off the fire alarm by opening the wrong door.

I recognized one woman from my work-at-home days; any time I was there during the week, she was too. I figured she was there a lot, since I wasn't on a regular schedule. She always did the same thing: the stairmaster. And she didn't just do the stairmaster, she did it in a very particular way, taking very small steps up. If the machine had been real steps, she would have been walking up the stairway in a dollhouse. Like so many gym-toned women, she always had a grim look on her face, taking all those small steps, never getting anywhere.

In the locker room today, she was talking to another woman, who looked like she could have been her sister, about dehydration. Step woman wanted to know if the other woman got headaches when she got dehydrated. The other woman was adamant: she never got headaches when she was dehydrated; she forced herself to drink water all day long to avoid it; when she was at home, she and her husband did nothing but drink water.

She insisted, "really, when you think about it, we're all walking around dehydrated most of the time."

I pictured the streets full of the dessicated masses, zombie-like in their pursuit of bottles of Evian.

Then the other woman asked whether the Step Woman was going to do the Stairmaster, and of course, the answer was yes.


Blogger tammara said...

I went to the gym faithfully for about 18 years - didn't miss more than a week here or there, except for the month I took off after each pregnancy. I started slacking off two years ago. I finally cancelled my membership a couple of months ago, mainly because the people there are so darned irritating - and I knew them all. Women will pinch one tiny bit of flab on themselves and complain about it for 15 minutes. If I hadn't been in a couple of weeks, they would be sizing me up to see if I was fatter - like I couldn't tell! Insane.

Now I walk, I lift a few dumbbells and do a few crunches at home. Yes, it's harder to do at home. Yes, I'm a little flabbier than I used to be when I was super-consistent - but I don't want to be one of those women (and it horrifies me to think that maybe I was, and just didn't know it).

9:31 AM  

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