I was at the gym again this morning. I’ve had to make some adjustments to my training, as I gradually get back up to strength after almost two weeks away. I am not just fighting the effects of the time off, however. I’m also up against serious weight loss. Unintentional weight loss. Inches have been coming off me like dust. It is not fun. I’m left with, well nothing to wear that fits me. I have the six pack of abs that I never wanted. I always knew that if I looked down and saw that shit, it would mean I was too skinny, too weak. A 500 lb squat just up and jumped months further away on my calendar.
This weight drop is a product of a cold, some travel, a viral infection, and of course – the blues. Check out the weight graph from my FitDay account. Looks like Jim Bunning’s approval chart or the south face at Corbet’s Couloir.
But that’s not what I came here to write about.
I came to share a new installment of Public Gym WTF.
I was in the cage, doing set after set of standing shoulder press: three warmup sets, three work sets of 65%, 75%, and 85% of my max, and then I stayed in for three more sets at 50%.
Just outside the cage, or power rack, was my stuff. My backpack, a sweatshirt, a towel, some Jumpstretch bands, a powerlifting belt, a quart of water, a pouch full of gym chalk, a notebook, a pen. Also there was the foam roller I used pre-workout. Between sets, I crouch down next to the heap of gear and write my rep/set/weight numbers in the notebook, take a drink, or whatever.
After the SSPs, I did some shrugs because – sue me – I have an ego and want a big yoke.
I slid the plates off the bar after the shrugs, and consulted the notebook as to what was next. A cleaning guy comes over with a vacuum and pokes the sucker-nozzle thing around the cage and around my stuff. No problem. I see this guy all the time. He is a danger to everyone around him. He plugs the vacuum cleaner in at one end of the large room, then navigates the place while his 700-foot extension cord coils around equipment, dumbbells, benches, human ankles, yoga instructors, entire Senior-cise classes. As long as I can see him, we’re fine. I can tolerate him and watch my step around his cable.
Standing next to the King of Vacuum Rodeo is another guy. He looks like one of the cast members from Jersey Shore. He’s big, but all biceps and pecs. He’s got a tank top on the torso and gel on the head. He’s just standing around there looking like a tool: one hand caressing his abdominals, both eyes flirting with the mirror.
I can’t do anything until the vacuum is out of the way, so I take a minute to return the foam roller to the corner of the room I got it from. When I get back the Jersey Shore guy, The Bitchuation, is sliding plates onto the bar in the cage.
I hate that shit. Not a fucking nerve inside him to just ask if I was through. And this guy has, well now, about twenty pounds on me, stands about three inches taller, and has probably been shooting equine-grade testosterone into his ass since his first junior year at Queens College.
But you know what? I have been in a bad mood for weeks. I don’t feel like being nice. I don’t feel like filtering what I tell him, and I don’t care how he reacts. So…
“What are you doing? You somehow assumed I was finished here?”
His response was a dead giveaway that he was more rude than stupid. “Oh, I didn’t see anything.”
I asked him how it was that he didn’t see any of my things piled up next to the cage. I even gave an open-palm wave of the hand, game-show style, so he knew what “things” of which I spoke.
He’d tried ignorance; now he’d try arrogance. At least, I think it was arrogance. It started with “Well, what the fuck…”
I cut him off mid-sentiment and said, “Listen, before you get your clit in a twist about it, just know that what you did was bullshit, and I should move you out myself.”
Wow. I don’t know how I assembled that one, but it sounded pretty fucking good. And it effectively adjusted his attitude, as I suddenly became his “bro” and was looking at his right paw offered for a handshake.
I stared at the hand for a few seconds. I don’t know why. Dramatic effect, maybe. “What’s your name?”
“Alright, Manny. Well… I’m Tommy.”
His handshake was weak. It was like he only wanted to shake with his fingers, like a woman from the Victorian era might offer her four gloved fingers to a gentleman suitor. And worse, there was something on his hand. It felt… buttery.
My hand slid off his, and I wiped it on my pants. I think it was hair gel.
I told him I was done, gave him the cage. When I peeked over at him a minute later, of course! – he was doing curls in the power rack. Dumbass.
Still in a bad mood.
* * *
I’ll have another post here tomorrow. It’ll be music-related and include a download for you. I don’t know if it’ll be a Pointcast, because I don’t know if I’ll have the time. Someone wrote and told me to bring back the Friday 10. That’s a good idea, but tomorrow’s thing will probably land somewhere in between, with a lot of music to hear and a lot of notes to read.
In the meantime, here's a song for now. "Horse Pills" by the Dandy Warhols, from the must-have Thirteen Tales From Urban Bohemia.