I started going back to the gym as it is finally starting to feel like summertime here, and if I am going to be outside sweating in the hot summer sun, I surely am going to be doing it with a margarita in my hand.
Stinky Old Man has been noticeably absent. I have only seen him two or three times in as many weeks. We shoot our dirty looks to one another then I avoid any machine he is on. He has been changing up his routine and it seems like any time I try to dodge him by hitting the treadmill, he gets on one. If I see him on the treadmill, I hit the elliptical and next thing I know- my nose hairs are burning, my gag reflex is kicking in and I am quickly hightailing it to a different machine.
Fortunately for me, there are a few characters who now make the gym well worth the visit, Stinky Old Man be damned. They are so delighfully random, it makes anything Hell Machine can throw at me well worth it. I have yet to come up with a good nickname for the first gentleman and I am open to suggestions. I was pumping away on a rowing machine one day and an older man, I would say early 60s comes strolling by. I didn't give him much
notice, until he got on the machine directly in front of me and I got a look at his gym wear. His clothes were so wonderfully random and tacky that I fell in love on the spot. For bottoms, he was sporting a pair of ratty plaid pajama pants. Footwear was a pair of plain white Keds. The kind that I wore in 2nd grade and went to Flyerette camp. He has a shock of white hair on his head that is kept in such a state of disarray that Einstein himself would envy the coif. However, the kicker was the shirt that he wore. In the mid-90s,there was a tragic fad in t-shirts that involved 3 cats on the front in sassy accessories, and the 3 cats' butts on the back.
You know the one. Typically sold at your neighborhood K-mart or Wal-
mart, seen on women typically over age 50 at the local craft shows and county fairs. That shirt. And this awesome man was wearing one, with pj pants, crazy hair and white Keds. If fabulous had a picture, this guy is it. If it wasn't 10 in the morning I would've offered to buy him a beer, just to hear the random stories that were sure to come from his mouth. But alas, even I have my limits of not drinking until after the noon hour. Unless we are talking about sporting events, then it is game on. However, I haven't seen this gentleman in a few weeks and I fear he may have been arrested by the fashion police. If he doesn't show up by Friday then I will be holding a candlelight vigil throughout the weekend.
My next favorite character is a gentleman I call both Tactical Salesman and Cubicle Army Ranger. If I had to take a stab, I'd say he is in his mid 50s. Every day around 11, his lunch break I assume, he comes strolling in and goes straight to the weight machines. Only he stays in his business casual attire. He gets on the machines and starts pumping away in his colorful Izod polo and snappy Haggar slacks. If that wasn't strange enough, he wears a virtual combat belt of gadgets and gizmos on his waist. Hanging off his belt and waist, he has 1. A cell phone in it's clip, 2. A blackberry 3. An iPod 4. His keys. That's a whole lot of crap to have clipped to your waist. What does he do if he has business to attend to in the men's room? I get such a great smile watching him work out in his work clothes, rocking more junk on his belt than I carry in my purse. I am tempted to slip him some advertisements for some man bags, but I believe his accessories are a reflection on his personality. When he's doing biceps curls, he letting the rest of us wearing our Yoga pants and wife's pajamas that he's much too busy signing up people for 3-free months of HBO with their digital cable package to be bothered with changing or removing his gadgets. He is motivation for me to keep going to the gym just to see what other random stuff starts appearing on his belt.
Finally, is my third and final new character, who has the potential to quickly become an archnemesis, following Stinky Old Man, of course. Before I explain, if you have never seen the viral video, "My New Haircut," go to Youtube and watch it now. While there, I also recommend the Asian edition. Don't be surprised if you are over 40 and don't understand why "My New Haircut" is so fabulously funny. Anyway, there was a young guy lifting weights who was STRAIGHT out of the "My New Haircut" video. He had the crazy, gelled spiky hair, wore arm bands on his forearm, and a look on his face of general douchebaggery. While I was lifting, I overheard this man grunting and moaning away as he lifted on all the machines. It was obnoxious and distracting and pissing me off. I started shooting death looks to him while he grunted away, then I noticed something interesting. And quite hilarious. After this guy got off each machine, he pulled the pin on it and moved it 40-60 pounds down, thus making it appear he was lifting more than he really was to the next person to get on the machine.
Hee-larious! I could barely contain my laughter. Who does stuff like that?? Who really cares how much you can lift? So, while doing my leg presses, I let out a hearty guffaw when I saw My New Haircut pull it on the tricep curl and add 30 pounds then walk away. He heard me laugh, shot me a dirty look, and came and stood right by the machine I was on, impatiently tapping his foot to get on the leg press. I did not fall victim to his intimidation tactic, not allowing myself to be bothered by his spiked hair and water bottle filled with a protein powder. I finished my set, got off, smiled a bitchy smile and stood by to watch him. He got on the machine, looked at how much I was putting up, and rolled his eyes like it was feathers. Then he tried to push. And couldn't. Because all the grunting, protein powder, arm bands and pin-pulling doesn't change the fact that he can't put up 350 on a leg press.
I was in my glory as he pulled the pin and had to move it up. He was clearly disgusted that this fat girl who did not grunt, wore her hair in sloppy pigtails and drank un-proteinated water smoked him on presses.
So I now have so many great reasons to go to the gym because of these glorious characters. There's nothing like seeing a man in his wife's pajamas, or knowing if I need to make an emergency call that Tactical Man is on hand. But the best reason is to go is to continue to get laughs at My New Haircut guy.
Schooling him will never get old.