Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Characters at the YMCA

I used to go to what I'll describe as a "fancy" gym.  The women were decked out in head-to-toe Lululemon, had less body hair than I don't know what, I were pumped full of silicone.  They even did their makeup BEFORE their workout.  I never really felt like I fit in there but I enjoyed knowing I was like a thousand times fitter than those chicks.  That gym was expensive too.  We didn't really realize what we were spending until we did a cost analysis on our costs per visits.  It was insane.  That's when we terminated our membership and joined the YMCA for a lot less.

The Y had a whole host of different characters.  There's the trainer that has tanned so much she looks leather and her hair is so feathered and sprayed it doesn't move.  There's the old people who do more socializing than working out.  There's the meatheads who somehow are there in the middle of the day.  Don't you all have jobs?  And then there are the stay-at-home moms, like myself, who take their kids to Child Watch just so they can have an hour to themselves once a day.  But my favorite peopl I've met in the pool.

I go to the gym mid-morning which seems to be a busy time.  There must be a popular aerobics class for all the moms because Child Watch is usually full of kids.  The pool too is pretty busy during this time.  There's always one swim aerobics class going on, which involves more socializing and standing than actually working out.  And for me it's super weird because many of the now-retired school teachers I had in high school and parents of friends from high school attend that class.  There are usually about six lanes of lap swimming and they are usually all full.  The "real" swimmers during the daytime leave a lot to be desired.  Usually they're doing elementary backstroke or a version of breaststroke or just walking in the lane.  If I have to share a lane, I try to find someone who is actually swimming but those folks are usually hard to find.

But what is it that makes it seem I want my workout interrupted to have a conversation with a complete random person?  There's a gentleman who goes out of his way to awkwardly say hi to me every time I walk in.  There was the strange woman who said my workout was very "scientific."  (What the hell does that mean?)  Sometimes I'll have a person tell me I have a good stroke or swim really fast.  A few weeks ago I had a great conversation with a guy in the lane beside me.  Turns out he was a "pure runner" like myself who happened to dabble a little in triathlon.  He was a really good runner.  He had run Boston last year in 2:50.  Holy wow!   We talked for a long time.  I could talk running all day.  Plus my kid was in Child Watch.  Adult conversation!!!!

Then yesterday I had a very strange conversation.  I was about two-thirds of the way through my workout when I guy asked if I was almost done.  I said no but he could share my lane anyway.  I swear I did another 300+ yards before he actually got started doing one lap.  My last set of intervals had specific send-offs and I'm sure he had to have seen me looking at my watch and counting down to my next send-off.  Regardless, he still interrupted me to ask me what I was training for.  And then the conversation went way off on a tangent about sailing.  He is part of a local sailing club and invited me to come sailing with him sometime.  Um, pedophile much??  He told me his name and to ask for him.  He told me what to wear and what to expect.  And blah blah blah.  Um, sure random dude.  I'd love to come sailing with you.  Weirdo.

Next time I'm wearing a full head-to-toe burka and maybe then people will leave me alone.

Do you belong to a gym?
Do random people talk to you at the gym?
What's the weirdest conversation you've ever had at the gym?


Jeffrey Smith said...

Oh gawd. The Y. My favorite gym. I've almost always had a Y membership and it is BECAUSE of the characters that I'll pick the Y over 24HR Golds LA Meathead Gym anyday.

But I could write a novel about the crazy people I meet at the Y. There's always a guy preaching in the locker room. There's the special needs guy that has to slam all the open lockers shut. There's the guy that sits in one of the lanes and asks really bizarre questions of the life guard, like, "Which do you like better, Beer or Wine?" and if you answer one of the two, he'll respond with, "I don't like either, I like scotch best." or "Which do you like better, McDonalds or Taco Bell?" and his response will be, "I don't like either, I only eat at Denny's", etc.

But my favorite is Shirley. She's this lady in her 80's from Blackpool in England. Every time I see her she'll chat me up and talk about how she likes American men because English men are like dead fish in bed. And when she introduces herself [she seems to never remember that we've talked before], I'll say, "Hi Shirley, from Blackpool" and she'll get this beaming smile and blush a little bit. She's the best.

The Y rocks. It has character.

Carina said...

That sailing thing is funny! We used to go to the Y in Pittsburgh w/ my in-laws -- exactly the kind of old people you mention who mostly just socialize. I always thought it was so good for them. 20 or so minutes of walking slowly on the treadmill where there aren't any curbs or sidewalk lips to make then trip, and then the interaction with others. But they stopped going when they moved into their retirement community. I almost never go to the gym now -- about 6 times a year if the weather is really bad and I'm desperate for a treadmill? I haven't touched the weight machines in well over a year, but I use dumbbells most days at boot camp, which is outside.

middleagedrunner said...

This is great! I used to go the the most quirky gym which would either be dead quiet, or inexplicably full of kids and dogs running all around or people there for a step aerobics class which was 100% a throwback to the 80's. So funny...