Monday, December 3, 2012

The Five Old Guys You Meet At The Y

Oh, The Pain
In April, as a present to my swim-happy eldest, I switched over the family's gym member ship to my local YMCA. And in January, as a present to my anal-retentive and sado-masochistic nature, I started the most ambitious physical fitness regimen of my life, which mostly revolves around building up to 80 miles a month on the treadmill, with a side goal of speeding up my run rate to 6 miles per hour. (I am not fast. Or, well, a runner. But so be it.)

This has meant that I now get to spend an awful lot of time in the only gym that gets Lots And Lots Of Old Dudes. They come for the relatively low rates, classes, pool and hot tub. They stay, because, well, it's their place. And if you are near them long enough, you realize it's just the same five guys, over and over again...

5) Fending Off Death (FOD).
Eyes on the floor, pale skin even if he's not Caucasian, and you can just feel the hate radiating off him as he toils away at some low speed machine in his devil's bargain of Misery for Health. FOD doesn't say anything to anyone, is not having a good day, and has a personal force field that repels small children and conversation. In the locker room, he's the guy who looks like he might die from ennui for the five minutes it takes him to put on clothes, and if you get him at the poker table or golf course, he will take your money in the same way that he's been taking the money of fools like you, for decades. Needless to say, FOD is my role model, and will eventually be yours.

4) Way Too Friendly (WTF). Need a guy who seems way too invested in the weather, the best way to store bananas, how people who do not share his skin color store potatoes, what's wrong with America and how some other guy who was just in the locker room is a sonuva bitch for not chewing the fat with him? Step up into the uncomfortably long and painful world of WTF Guy, who is, I am utterly certain, half a beer or any kind of encouragement away from saying something wildly racist. Good times!

3) Personally Challenged (PC). I bring an iPod and headphones, and there are monitors. It's a big gym. Which means that the guy with extra chromosomes, a gruesome injury or some other form of short circuit, who of couse has done nothing to merit or deserve my ire or attention... will acquire my ire or attention. Perhaps by singing, or by failing to complete a walking motion on the treadmill, and making me wonder if I'm going to have to perform an assist. It's simultaneously depressing, distracting and maddening, and then it makes you feel shame at your lack of patience and understanding, then anger that you have to show patience and understanding, then double shame...

2) Zen Geezer (ZG). Doing some sort of yoga that only old guys can do -- in that it looks like he's, well, just sitting there, but still seems to be sweating or in pain -- ZG has the peculiar magic of always being in your way when you try to re-rack weights or get on a machine. He's also got some exceptional funk to him, is wearing some kind of outfit that might be workout clothes from another era or just might be what he woke up in this morning, and will make eye contact with you in ways that make you wonder if he wants to throw down, or is legally blind. Never a dull moment with ZG!

And the finale, and the magic of the Y is that any of these guys can turn into...

1) Shockingly Naked Guy (SNG), the habitue of the locker room, the reason why children don't want to take a shower, and the inspiration for the molester character from "Family Guy". SNG is in the shower for a disturbingly long amount of time, will rummage in his nethers like he's cleaning them for the first time in a decade or looking for change (and to be fair, maybe he is), and seems to think that towels are for hippies and Frenchmen. The vibe here is all kinds of wrong, and your only recompense is to NEVER LOOK AT HIM OR MAKE EYE CONTACT, or any other kind of contact, really. Despite the fact that your basic monkey need to look at him is almost impossible to resist, like a Medusa but real, terrifying real, real, real...

Feel free to add yours in the comments. Or just cry. That will work too.

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