Monday, February 20, 2006

Return of the hornet

My training at the 'Y'--now in to its fourth month--has been going extremely well and I'm now up to almost 40 minutes of cardiovascular exercises. Most remarkably is that my stomach and waist is beginning to take on an embroynic washboardy abs sort of appearance--I really didn't believe that would happen. I am really pleased my hard work is paying dividends as I am visiting parts of continental Europe, Ireland and England in the Spring and wish to look my best to my friends over there. I figure the reason for this success is partly due to diet (a lot of fruit and less spuds, bread and ice-cream, although I had a major setback while attending a party over the weekend and ate about twenty, yes twenty, mini-cream puffs and eclairs), and partly due to two amazing machines, one for the stomach and the other for the waist. They're manufactured by a company called Strive and have five levels of difficulty, and I've been pushing myself to do all five levels.

This morning was cold but the sun was shining brightly and my workout started very promising, very promising that is until the hornet approached and spoke to me for the first time ever. (I've described her in a previous post and won't do so again--suffice to say she's late middle-aged, has brassy dyed hair and sports the demeanor of a New York Supreme Court justice I'd argued before a few times--in fact, they might be sisters.) When she presented, I was actually in a state of gym-induced euphoria:the surround music was high-energy and top notch, I was twenty-five minutes into my fat-burner program, sweat was 'rivering' off my face most satisfactorily, and I was absorbed in reading a screenplay Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. I happened to look up from the script and there she was, her spindly legs striding toward me in the signature black leotards. She was also sporting a tight pink sweater with matching leggings (think Jane Fonda's exercise video from the 80s) that had shiny butterfly thingies in sequins running up the front.

She and I gravitate toward one particular elliptical (it's the only one of its kind) if its free, though normally she arrives before me so I have to use another machine. I like the machine because it is nicely positioned in the gym and, because it's one of the first I tried since becoming a member, I really know its workings and enjoy the workout it gives. The hornet is not friendly--not even with other women, and I just can't picture her as cuddly with her grandkids if she has any--but for some reason she has decided she doesn't like me in particular. I don't know why excatly; maybe she doesn't like how I look, maybe she's read my novel and despises it, maybe she just needs to dislike somebody as motivation to do a good workout. She stopped in front of my machine, plucked off the clipboard containing the sheet where one signs up by penciling in one's initials, and ran a bejewelled finger over the names and time slots.

"I'll be off in about ten minutes and then I'll wipe it down for-," I said breathlessly.
"We have a problem," she said. "I came in here this morning and signed up for this machine and my time begins now. Have you erased my name?"
"I certainly have not."
"Why's my name not on here, then?"
I was so incensed, I stopped, flew off the machine, and grabbed the board from her. She seemed to anticipate some of my sweat flying off and sticking to her because her neck wrinkles began to lazily recede like a tortoise head retreating into its shell. Her torso leaned back simultaneously.
"It's plain to see there's no evidence of anything being erased on that sheet," I said. "You can see my initials have been lightly inserted and nothings been written underneath." I remounted the machine and began to peddle before I would get timed out and lose the 'calories burned' count if the machine incorrectly anticipated the session was through. "Perhaps you made a mistake."
She went to the next machine and, under my eyelids, I watched her eyes narrow as she scrutinized its attached clipboard.
"Here it is," she said. She thrust it in my face. "Here it is. See? Have the sheets been switched?" She attached this clipboard to my machine. "It's my turn."
Clearly, the implication was that I'd made the switch. "I did not switch any clipboards and I have nine more minutes plus a permitted cool down," I said.
"The rules state you're not allowed use of a machine for more than thirty minutes. Please dismount."
I let the fact she hogs machines for forty minutes or more per session slide. "On your broomstick," I muttered.
"What did you say?"
I ignored her and began to read.
"What did you say?"
"Nice leggings."
"That is not what you said."
Two women on nearby treadmills had removed their iPod earphones and were watching us now.
"Then why did you ask?" I said.
She stomped off, not prettily because her butt is very wide and twin tires protrude at her waist like those of the Michelin Man. I assumed she was seeking the aid of management, but instead she must have decided she was in the wrong and opted to work on her buttocks. I watched as she sat in the seat, placed her feet on the metal plate, and the pink, butterflied leggings extended and retracted as she pushed and released. She did three sets and moved to the chest machine, though not without a baleful glance in my direction followed by a pointed look at the 'official clock.' (There's three wall clocks, but only one has been designated 'official' for session use of the machines.)

Twenty seconds into my cool down, she approached and stood with her arms crossed in front of the machine. I gave up, stepped off the machine, sprayed some disinfectant onto the tissues, and cleaned the handles and machine dashboard.

"Enjoy your workout and have a nice day," I said.
No response, naturally.

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2 comments:

Dorothea said...

This is just way too funny.............. I'm still laughing

Kayo Kid said...

I've heard of gym wars, but this brings it to a whole new level. Does she really expect anyone take a pink hornet spouting the words "The rules state..." seriously? Thanks for the laugh!