A Suite In Three Movements
I know it is just the lingering snowpack that makes so many things into occasions of teeth-grinding annoyance. I am attempting to imagine them as passing notes in the cosmic music.
1. The Dreeper
(minimalist repetitive melody for bass stringed instruments)
A fellow therapist and sometime member of the gym, who is blonde, became the object of his creaking self-introduction not long before an appointment with me. “I know the guy, he’s sort of always there dreeping around the place,” I said when she described him. “Dreep?” she asked. “Yeah, somewhere between a drip and a creep.”
He is well past retirement age but seems to have labored to maintain a bizarre yellowish tinge in his graying hair. He moves with a halting stiffness that ought to induce compassion in a bodyworker, but I will never forget his saying to my friend Sister Age that “in my tax bracket, I have to vote for McCain,” as if that were the only thing that mattered. I have never seen him really lift much of anything, although he is as much a fixture in the gym as the half-dead dracaena by the entryway, and somewhat resembles it. He just stretches.
He stretches his hamstrings.
He stretches them, invariably, on unique pieces of equipment intended for heavy sets, like the hack sled, the squat rack, and (while we had one) the deadlift platform. It never fails. When I want to huck something up around bodyweight, I can just about count on finding the Dreeper in a meditative trance with one foot up on some projection of the necessary weight station.
He never seems to get any more flexible.
2. Desperate Housewives
(Scherzo for percussion instruments)
I know I should not let Workout Idiots capture my attention, but sometimes they are a bit like the portrait of Cosmo Kramer which has entered even into the vocabulary of television-free folk like myself: “He is a loathsome, offensive brute –yet I can’t look away.”
She had a squashy baby-factory midsection and a muddy complexion that screamed microwave meals. Maybe forty-something? I can’t tell any more. Sensible short mommy hair. She was throwing herself ballistically, arms extended, through a set on the glute-ham bench, which is an apparatus that begs for control and discretion. It was a rotated rib or slipped disc waiting to happen. It takes Nietschzean willpower for me to turn my head at moments like this; think of watching someone deliberately run barefoot across a floor with nails sticking out of it.
But I have learned. The last time I saw a squashy splodgy female thingummy throwing herself this way and that in some sort of vague relation to a piece of workout equipment, I approached her in a restrained and helpful way and got my head bitten off. “This is how I do it!” she snapped at me. “It’s all about what you feel comfortable with!”
I saw her again ten years later in another gym and she was still just as squashy and splodgy. I gave her a wide berth.
3. Trouser Tribbles
(for boys’ choir and Russian basses)
I recently have become deeply enamored of the Duluth Trading Company, which sells clothes and gear for people in the building trades. I love a good gadget and a durable garment and they offer both. Alas, now that I have ordered from them, some sort of cookie feedback causes every ad-supported site I visit to channel the animated ad for their signature “Ballroom Jeans,” a product I personally do not need.
I believe I will go clear my cookies now. If that’s the expression we want.