A Demerit

Bigfoot put out the spiffy, printed-in-the-gym-colors sign that said “Male (gasp!) working in women’s locker room”, and pulled the commercial barrier across the entry.

(Yes. The goddam gym has colors now and everything is printed, painted and caparisoned in them — black, shrieking yellow and tropical purple. It looks like a Howard Johnson’s on crack. I miss the days when they covered about half the benches with some leftover got-it-on-sale raspberry Naugahyde, left the rest dingy red, and painted the wall with an indifferent whitewash.)

I ducked in and followed him; I needed to get my bag and leave. Some days I wonder glumly when I will do this for the last time, depending on how much of the serious equipment they spirit away because the corporation they franchised with abhors anything “intimidating,” like the sight of a person actually lifting. It is a sad decline for a place that used to draw Godzilla clones from all over the metropolitan area.

“What are you measuring?” I asked Bigfoot, who was setting up a laser calibrator under the hand dryer.

“We’re putting in new sinks, with no-hands faucet and soap dispensers,” he said through the grizzled mat of his mountain-man beard. “Nothin’s too good for you guys. You know that.”

“In that case can I have my seated calf press back?” I said. The temperature plummeted to zero Kelvin in an instant. I tried batting my eyelashes. I never had the knack.

“I think I just got a demerit,” I told one of my homies on the way out, and explained.

That’s the problem: I got homeboys here. I will hang on till they come for the squat rack, at which time I will handcuff myself to it. Film at eleven.

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7 thoughts on “A Demerit

  1. You got my attention in the first line with “gym colors!” Why, oh why must they do things like that? Love the word caparisoned.

    Do you think there is a nexus between the mentality that removes real exercise machines from a gym and that which installs no-hands taps (which never work by the way). I can imagine some lactator complaining to management that having to touch the faucets is a way of transmitting germs.

    • I debated between caparison and livery.

      In my turn, I love “lactator.” Perfectly describes the Aerobic Mommies that have been infesting the place since it was “populized.”

  2. Fucking can’t stand no-hands tapas, or movement-sensitive light switches. They never work like they’re supposed to (picture me MOVING around like someone having a seizure trying to get these things to recognise me!).

    I am really happy with recent renovations at my gym. Everything is being done out in tasteful greys and deep reds, thought is being put into how the machines are organised, and – so far! – they’re not raising prices. Though personally I think they could save money on the walls of flat-screen tvs showing an odd mix of sports, news and cooking programmes.

    • You did realize that you typed “no-hands tapas”? I’m going to smile all day over that.

      Gym TVs are a thing that really drives me ape-shit — even as I admit it’s the only place I ever am likely to see news video, since I haven’t got the patience to sit through it on the Net and don’t own a television. Why is it imagined that people won’t exercise unless they can simultaneously watch infomercials and Mass For The Shut-In? Seriously. Or horrible soap operas in Spanish — I have no idea who watches those since the Spanish speaking members are mostly pretty serious male lifters. Please tell me they aren’t into novelas.

      • Hahahahaaahaaha…. that’s hilarious. Am trying to imagine what no-hands tapas might be and of course that should have been no-hands taps. Ha. 😀

        The only thing I can’t do at the gym without being entertained/distracted is ride the damn bike. So I play scrabble on my iPhone.

  3. Ah. And to the complaints about TVs, plumbing, and color schemes, let me add one more: Back in the day, our ancestors (only maybe two generations ago) didn’t need gyms. Because they did physical work all day.

    • I bow to none in my vexation that most ways of making a living in the 21st century involve a form of body abuse that no one could have ever predicted: to wit, being forced into an unnatural immobility which produces degenerative disease in the average forty-year-old.

      That said, I do a physical job roughly five hours a day. And the repetitive motion involved actually intensifies my requirement for a place where I can chuck weights around — a disport that is simultaneously soul-satisfying, competitive, and rehabilitative.

      One of the things I’m *pissed* about is that these twee interior decorators actually are standing in the way of people solving their body problems. My homie Sister Age needs to deadlift in order to stabilize the spondylolesthesis in her middle lumbars (look it up: she cracked two vertebral laminae in a fall years ago: only the muscles and ligaments are holding those vertebrae in line). Try to tell her deadlifting is an “abusive exercise” when she feels pain creeping upon her in its absence. She fled to Gold’s.

      One day, OSHA will designate sedentary jobs as high risk.

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