I really did not set out deliberately to wheedle a buff young hunk into the recesses of the women’s locker room. It was just that neither Barb nor I quite had the moxie to work the bolt cutter. Some man designed this thing, whose handles are ridged and finned such that however you grip or lever it, some eminence is crushing flesh against bone while you try to get the case-hardened blades to cut through the hasp of the lock that you brainlessly latched with all your keys, including the one to the padlock, inside the locker.

Barb has carpal tunnel (I know; I work on her) and wasn’t even going to try. The last thing I need is a bone bruise on my hand. After I got the blades to bite into the metal, but not more, she went and got Kev.

Every gym has a bolt cutter. One of the first things I was shown in my first gym job was a much nicer model with a ratchet engagement that was to be used if we found signs of repeat offenders leaving all their gear permanently locked up 24/7, hogging locker space as if they were still in school gym with an assigned niche. You close up for the night, you observe the same lock that was on the same locker last night and the night before, you get the tool and you snap through the hasp and leave a note that the gear can be picked up at the desk. So I knew what to do as soon as I realized where my keys were.

Kev, about 22 with obscenely clear skin and a Ken Doll physiognomy, strode back after we reassured him there were no other women around showering or anything and took a fly at it. I have to say it was nice to hear him grunt and get nowhere for a couple of passes. I felt less worried that I was losing my edge.

“Let’s both put our backs into it,” I suggest and grabbed the handles in parallel with him.

The metal slowly gave and finally snapped. It was like cutting through a fairly stale slab of Gjetost. (You don’t know from Gjetost? It’s a boiled caramelized goat cheese devoid of moisture. For my sins, I once worked in a cheese shop. It took one clerk on each handle of a two-handled cheese knife to penetrate a slab of the stuff. Now I want some. Damn.)

“Well, now you know you have a good lock,” said Kev as we high-fived.

Thirty years in iron gyms and I pick now to pull this stunt. Still, it makes a girl feel badassed for the rest of the day.


29 thoughts on “Bolted

    • I search for excuses to stay in the gym.

      Squat day today by the way. Back up to my normal weights after three years fucking with this messed up hip. Knees wrapped and covered in bright electric blue KT Tape, but crushed it, finally.


          I am not sure how I half-dislocated my hip in the first place, over three years back. By the time I realized my chiropractor hadn’t really put it back right I’d been walking around on it for months and the muscles had gotten yea out of whack. I walked the Engineer through the right reduction adjustment, which put the basic problem to rights, but then I got overly ambitious and tore all the muscles up, and one or another has been bitching at me ever since. I don’t bring things like this to doctors because all they know how to do is propose surgery or write a prescription for ineffective PT, so it’s been an interesting journey of creative intervention and different approaches to rehab. I met a very swift personal trainer at my gym who got my ass muscles firing again in the right sequence, Feldenkrais bodywork finally talked some of the muscles out of staying perma-seized and Yoga seems to be gradually freeing the capsular tissues. For most of the last three years I haven’t been able to lunge on that leg at all. I work around it and keep pushing it. Eventually things improve. Those squats yesterday felt incredible.

    • Periosteal bruise. If there is sufficient strike force or repetitive trauma against a part of your body where there is little flesh covering the bone — shin, sole of foot, hand, kneecap — you can actually pop capillaries in the periosteal membrane wrapping the bone and it hurts like a motherfucker plus it stays hurty for months. The capillarization and nerve supply there is just so dense. If you ever barked your shin and could still feel the tender bit weeks or months later, that’s what you did. I once clumsily bounced a ten pound plate off my medial malleolus (that’s an ankle to y’all) and I could feel it a year and a half later.

      • Soz, was trying to check if my comments to your post were working. It appears it was a problem with the app. Im gonna start doing squat again in the next couple of weeks. I was up to 110kg for my last two sets of 6 last time. Heavier than that starts to get scary for me. Unless I started eating like a beast, which I don’t like to do…..maybe some creatine next time…need to show these damn chicken legs who’s boss!

        • Well I’m impressed. I only ever get up there on a Smith and not in the last decade. Course I am a sixty year old lady, but I recoil from making excuses — I wanna at least get back up to bodyweight triples. Anyway… it’s not always the weight, it’s the form. Try heels to butt (wrap knees) for anything you can do at a 20 rep starter set. And pistol squats — just plant one foot, pick up the other leg behind you, hang onto a bar (Smith machine is good here again) and drop back down to parallel till your butt starts to burn. Don’t forget front squats — another one where you can go light and still set em on fire. Oh, and kettlebell lunge-presses — keeping balance when you punch that kettle up really talks to the ole quads. Srsly you can put a hurting on yourself with about the same weight you would use for a dumbbell wrist curl.

          • Yeah I think this is true. I can kinda feel that the higher reps when its really burning is what’s effective. For me anyway. Thanks for the ideas I will definitely use them. You know tho, I spent a long time doing dumbell lunges with a fairly heavy weight and it was not good on my knees ultimately. Though my quads still have a chunk of bulk on them from it a year later. But had very worrying shooting pains. So kinda scared of anything now where it’s all on one knee. But yeah, perhaps with lower weight as you say.

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