Wednesday, April 23, 2008

after school special

generally i have a small threshold for annoyance at the gym most mornings. in fact it would be fair to say i am completely cynical as i make my rounds there. it's not that i'm mad at the world or generally unhappy. simply put, i'm tired and don't particularly like working out. i mean, who does? to me it's a necessary evil.

i'm probably not the only one who feels put out when people invade my personal space or, god forbid, ask if they can work their cycle into mine on a particular machine. i find that i'm especially chafed when someone asks this and i look around to see barely a soul in the entire place.

when you get back into a gym routine faces of people become familiar, as do their quirks. this means there are plenty of targets for projection and dirty looks...enough so that the guy whose body odor smells like spoiled milk can be the bane of your existence one morning and the lady with a bad perm and camel toe can play scapegoat the next. basically it's a crap shoot every morning, as you walk in not knowing exactly who will grate on your nerves, only knowing that someone will.

lately i've noticed a guy - normal, well groomed, generally inoffensive - marching around with a rather urgent gait and a seemingly genuine smile on his face. this would all be rather unremarkable except that his atmosphere merges with mine more than i would prefer. the worst is when he power walks to the pull-up bar, which faces the butterfly machine where i am stationed, and executes a set of gyrating pull-ups. since the brim of my cap is typically pulled low, i'm able to avert my eyes and find a happy place. still, it's odd and grounds for irritation, right?

last night i'm rocking cole in my arms on the front porch and watching the jackal wrestle baci on the lawn (thank god that kid gives the dog attention because i'm borderline dead beat dog owner lately). out of nowhere a voice says hello. i look up to see a priest - clerical collar and all - standing on the sidewalk clutching a rosary. i return the greeting and look closer, realizing that standing before us is none other than the gyrating pull-up guy from the gym...and he's a priest!

some pleasant conversation landed me with knowledge that he's a priest at the catholic church a couple blocks away. nice guy. he even weathered the spanish inquisition the jackal tends to lay on complete strangers these days with a smile.

as he walked away i devoured the plate of humble pie i deserved for misjudging the guy at the gym in the first place. i even brought leftovers for lunch today. yummy...

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