04 March 2008

"Do you carry babies around?"

I was at the gym, on my first set on the chest extension machine. (I could have sworn it was a press, but I looked at the name and it said "chest extension.") It took me a minute to realize the older man on the oblique machine directly across from me was talking to me, as I was listening to my iPod and staring at a point on the wall about three feet above the dude's head.

Finally, I figured out what was going on, took out my ear buds and said, "Pardon?"

"How many reps do you do?"

On a good day? Its three sets of 10. But on that first set I could feel that probably wasn't happening today. We did a buttload of vinyasas in yoga yesterday and I spent a lot of time in chaturanga. The fronts of my shoulders were screaming already on that first set.

But, I went ahead and told him, "I do three sets of 10, usually."

"Are you serious? Do you know how much weight you have on there?" Um, yes, I do. I put the pin in the plate that says 87.5 all by myself!

"You're strong. Are you an athlete?"

I played sports in high school and even played intramural softball all through college. But in no sense of the word could I be considered an athlete today. So, I laughed and said, "Um, no."

"Do you carry babies around?" Hahahahahaha. WHAT? "Well, how did you get so strong?"

How do I respond to that? "Um ... lifting weights?"

I kept trying to put my ear buds back in, so I could finish the machine. But the guy had me cracking up and I couldn't concentrate or breathe and that fucking thing kicked my ass. He was just marveling at my lifting all 87.5 of those pounds. He said he could never do that! Well, sir, you are probably 25 or 30 years older than me. That might have something to do with it.

Finally, I finished and moved on to the hip abductor and adductor machines. That's when he popped by and asked, "¿Cuántos años tienes?" For you non-Spanish speakers (and this guy wasn't. He said "tieno."), he asked how old I was. And I replied "34" in Spanish, but what he said back to me was 13. Then he asked if I spoke Spanish and instead of saying, "Well, I speak it better than you do, apparently." I said, "Un poquito." Which is habit, because if a native speaker ever asks if you can speak Spanish and you just go ahead and say yes, you could be in trouble if you're not totally fluent. So, I always just say "a tiny bit."

Why he asked all that in Spanish is beyond me. He certainly is not a native speaker. And I've only been mistaken for Puerto Rican once, so I'm pretty sure he didn't think I was a native speaker. Maybe he was trying to be polite about it? 'Cause you certainly aren't supposed to ask a woman her age.

I thought I'd finally gotten away from him when I went to the lat pulldown machine. But of course, he'd used it before me and came by to see how much weight I had on it. And it was about 30 pounds more than he had. And then, he felt my bicep.

Aaaaaaaaah! I need an adult!

The bicep-feeling made the whole thing a little creepy, but mostly the guy cracked me up. And hey, it's a nice little bump in the self-esteem, regardless. I've seen this guy at the gym before; I think he's there when I am on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Does this mean I've got a new gym friend?

Oh dear Lord. I forgot the best part. He wears the same t-shirt whenever he is there. I think, anyway. Maybe I just notice it because of the shirt? It says, "Relax! God is in control." Will do, Churchy!


Muffy Willowbrook said...

He GRABBED your bicep? Jesus Kee-rist! Why didn't you deck him?

Not appropriate, Old Man. Back away.

Jess said...

It wasn't a grab, really. He just felt it quick. And I'm all like, "Dude, I'm not even flexing!"

I probably didn't deck him because I was just so fucking shocked that he did it.

Anonymous said...

Yes. In order to be strong, you must carry babies around.

That makes a lot of sense.



Anonymous said...

You always have the strangest gym stories..

Jess said...

It's 'cause Bally lets in all the freaks.