Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Thoughts from the Treadmill

She was 55 minutes into her 60 minute, hill climbing treadmill hour when she caught the scent of him. Walking with your eyes closed prevents you from being distracted by the numbers on the treadmill and also by those people around you. She’s noticed that as a rule most people working out, look straight ahead, at the TV’s on their treadmills, bikes and stair climbers. She just closes her eyes and lets the Goo Goo Dolls or Matchbox Twenty sing into her ears…but you can’t help smelling.

The fans from the gym brought the scent of his cologne her way. Immediately her eyes opened and she wondered where this really good smelling man was. He had to be close by. There was no one to her left, but as she looked to her right, she saw him. Young and very hot and very good smelling. He was in his mid-twenties, dark closely shaved hair, scruff on his face, tattoos from his wrist up his arm, until his large bicep disappeared into the sleeve of his black tee shirt. He was also wearing black horn rimmed glasses, camouflage shorts and an Ipod. He had that *dangerous* look about him. She finds herself mildly attracted to danger these days, but only in theory. She’s way too conservative in most ways for dangerous men to have any appeal for her… that is unless they smell really good.

It has been one entire year of gym going. She decided to go to the gym last August when she was waking up at 4:30 in the morning and just needed to go somewhere by 6:00. It might seem odd, deciding to join a gym while wearing an air cast on one leg from your toes to your knee, but she couldn’t think of anything better to do at the time. She learned how to use the scary weight equipment and did all that she could, that did not involve using her bad left Achilles tendon…the one with the tear in it.

The first gym she went to was a work in progress. It was not particularly clean or well maintained, but the other gym-goers were pretty interesting. Eventually the cast came off and she made her way to the treadmill. She always wore headphones in order to avoid having to talk to anyone who might be tempted to speak to her. Especially the “gym guys.”

In particular there where three gym guys that she watched. One she referred to as “Gumby.” He had a runner’s body and was tall and lean. She could tell he wanted to be a powerhouse weight lifter. He would strut into the gym, lift and pose…. and look around to see if anyone was watching him “lift and pose.” From way up on the treadmill, he had no idea she was watching. Up there, one could remain anonymous. As a rule, Gumby would meet up with two others. She did not really have any snappy creative names for the other two, although one she sort of referred to in her mind as “Small Italian Gym Guy” because he was short and dark and had a mustache. Her friend Terrance has a theory about men who have facial hair, but she has yet to hear what that theory is…she can only imagine what it might be. Her imagination is a dangerous place to go these days though, therefore that might be a better topic for another blog post.

The third member of the group was just “Regular Gym Guy,” which pretty much summed him up…just regular. They became “the trio” in her mind. She often thought while walking and sweating, that a paper on “Male Gym Behavior” might make an interesting research topic. So from atop her treadmill, she would watch the trio lift, pose, and spot each other…and glance around to see if there were any chicks watching them.

Small Italian Guy once did speak to her. She made the mistake of taking the headphones out of her ears prior to walking past him and out the door. He gave her the thumbs-up and said “Lookin’ pretty good.” She nodded thanks and practiced smiling. From that point on, whenever she went to the gym and saw him there, she was obligated to nod and smile. It even eventually became sort of normal. Now that she’s a freelance reporter, and much more confident in her socialization abilities, she thinks it might be interesting to go back and interview “the trio”. But of course she won’t. She’ll maybe save that for the research paper.

The new gym she belongs to is very clean, bright and high-tech. She is particularly fond of the “clean” part. She is not fond of the television screens on every treadmill though. It blocks her view of all the new gym guys she could be watching.

She’s walked a long way in the past year, both literally and figuratively. She still has a ways to go, but as long as there are nice smelling “gym guys” out there, the walking will continue to be fun.

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