Thursday, March 18, 2010

Missed a Step
Usually I take my Ipod to the gym and program my own sound track to physical exertion. Hint: Mozart is really great for working out. Don't know why but his repetitious phrases and quick tempos seem to be work well with jogging and counting.

Today I forgot and left my Ipod at home. I was defenseless against the human drama that is the Encino fitness club. Suddenly I am aware of everyone around me. I think the same archetypes populate every gym. There is the cougar trying to chase away age with a stair master, the young guy beefing up for the audition, the old lady that can barely pedal the stationary bike, the steroid muscle head that is irritated anyone else is trying to use the free weights. And of course the loud mouth type A personality on his cell phone yelling at a business associate as he punishes the elliptical machine.

Today there was another character added to the cast of usuals. A lady in her 30's, blond with dark cat eye glasses, purple warm-up pants and a white top paced behind the treadmills like a tiger in a cage. The instant the time on the machine next to me read 20 minutes the cat lady was all over the person on that machine to give it up. There is a 20 minute limit on cardio equipment when people are waiting. The cat lady was exacting about that rule, and that is how she ended up on the machine next to me.

At first I thought the display on her treadmill had problems because she knocked on it three times before she began to walk. I say walk but it was actually a deliberate stomping march with swinging bent arm movement making her look almost mechanical. She repeated this movement for 10 seconds, knocked on the face of the machine three times, held on to the handle bar for 10 seconds, knocked on the machine three times again, then repeated the bent arm movement.

She then stopped the treadmill, exited off the back, turned three times to the left, paced behind, knocked three times on the crunch weights and headed back to the treadmill to begin the process all over again. By the third time I had memorized her routine. At first the regimen was an irritation, but at some point I began to anticipate the three knocks and count the seconds between. Her OCD had absolutely infected my own work out. Knock, knock, knock and I would start counting one, Mississippi, two, Mississippi, and at ten Mississippi there would be another three knocks. My own pace had begun to match the rhythm cat lady had established. It was actually serving the same purpose as Mozart.

I was on automatic really forgetting about anything but finishing my work out when I was counting, five Mississippi, and KNOCK, KNOCK, KNOCK. She knocked early. It threw me and I actually tripped, my hand grabbed for the handle bar but I grabbed the towel instead which slid off on the the track where I stepped on it and stumbled off the back.

Lesson learned? Keep my old ipod, the one that doesn't do video in my gym bag with the set of earphones I took from my last plane flight. Never, be without Mozart again at the gym.

At the end of my workout cat lady was knocking on the ab weights preparing to mount the tread mill again. The machines either side of her were empty.... I guess I was the last to know it is dangerous to work out next to cat lady.

As you were,

1 comment:

Roomie said...

If only we could have been there to see you stumble off the treadmill.....a picture worth more words than certainly I can write...glad you weren't injured....Mandy says that you are OCD for following EVERY movement of the CAT LADY...Oh, for your enjoyment, I nearly rowed myself right off the rowing machine today.....happy now?
Carry on,