When I got to the health club yesterday afternoon at 3:20, cars were already circling the lot as New Year's Resolution exercisers descended in their hordes. I gritted my teeth and braced myself for an hour in a miserably packed gym.
Miraculously, I found a parking spot the moment I got into the lot. Still, I was in a pissy mood after a stressy day at work wading through a project both tedious and complicated (sort of like learning German adjective endings, except this didn't take two years to get right).
"Fine, I got a parking spot, but all the damn machines will be taken," I groused to myself.
And so they were--except for my favorite elliptical machine, the one by the window, far away from the TV tuned to Fox News. (I guess I should have bought a lottery ticket yesterday, too.)
So, I hopped on the machine and did 40 minutes of good cardio. There was one fly in the ointment, however--I was stuck next to Big Red Baby, who seemed to have spent his holidays growing both bigger and redder. He passed much of his workout chatting on his cell phone in his strange piping voice that one might expect from a much smaller man (or an eighth grade girl).
On the upside, I was directly behind Mr. Buns of Steel 2008. (I know the year is young to be handing out such an award, but the title is his in a walk, believe me.) It's beyond my comprehension how anyone can do a solid half hour (or more) on a stair machine. Not that I'm complaining about his gluteal stamina, mind you, but stair machines are my idea of hell.
When I wasn't admiring the display in front of me, I entertained myself by watching a mother/daughter duo to his right. The mom was a bit on the chubby side, but she clearly knew her way around the cardio machines. Her daughter, a surly looking girl of sixteen or so, was borderline morbidly obese and clearly less than enthused about being at a health club. (One imagines the membership had been a Christmas gift of the unwelcome "Please take the hint" sort.)
The mom got briskly to work, climbing stairs to nowhere and encouraging her daughter to get moving. For five minutes, the girl struggled with the coordination required to operate the machine. (I grant you, steppers are a little trickier than one first expects, but still, she was pretty lame. She kept sinking to the ground with both feet flat on the floor.)
"My machine is broken!" she whined.
Her mother assured her that it was in proper working order. "Watch me, hon--it's easy!" [So not true--it completely sucks and it's a hell of a lot of work.]
Finally, the daughter got the hang of left-right-left-right, but within several minutes exhaustion set in and the whining returned with a vengeance.
"Aren't we done YET?? I can't stand this!"
I sympathized with her, even as I judged her for her foul temper.
A moment later she fell off the machine, and even Mom had to recognize that the workout was over.
I doubt I'll see them there together this afternoon.