(2015 EDIT - STOCK PHOTO, NO SENIORS WERE SHAMED IN THE MAKING OF THIS ENTRY)
I just joined a gym for the first time in more than three years.
Sure, I belonged the East Bank Club in the city, but I can’t count it as gym because I only joined for the sundeck and rooftop pool. Also, I never once “exercised” there, but a couple of times I had so many Mai Tais that Fletch had to drive me home. (Two pudgy thumbs up for a gym with a bar!)
And really, the truth is that the EBC cardio room was such a meet/meat market – I didn’t want to be there sweating out donuts in a meatball stained workout shirt next to Bulls cheerleaders and Gold Coast trophy wives. Even though I generally feel pretty good about myself, I tend to avoid situations where I’m uncomfortable. (Related note: I have a photo somewhere when I was on Joy Behar's show and I’m posing with Daisy Fuentes and Miss Universe. IRL? They truly are two of the most beautiful women I've ever seen. Fuentes is radiant, and I don't use that term lightly. Even having had my hair and makeup professionally done, I was like an entirely different species from those two gals.)
Anyway, my point is I joined a gym and I can’t stop congratulating myself.
Not only did I join the gym, but I’ve been a member for less than 24 hours and I’ve already worked out more there than I did in my entire two year East Bank tenure.
I’m a hero; where’s my medal?
For a brief while, Fletch belonged to my new gym, but he didn’t renew his membership because the place bums him out. It’s not that the gym isn’t convenient (it is) or well appointed (it’s gorgeous) or over-crowded (not even a little) or lacking amenities (there’s a spa!)
The problem is that the gym is on the same campus as the hospital and a senior center.
So let me put it like this – I joined an old-people gym.
I kind of figured Fletch was exaggerating, as he is wont to do. Yet before I even got to the locker room, no less than three seniors cruised past me with those zippy wheeled walkers. That’s three more walkers than I’ve ever seen in a gym in my entire lifetime. [JEN'S 2015 EDIT - OH, THE FREAKING IRONY OF NOW BEING ONE OF THE PEOPLE AT THE GYM ON A FLIPPING KNEE SCOOTER.]
Anyway, to begin my path back to fitness, I hopped on an elliptical machine with a built-in television. (Maybe this has become standard in all gyms in the past three years, but I’m still impressed.) After about two minutes, I realized there was a problem with my iPod, so I had to go back to my locker to swap it out for my phone so I could listen to music, too.
In those two minutes, a very large, very old, very naked woman had stationed not only herself but also her walker in front of my locker.
In the process of the both of us trying to move her walker, towels were lost.
Things were seen.
Things were seen that cannot be unseen.
I have no business body-snarking here. I can’t speak to anyone’s circumstances, and good on her for getting to the gym. Instead, let me offer up this piece of advice – when a younger, entirely ambulatory, fully dressed patron offers to move your walker for you, please take her up on the offer. [JEN'S 2015 EDIT - SHE'S PROBABLY ONE OF MY FRIENDS NOW.]
After The Unpleasantness, I did twenty minutes on the elliptical – without dying, I feel that should be noted – and I moved to the exercise bikes. Shortly after I started pedaling, a couple of seniors stationed themselves on bikes on either side of me, trailed by a staffer with a clipboard. The gentleman was clad in an old-guy plaid shirt, suspenders, khakis, and Rockports, while his wife chose to do her workout in a cashmere sweater, a turtleneck, slacks, and a pair of sensible heels.
I swear I’m not making this up.
After I got home, I began to peruse my membership materials and saw that in addition to all the regular classes, they also offer ballet classes for those with arthritis and have a warm pool for those who don’t care to do water aerobics in cold water.