an induction (of sorts) to my life
I have this queer ability to draw the oddest people to me, witness inexplicable events, and make observations of a cynical but entertaining nature. By this I mean that I am fascinated by people and judge them harshly, but also happen to have ridiculous experiences (e.g. having a shuffling, cataract-ridden old man grab me on the streets of Paris, ask me to make a several hundred euro withdrawal for him – sharing his PIN and card as if he could smell the honesty on my skin). I also suffer from an amazingly short memory about events and people. This is my effort to try to chronicle the people I see that make me laugh, and make me love the world for all its idiosyncrasies. A sad lot of the hilarity brought into my life happens at the gym, as that’s one of my favorite spots and (I think) it’s where a lot of people are at their most raw, most unfiltered.
I think one of my favorite people these days is a short, ball-like woman who frequents my gym. I see her nearly every day. She is, almost without fail, decked out in a navy and white collared polyester shirt and a pair of faded long shorts. Dark socks and squeaky white sneakers complete her gym wear. I’ve never seen her sweat, but I’ve also never seen her do anything strenuous enough to merit it.
Frankly, many people wear odd things to the gym. Zip up bath robes, jeans with unitards, the list is endless. So it’s not her attire that really blows my mind, but her seemingly favorite exercise. There is a lower back machine seen here that I love, and she seems to adore. Most people, myself included, put on a substantial amount of weight and push back hard on the padded bar, then slowly return to the starting position; it’s a great way to strengthen one’s core muscles, by the way. She rarely uses much weight – maybe 10 or 20 pounds. She leans back against the pad, feet stuck out, and begins to make wild circles over her torso, hovering her hands just an inch or two from her belly. She closes her eyes tightly and seems to believe in some unknown magic, as if she may one day succeed in wishing away that round tummy. I almost wish I had her faith, you know?