My new year’s resolution to get fit has been in the pipeline for a very long time. It is now May. When you start to feel out of breath running for the bus you know that its time to join a gym. I’ve signed up to LA Fitness on a Groupon deal, ten sessions, its a start. I decided not to drive there but bus to the gym and use the time to read too, multi tasking. I was feeling pretty virtuous. So what’s the problem? Well I’m a bit of a yoga, tai chi, type of girl, who finds all those sweaty bodies working out, pumping adrenaline alarming.
My first visit was a bit of a disaster. I managed to get lost when I got off the bus, (how is this even possible?) My excuse is I walked through a building site, trying to find a short cut. I ended up asking one of the builders if he knew the way! He responded in a Geordie accent, “Sorry love, I’m not from here.” He went out of his way to help me and managed to point me in the right direction. At reception I asked for a towel and the young man behind the counter looked at me as if I had a screw loose. LA Fitness don’t supply towels. I should have known, I used to be a member in the past. Yes, my memory is on the decline too. All wasn’t lost, I remembered a padlock, and my gym kit too. I could shower at home. So not too bad after all. I did a work out, or what I consider to be a work out, it was a bit faint hearted I suppose. I walked over to the water fountain and tripped! I didn’t break anything. It wasn’t the tripping that was mortifying it was my own sense of embarrassment. How would the super fit, super cool gym users react? Well, they hardly batted an eye lid, their eyes were still trained to the overhead tv monitors, absorbed in work out mode. So I was ok. After this catalogue of ridiculousness I thought that nothing else could happen. Wrong. I couldn’t work the drink’s machine after my workout, not rocket science, but somehow it was beyond me. Just to complete my day, I had an irritating bus driver on the way back that told me off for having the wrong ticket. “Your ticket is only valid from the town,” he said pompously. I explained to him that I had bought the ticket from the driver and asked for a return to the station, so it wasn’t my fault if the driver hadn’t printed out the right ticket. He waved me on.
I do seem to attract unwelcome attention sometimes. Echoes of a previous gym visit cross my mind. I had a visitor’s pass. I was looking forward to a pleasant swim, sauna, and steam room. What I experienced in its place was unpleasant to say the least. I was in the swimming pool trying to see my way, squinting, (I am very short sighted), when this older lady harangued me for getting in her way. This couldn’t have been more ridiculous. We were the only two swimmers. I am a slow swimmer, I barely break the surface of the water, let alone cause a tidal wave of swimmer’s distress! She must have been having a bad day. Or she had sharing issues. It was a shame really because her bad day became my bad day. I wondered if she quite possibly had a screw loose. An unfortunate side effect of being a writer is you always imagine all sorts of scenarios. So just to be on the safe side I stayed well away from her. I was glad to make out her hazy form leaving the pool. Liberation. Thank goodness.
Nothing like this ever happens to me when I am going to tai chi or yoga! Is it a sign? Or am I just being paranoid. Similar things happen to me in other places, even library visits can be frightening! Whatever you do don’t park your car down a narrow road near a library especially if the library is near a primary school. You are asking for trouble. Even if your car is parked legally, and it’s not blocking anyone, it doesn’t matter. You are in the no go zone believe me. Unless you want an angry person to shout at you and follow you all the way to the library. I’m not kidding this has really happened to me. Again my writer’s imagination was in overdrive. Is he going to kill me? By the time I walked into the library I was trembling with fear. I stayed there a long time, fearful that he would still be there waiting for me, plotting ways to murder me. Luckily he had vanished. I made my escape.
The trouble with living near libraries and schools, residents get easily riled. I know my mum and dad live near a school, and they do get annoyed by inconsiderate drivers. My dad still remembers open fields, grass, and trees. Now the neighbourhood is full of cars, and woman stopping for a chat after they drop their kids off at school, cluttering up the sidewalk. So I sympathise. But in my defence I wasn’t inconsiderate, I think I just met someone who was having a bad day. Anyone his day became my bad day too.
I’ve been to the gym several times now. I have to say that there are some definite positives. The sauna and steam room are a wonderful source of inspiration. It is amazing what people will talk about when they are half naked and dripping with sweat. It is a confession zone. A place to literally let off steam! There is no way that you can’t eavesdrop. The tiny space, is made for eavesdroppers!
After my last session at the gym something happened that made my day. The gym session had all gone well. I was on my way back to the bus, so I stopped in a supermarket to pick up a few groceries. Just as I was about to pay, the guy at the till asked me if I was a student. I said no. He didn’t seem to believe me, he asked again, “You not at Anglia Ruskin University?” He obviously gets a lot of students in his shop. It was almost as if he wanted to believe I was a student at Anglia Ruskin. Me too. Perpetual student, sounds good. Then to my astonishment he said “Are you at Sixth Form!” Can you imagine, whether or not he was delusional or taking the micky it made my day. I said, “I wish!”
Photo courtesy of Google Images.