Fats (3)

June 1, 2020


He is using the abdominal bench as a place to check his email. You’ve seen him before, usually on the treadmill watching TV. As always, he’s wearing a yellow Warriors tee shirt. His potbelly protrudes beneath it like a cantaloupe.

You circle the machine, like a pacing lion in the zoo. He is oblivious, tapping on his phone’s screen, slowly and deliberately, the way older people do. Thirty seconds go by. Longer. Soon your routine will be ruined. You want to tell him this is not the time or the place. There are numerous signs posted regarding the use of cell phones in the club. And now he is writing an email! You want to kick him in the gut. Instead, you head for the water fountain, to cool off, to count to ten.

You are crazy. But he is an asshole.

The beast has awakened. The comparative mind erupts. Walking to the water fountain, you see two older women casually riding side by side, chatting, as if they were at Starbucks. One is wearing a red leotard clearly meant for someone younger. Her thumping thighs look like bags of apples rolling around in the back of a truck. The other is donning gray sweats, probably borrowed from her husband. That is if she still had one. A man in a soaking wet tee shirt hovers over the water fountain, the sweat dripping from his nose. He is filling up a giant water bottle. Can he not see that you are directly behind him? Is everyone an asshole?

You are spiraling. Irritation becomes anger. You know you have tools to plug this geyser before it erupts. So use them. Pause. Count to ten. Ask Him or Her or It to remove you from the bondage of others and self.

It works.

You take a drink of water, splash some on your face, and return to the workout room. Now you smile at the women riding bikes. They are not a problem. Warriors guy is still on his phone. But he is not your enemy.

There is an empty machine next to him and you will demonstrate how to use it.

Fats (2)

May 28, 2020


At work, your business partner had taken issue with your daily visits to the Equinox, which was the gym by your office. You’d told him the truth, that it calmed you down and helped you think, that it made you a better creative. It was your lunch hour anyway, you’d said. He’d called bullshit on that and said you always went longer. Ignoring his warning, at noon the next day you marched right past his desk carrying your gym bag. Two months later you would exit the building carrying your belongings.

The gym does more than keep you fit. Working out nullifies the committee in your head, same as opiates and vodka once did. Albeit healthier, working out is still an addiction. It keeps you sane, same as going to meetings.

To be continued…