October 18th, 2007

Morning report

Is it pathetic that one of the most interesting things I do in any given day is go to the gym? There’s just stuff there that I don’t experience at the various desks I inhabit the other 90% of the time. Moving vigorously for one. Also, the sorts of conversations people have there. It’s all chix (note:I go there because it’s nearest and cheapest–I have no major qualms about men seeing me sweat).

I like to watch personal training sessions while I’m working out. I figure I’m not going to pay $50 per hour for clever fitness tips, but I might learn something for free by eavesdropping. You might know that I live in an extremely ritzy neighbourhood–one of the wealthiest ridings in Canada, I read somewhere. I myself live in an average appartment-building on the main thoroughfare, for what I think is a fairly average rent. But go a block north or south, you are into million-dollar houses. It makes for a safe walk home late at night, and a lot of nearby gelato places I cannot afford to get too comfortable in.

So, for many people nearby the fee isn’t prohibitive. The PT clients in the predawn hours seem to divide into two main categories: well-groomed professionals taking “me time” away from family and career to achieve toned upper arms; heavyset middle-agers there on doctors’ orders to stave off heart disease. The trainers, on the other hand, are mainly extremely young, and of course extremely fit. Most are attractive, too, but in a way that suggests that the attractiveness is an accidental byproduct of the fitness, and not the other way around. Their first priority is to be able to scoop up their whole pilates class and carry them to safety, should the studio catch fire…perhaps I exaggerate.

Also, I gather from my eavesdropping that most of the trainers are part-time, either while they are students or as they pursue other less lucrative careers like dance. Thus, there is a conversational chasm that must be bridged to pass the time in an hourlong workout. They pass the weights back and forth and talk about the exercises, but that leaves lots of time left over to talk about real life. As with hairdressers and manicurists, there is a distinct difference between the lives lived by those on the service-provider and service-recipient sides of the equation. Age, class, cash, day-structure, you name it. Like hairdressers, though, the trainers seem more than versed in navigating these difficult conversational waters. They’ll talk on glibly at 6:07 while, say, a bobbed and extremely efficient looking executive type struggles and staggers under the barbel.

It was that pairing that I was listening to today, a tall alpine-looking trainer of twenty-five (she announced this in an earlier anecedote) and the aforementioned 45-ish exec. I’ll reproduce the story here as near as I can to verbatim–you don’t think that’s copyright infringement, do you?

“So I’m at the gym last night, not here, at my own gym, and I’ve got this hour-long run to do. So I’m on the treadmill, and you know how it is when you run, sometimes your intestines get jiggled and joggled around, right? [no sign of assent from the client, who is wobbling and breathing heavily] So I let out this little squeaker of a fart, right? Just small. And the guy next to me, he totally heard it and he gave me the *dirtiest* look. Like, he was just disgusted to hear that from a *girl.* It was totally hilarious, but the thing was none of my roommates were there to laugh with me, and it was so funny. SO funny. *He* didn’t think it was funny though.”

Our lady completed her set and grimly put down the weight. She didn’t think it was funny either. The trainer didn’t notice, and made her get down on the floor in plank position. I waited until I got to the cardio area to laugh.

I swear, that’s all that’s going on today.

Burn and fade so slow

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So Much Love by Rebecca Rosenblum

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