“So, I have a question for you. When we’re getting ready in the morning, do you wonder…” I began.
“Oh, my god. If we’re thinking the same thing…”
“Do you wonder what other people do for a living? Do you watch them get ready and wonder what job they’re heading off to?”
“Actually, I do. But what I thought you were going to say is ‘what names do they have for us’?”
See, we have nicknames for a lot of people at the gym. There’s “Nice Lady.” She’s the one who shares the one single electrical outlet in the women’s locker room, always with a smile. She practices good locker room etiquette, making just enough small talk, but not too much, and never when we’re naked.
There’s “Miss 24-Hour Fitness.” She’s the one who is hard core workout queen and who knows everyone at the gym, spending as much time socializing as working out. She makes her rounds, chatting with just about everyone, both in English and Spanish, the young hipsters and the more mature morning senior crowd.
There’s “Crazy Gym Lady.” She’s friends with “Miss 24-Hour Fitness” and truly is crazy. She gets on the treadmill, increases the incline to maximum, runs hard for three minutes, then whoops and screams, “Oh, yeah! I did it! Look at me!” as she tugs on the waistband of her cut-off, rolled sweats to prevent her lacy thong from peeping out, then prances to another machine.
There’s “The Grunter.” He’s the one who neither one of us can workout nearby; he grunts and screams and just makes us laugh. He can’t seem to stand still; he’s always bouncing from one foot to the other, rubbing his hands together, saying, “Oh, yeah! Oh, yeah! That’s it, baby! Harder! Give it to me!” While pumping iron.
There’s “Stinky Woman,” the one who never showers after an intense workout. She spends enough time lathering herself with smelly body products that she could shower. But she never does. We wonder if her co-workers notice.
We have names for just about everyone.
“So what do you think they would call us, if they did call us?” I asked.
“Well, I think you would be ‘Tall Gym Girl’.”
“Tall Gym Girl?” I inquired. “Why? I’m only 5’8″.”
“But you carry yourself much taller. You’re now known as ‘Tall Gym Girl.'” I shrugged my shoulders. Okay. I guess there are much worse things I could be known as.
“How about you?”
“I think I’m known as ‘Mean Gym Girl.’ I never speak to anyone. I never make eye contact. I’m ‘Mean Gym Girl.'”
“But you’re not mean. You’re friendly to people you know.”
“But if I’m ‘Mean Gym Girl’ then I don’t have to talk to all the crazy people we have names for. See, you make the mistake of making eye contact. I, on the other hand, have a peaceful workout.”
She’s got a point…