Considering my recent gripiness – I thought it might do me good to acknowledge some of the good stuff now and then. Even if it’s just one thing. So here’s today’s one thing.
There’s this guy at the gym. Your first impression is that he’s kind of annoying. My gym buddy, Erin and I have been seeing him for years, as long as we’ve been meeting there at 5:00 am to use the treadmills.
The 5:00 am crowd isn’t much of a crowd, which is why we like going at that hour of the day. There’s no question we’ll find a couple of open treadmills. And it’s relatively quiet. Obviously, those who make a habit of frequenting the gym before sunrise are morning people.
The guy? He’s a little too much of a morning person. When Erin and I do our cardio, we’re stationed in the upper level of the gym, where we can look down below and see those who are doing weight training. The guy can usually be found down there. From our position, we can see – and hear him as he moves among the free weights and machines. He’s got a circle of acquaintances with whom he interacts. We can often hear him yelling at one or more of them. I guess he sees himself as a sort of motivator.
He’s always yelling to one person or another to do more reps or add more weight. His target will usually toss him an embarrassed smile and just keep doing what they’re doing.
“He acts like he owns the joint,” we’ve said to one another on more than one occasion, usually accompanied by a rolling of the eyes.
I call him “The Sheriff.” I call him that because I heard him refer to himself that way one day. There’s a woman at the gym who, quite honestly, you can’t tell she’s a woman from behind. She’s got muscles everywhere! The guy yelled something to her one day and she yelled right back, “Shut up!”
I thought maybe she was going to beat him up. He’s built like an inverted triangle, but he’s pretty short. My money was on her.
“Hey,” he said, shooting her a friendly glare. “I’m the sheriff around here.” They parted ways peacefully.
I just sighed and rolled my eyes. Show-offs.
Not long ago, after years of doing only cardio, Erin said to me, “What would you think of doing just a half hour of cardio next time and then going down below and figuring out some of those weight machines?”
“Yeah!” I said. We were due for a change in routine. So lately, on Tuesdays after we’re done with cardio, we go downstairs and work on arms. On Thursdays, we work our legs.
Yesterday I arrived at the gym a few minutes ahead of Erin. Usually she’s there first. Our role reversal didn’t escape the Sheriff’s attention. As I started my treadmill, I saw Erin climbing the stairs and then I heard a familiar voice from the free weight area directly below. I couldn’t see him, but I could hear him loud and clear.
I caught a glimpse of her embarrassed smile and saw her nod in his direction.
“You’d better get up there! She’s already bookin’ it up there and you’re late,” he said, referring to me. I was hardly bookin’ it. More like just warming up.
We laughed when Erin stepped onto the treadmill next to me. Now we were getting yelled at too! When we went down below, he gave her a few more jabs and when he walked away, I said to her, “I don’t want to like him. But he’s kind of growing on me.” Erin agreed.
This morning being Wednesday, I was on my own at the gym. Erin takes turns with her hubby for the early shift. One has to stay home with their little boys in the early morning when the other goes to work out. On Wednesdays, Erin’s hubby is at the gym.
So I was just starting my run on the treadmill on the far end of the upper level when I noticed someone standing below. I slowly looked down and there stood the Sheriff, elbows against his sides, arms outward and palms up. He didn’t have to speak a word. I could see the big question mark on his face.
Still running, I pulled the earbuds from my ears and called down, “She’s Tuesday/Thursday!”
He pulled his earbuds out and said, “What? Didn’t you give her the spiel?”
I’m not sure what the spiel is, but I assume he meant some kind of lecture about being more dedicated. Being as I was calling down to him from the upper level, I opted not to explain to him that Erin just finished a 100 Day (in a row) workout challenge and is actually still going. It just doesn’t all happen at the gym. She’s the one who should be giving me the spiel.
I shrugged at him and he said, “Tell her there are no breaks in fitness!”
I gave him a thumbs-up and he disappeared below into the free weights area as I went back to my music and running. Periodically I’d notice him walk out to one of the machines and then back again. When I could see him, I noticed I was motivated to run harder. Didn’t want the Sheriff yelling at me for not working hard enough. I had to laugh at myself. Clearly there is something to his methods.
When I’d finished my run and had just reached the bottom of the stairs on my way out, the Sheriff was also finishing his workout and heading toward the locker room. He caught my eye and wagged his finger at me casually in a gesture of goodbye. I tossed him a smile and wished him a good day.
When I got home, I texted Erin and let her know that the Sheriff had questioned her whereabouts. We joked back and forth about how she’s going to hear about it tomorrow. But I think we both realized, we’re both in his inner circle now. And we’re okay with that.