Me: “Can you give me a locker for my key?” (Meanwhile.. I’m holding onto my keys by my pinkie, dropping my gym bag and digging for my campus I.D.)
The blonde, blank-faced sorority girl: “What?”
Me: <Sigh with a weak smile…> “Can you just give me a key? It’s been a long day…”
Immediately, I’m annoyed.
No, not particularly at her inept handling of my stuttering. Actually, not at her all. Annoyed that here I am, at the gym again after a 15 hour work day. I work at a university and use their gym. It’s close, it’s convenient, but mostly because I could probably qualify for food stamps and I can afford their free facilities.
‘This girl has no idea what a long day is,’ I thought.
I was in college not that long ago. Taking naps between introductory health classes, skipping them to go to lunch and worrying about whether or not she’ll have time to pre-game before the party tonight is this girl’s only worry.
As I walk away and head to the locker room, I look at the lineup and scope out my machine. I will not be stuck next to the girl who does this weird fist pumping gesture while she uses the elliptical again. *Side note: It’s a cross between a drunk Snooki and an animal trying to dig its way out of a sand pit. The first time I saw her, I thought hard about what she was doing. Is this a new trend? Perhaps this is a hidden-bicep-toning-trick that only she’s discovered. Maybe it’s her way of motivating herself through the next five minutes. Maybe she has a nervous arm tick that only occurs when she moves her legs in a marching motion?
I digress. But it’s very distracting.
Anyhow, I swear that every time I walk through the doors to this gym, I have a reverse reaction than what I normally have when going to other gyms. Some places put more emphasis on keeping lipstick and hot-shorts on than keeping muffin tops and kankles off, you know?
This gym is different. There are no working moms. There are no men or women trying hard to work off a few pounds. No. There are NO normal, hardworking, fellow staff here to be on my team. There are 22 year olds, in tight shorts, with “Jerseylicious” slapped across their behinds.
Funny. There is not a trace of envy, jealousy or insecurity that I feel. In fact, it’s the complete opposite. Competitiveness and the ability to show down every single UGG boot, Northface-jacket-wearing kid in the place is what I feel.
*Disclaimer: I was in a sorority and have nothing against UGG boots, Northface jackets or Greek Life.*
Call it what you will, but when you tell yourself that you “still got it” and make yourself prove that while you’re running next to the next Nike model – you feel a total sense of accomplishment.
After I changed, I hopped onto the elliptical and started my normal routine. Throughout the duration, people next to me came and went – including one of our department’s interns. I now know he talks a much bigger talk about his regimen than it actually is. I saw it with my own eyes. He couldn’t have been on any resistance level on that stationary bike. Pretty sure he was going for an imaginary joy ride around campus.
Then, in the middle of John Mayer, this guy jumped up onto the machine next to me. Big guy. He was in it to win it. I took one look at him and flew into high gear. The faster he pedaled, the faster I pedaled. I’m pretty sure he tried to see what level my machine was at so, naturally, I kept interchanging the levels to throw his game off. I heard myself saying, “I’m beating you, I’m beating you, I’m beating you” with every full rotation of my legs.
Maybe that’s immature. BUT – there’s something about being in a roomful of good-looking, motivated, young-adults. It makes me remember who I am and laugh at who I was. I’m healthier now at nearly twenty-eight than I was at eighteen. I feel proud of that accomplishment. I feel proud that I do still “got it.”
At the end of my delicious work out, feeling confident, vibrant, alive and energized, I go to the locker room to change. I laugh at my new-found motivator game and think to myself,
‘If people only knew – they’d think you were a loony, crazy, adolescent.’
But then you struck again, Kappa Gamma Jerseylicious. I heard you do something in that bathroom and the smile on your face said you were very proud of it.
Ewww. Who’s immature now?