Sunday, February 11, 2007

Gym hazard

I got to spend an hour at the gym. 40 minutes of aerobic divided up 50/50 between stairclimber and treadmill. In theory this will all work in the end to ridding myself of the unsightly bulge that refuses to leave my midsection. I hate doing aerobic. I can walk around the city for hours on end, no problem, but put me on a machine and I am only able to think, when will this be over. Todays adventure in physical fitness was further embellished by the pervasive aroma of ripe gym socks.

The first thing I think when something like this comes up is "Oh my God, is that me?" And it could have been, too. My Barbie dream fitness outfit had been sitting in the locker for a week. While I hadn't noticed anything when I was suiting up, who knows? It might be that it had to come up to body temperature to release it's bouquet. So, I spent 20 minutes becoming much too thoroughly acquainted with the smell of somebodies socks. About the same time the stair machine was announcing that my 20 minutes had ended, the fellow on the treadmill behind me finished up and as he left, the eu du bas athletique exited with him. While it is not the first time that this has happened, i.e. one of the gym members being a bit on the fragrant side, what is to me alarming is that this was not some college student with a cavalier attitude towards hygiene, it was someone who was probably my age.

This is not the first instance of that phenomena either. A few months ago, I was talking to one of the other regulars when suddenly we were overcome with the feeling that someone had just unwrapped an extremely ripe gorganzola. I just looked at Frank and said, "Please tell me that's not me." I am happy to say that in fact it was not. It was, alas, another individual of mature years, who seemed to have developed some sort of personal grudge against bathing as far as one could tell. I should hasten to add that the individual was not, at least to all appearances, laboring under some financial embarrassment, or noticeably crazy. Simply that he and soap had had some terrible misunderstanding and were not on speaking terms. The manager of the gym came in and got a nose full. The next day there were signs posted reminding members that we were in and enclosed space and the judicious use of modern odor fighting products were to be encouraged. Not that I think deodorant would have helped much. It would have had all of the efficacy of spraying a limburgh cheese with Right Guard. I found myself remembering the section in "Three Men in a Boat" where J.K. Jerome describes the cheese that wouldn't go away.

"Splendid cheeses they were, ripe and mellow with a two hundred horse power scent about them that might have been warranted to carry three miles, and knock a man over at two hundred yards."

Fortunately for the regulars, the offending gentleman was a seasonal exerciser. He seemed to be one of those people who work out furiously for about 4 weeks before beach season begins and then disappears. Happily, he took his alter ego with him presumably to further endanger wildlife on the seashore. I have visions of gulls, terns and sandpipers being knocked out the sky by this guys feet. So it wasn't until today that I ran across his cousin. It could well be that I have never encountered sock boy before because ordinarily I do not go to the gym on Sunday. However I am on an odd schedule until Le Soigneur decides what to do with me and set me off on my own. So as I say I was treadling away, in a rather green fug today. If I have to go in there next Sunday, I will try to remember to stop at the Army Navy down the street and pick up a gas mask first.