Monday, January 20, 2014

Nightmare on Gym Street

I love awkward moments.  I feel that there is nothing more human than foot-in-mouth statements, terrible-timing conversations, and pregnant pauses that make the heat rise up in your cheeks and at the top of your ears.  We've all experienced these moments where we want to just crawl up in a ball and die...or, in my case, giggle uncontrollably.  I can't even begin to tell you how many times I've come home and said to the husband "Oh man - you should've been there", as if I were talking about a recent promotion or a powerful homily, when really I'm talking about an instance that would make any person question every choice that they made leading up to that moment in time. 

But, my avid readers, the unthinkable has happened.  I have finally found an awkward moment that made me flee.  That made me run into my car, slam the door shut, bury my face into my hands, and mutter "Oh God, please don't let this ever, EVER happen again." 

My hubby and I recently started going to a gym down the street.  I don't mind working out, but I really, really don't like gyms.  The sad reality, though, is in Michigan, you have to have a gym membership if you have any hope of getting into shape in January.  So, we opened our wallets, forked over a ridiculous amount of cash, and started to trade off nights to hit the treadmill. 

Yesterday happened to be my workout day.  As I walked into the gym, the "odor" was a bit more pungent than usual.  Every gym I've ever been in has this distinct smell of sweat, testosterone, self-consciousness, and shattered dreams that slaps you in the face the moment you walk in the door.  But yesterday was a whole new experience for my nostrils, and not a pleasant one.  The writing on the wall clearly stated that this was not going to be the best experience in the world. 

Once I stepped in the door, I looked around and realized that the gym was full of muscle men, all of whom were staring at me with glazed over eyes.  Now, ladies and gentlemen, I am not a sight to behold when I go to work out.  Unless these guys were into the "old-ratty-t-shirt-sweatpants-no-makeup" type, I can guarantee you that I was nothing more than a change of scenery for them in the midst of their sausage fest.  I sighed heavily, made my way around the gym bags that the "bros" chose to leave on the only bench in the place (as opposed to leaving them in one of the twenty empty cubbies), changed into my running shoes, and hopped onto the treadmill.

While I was warming up and flicking through my iPod to find something to listen to, I began to hear these...sounds.  I quickly realized the guttural, demonic, half-panting noises were coming from the muscle men.  I've been trying for the past twenty-four hours to figure out how to describe this sound.  All I can come up with is a mental image of a honey badger bowing up on a mountain lion.  I looked over and saw one of the muscle men barking at his set of weights.  The other was stretching his arms, and apparently felt the need to vocalize something terrifying while loosening up.  Again, I sighed heavily, and turned on the first round of music my finger landed upon.

While I was jogging, a few other women walked into the gym (thank the Good Lord).  Two out of the three women were like me - sweat pants, t-shirt, walking in with the mindset to get something done and then get out.  We all exchanged quick smiles and nothing more.

But the third woman...

In walks the Kim Kar-trash-ian of Howell, flaunting her ebony boy short underwear and skin tight white tank top, complete with hot pink sports bra.  She wore no coat, so it was a good thing she didn't have an ass, otherwise she would have froze it off in these post-Polar Vortex days of Michigan in January. 

I admit, I can be the jealous type, but this has nothing to do with jealousy.  I wasn't enthusiastically vying for the attention of the grunting aardvarks at the far end of the building.  I'm just pointing out the obvious fact that this woman came to the gym with no intention of sweating and ruining her meticulous makeup. 

To further prove my point, I had finished my workout, cleaned up, changed into some normal winter clothes, and stood at the before-mentioned bench with my boots in hand while Mrs. Peacock was still preening her feathers.  She was looking out into the parking lot, shifting from side to side while sticking her barely-covered buttocks out for the gym-world to gaze upon - as if that qualified as stretching.  She put her hair into a tight pony-tail, but left enough of her hair out in the front so she could continuously (and sensuously) sweep it away from her eyes every five seconds.  While she was playing on her iPhone, still swaying from side to side, I stood there, boots still in hand, waiting to sit down within the two feet of space that the "bros" had left available after plopping down their gym bags.  I let out my third (and final) heavy sigh of the day, and only then did she notice me.  She rolled her eyes and moved away from the bench, only to continue her "stretching" in front of the stationary bikes.  "Thanks," I muttered. 

I plopped down, slipped my boots on, and began to lace them up.  My elbow slightly brushed one of the gym bags, which loudly crashed down on top of the outdoor shoe rack.  I scooped it up and put it back onto the bench, realizing then that the bag had been left unzipped and that some of its contents had spilled out on top of everyone's shoes.  "What idiot would leave their gym bag open on the corner of the damn -"

My thought process instantly stopped.  My face flushed crimson, and my ears began to burn.  My eyes widened as I realized what EXACTLY spilled all over the shoes.

Condoms.  Lots, and lots of condoms.  All different colored foil wrapping with the tell-tale ring raised in the center. 

Oh dear Lord, they were EVERYWHERE. 

Each pair of boots had at least one condom inside of it, with another one or two scattered on top of the lacings.  Oprah's voice began shouting in my head "You get a condom!  You get a condom!  EVERYONE GETS CONDOMS!" 

I started to breathe heavily as the debacle played out in my head.  "Do I quickly pick them up and put them back in the bag?  Then the bro might think I'm going through his stuff, and he might direct his weight-barking at me!  Ok, wait, if I do it fast enough, he won't notice...but then what if someone walks in and sees me holding all of these wrappers like I'm the Safe Sex Fairy?!"

I couldn't take it.  It was too much awkward in an incredibly short amount of time. 

I looked around - all eyes were on Mrs. Peacock who was still "stretching" and sweeping her hair from side to side Baywatch-style. 

It was the perfect moment...for me to run. 

I scooped up my purse and freaking BOLTED out the door.  I got in my Focus, blasted the radio, breathed a silent plea to the Lord that he never put something that awful into the Roadmap of My Life ever again, and left the parking lot.

On the plus side, between the sprint to my car and the overall anxiety of the situation that lasted a solid hour or two afterwards, I'm pretty sure I tripled my caloric burn for the day

...But realistically, that's the only positive I can take away from this situation.  I'm still - STILL - mortified. 

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