Thursday, January 8, 2009


Guess who got to the gym first today.

Well, after the first thirty minutes, two nice ladies showed up, with three little children who sat quietly by the television and watched cartoons. I went over to turn off the music for them, but they insisted that it was great music and I should leave it playing. The children were right by the TV and it wouldn't bother them at all. They they started walking and bike riding. After another ten minutes the commando ladies came in and started lifting weights--over in the "get buff-stay tough" section. If the music annoyed them, they didn't let on. When my time on the treadmill was finished, I gathered all my stuff, including the CD and made an exit.

Invasion of the Philistines

It's happened. Other people have decided to exercise too. That in itself isn’t so tragic, I guess. I mean, this is America where everyone has the right to eat too much, get overly fat, whine about it and finally drag their bodies to a place where there are mirrors all around to push one onto the torture machines of exercise. They have the right to exercise. Granted. They could have all gone to any number of health clubs and gyms in this area—bustling rings of activity with trainers and other loud, chatty, sweaty patrons.

They could have, but no. They chose to invade mine-- Aargh!--my quiet little exercise room on the village square. Why? It's only one long room, with windows on the square, antiquated, fuddy-duddy. There is even a mural on the wall overlooking the heavy-duty weight lifting area where the boys acquire buffness. It’s a serene painting of an English garden tea party—all greens and flowers and staid and soothing. It’s not at all suited for their type of exercise. Surely they could have gone somewhere else! But no.

I walk into my normally quiet gym, looking forward to forty-five minutes of Mendelssohn and a good book, and what do I see? Two ambitious middle-aged ladies punching away at their impending senior status with teen-age-like angst. They are running on my treadmill, pounding at 3.5 miles an hour. The radio is blaring some sort of rock/hip/rap mumbled screams and--worse--the big screen television is on at the same time. News. Advertisements. Propaganda. Can't tell which is which. In a few minutes a man walks in. Imagine. Four people. At once. I'm overwhelmed. In a state of shock, jerking inwardly as I'm slammed by the beats of the blaring radio, I numbly finish my routine on the exercise machines and stumble over to my treadmill to see if there is any tread left. Alas. Both machines are still busy being abused and talked all over by the commandos. I try the gazelle-looking machine instead. Up, down, up, down as I try to walk. It feels like I'm riding on a camel. Reading is impossible. They are jabbering—loudly so they can hear each other over the media din--about how quiet it was when they got here and how they couldn’t exercise without some noise. After ten minutes, I give up and flee the gym in utter frustration.

Today I'm going to be the first there--right after school. I'll fly. Just you wait. When they come in I'll have the CD blaring Hebrides! Ha ha! Take that, you Philistines!