Thursday, May 08, 2008

I had no idea it bothered him so much.


I've been going through this uncomfortable dance for a while. While I appreciate what the guy is doing for me, I still don't want to have to talk to him every time I walk in the door.

This is my time.

This is quiet time.

This is music time.

This is thinking time.

It's time for me to be alone with everything that I have in my head, my hearts desire, my dreams, my wishes. I free myself through violent moving and cursing and swearing. Through the heat of my body, the strain on all of my muscles. The movement, the sweet unending pounding rhythmic movement of it for hours on end.

I'd had to change my gym schedule recently because I realized with my work schedule it was better to go two mornings a week instead of three nights. Instead on the three nights I work out at home and the two mornings I spend a good two hours doing nothing but grinding my ass into every machine that presents itself. It's a blissful body numbing relief and I relish it as my personal time. At home it's just as good but often more distracting somehow. Here on my little machines while I work the way I want to it is nothing but an extreme focus on ever pore of my being.

I hate being talked to while I'm doing it, too.

The gym that I adore I've been going to for about two years now. I know all the night staff people as I'm there constantly. I sat down with one of the personal trainers there a few weeks ago and worked out a new routine for the next few months. The routine is painful and grueling and I relish it. He was impressed with how much I could lift. I was impressed with how much attention he had been paying to my old routine. Between us we figured out something workable in my bad Korean and his bad English and it's been swell.

Then I moved to the morning.

The first thing I discovered when I moved to the morning was a different gym guy. None of the guys I knew was manning the desk. This guy looked like his head was about to explode when I walked in. I get that a lot in Korea. It's the look of "Oh MY GOD IT'S A REAL LIVE FORIENGER!"

Lest you doubt how enticing that is I went out the other night with my friend the Rastafarian. We stopped by yea old Crew first for a few games of pool. When we walked in the place was dead so we put on some music and went to shoot a few rounds About ten minutes later a group of Korean business men came in and looked around. The bartender dutifully brought them menus as I continued to shoot my pool while the Rastafarian watched on.

I overheard the conversation the businessman had with the bartender in Korean. It went roughly like this:

"Where are all the foreigners?"

"They are not here tonight, I guess. What would you like to eat?"

"We thought this was a foreigner bar."

"Sometimes they come in later. Can I get you something to drink?"

"We came here for the foreigners. If you don't have any foreigners I don't know. Let's us talk about it."

They spoke for a few more minutes and finally the party got up and left. Before leaving one of the businessman walked over to the bartender and asked him to have more foreigners next time. I shook my head as they left thinking that if they wanted more foreigners they could offer to buy us some drinks and maybe we'd be happy to entertain them. I called the Rastafarian over and explained to her what had just happened. She shook her head and smiled.

The new gym guy reacted about the same way upon seeing me the first time. I was trying to get into my routine and he kept coming over and trying to talk to me. I tried to be as polite as one can be when running full out. Finally I just stopped listening and ran on my merry way. The next time I came in I was asked about my personal life, my musical interests, and when I was free for dinner. All of which I politely declined.

Since then I've walked in business like. I politely nod to him before changing into my admittedly ripped up t-shirt and hitting the floor hard for my body bending stunt-acular routine. I realized a few minutes into it that he was glancing at me and looking at the computer. This can mean only one thing. He's looking up more conversation to have with me. Yay!

By this point I had moved from my twenty minutes of running through a hundred stomach crunches (seriously), 20 reps of weight on my arms from 40 to a 100 pounds on two different machines and had moved to do my legs. I was sitting down and pumping hard, as one is wont to do while working out. I'd been going now for a little over an hour. It's early summer in Korea and hot and humid. I workout hard and I'm Hispanic.


I smile and move up to seventy pounds and start to move again.


"Yes" I groan as I work.

"You smell."

? I just kind of look at him. I've got seventy pounds in the air balanced on the front of my legs and the last thing I want right now is to be distracted.


"You….smell…sweat…You many sweat. Very many."

I think of lots of fancy comebacks to this. Believe it or not an hour of working out hard will cause you to sweat. Foreigners sweat. It's okay to sweat. But mostly I just kind of stare at him while I try not to lose my count.


"You should…uh…take her easy. Not so bad. Do your best, okay?"

"Okay." I have no idea what I'm to take away from this. I kick the weights up to eight and go back to it, and start to work again and he finally gets the hint and walks away. I feel bad, and I keep sweating. Self conscious about it now. I hate that. I want my time, my happy non-caring, non-self loathing me time.

I haven't figured out what to do about this guy yet. I know he means well, but if he can't deal with the sweaty fat chick who likes to work out hard, I have no idea what I can possibly do to help. And the truth is, I don't want to care about anyone else's feelings during my body hurting good time.

Maybe I should wear bigger earphones on my MP3 player.

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