I went to the gym this morning for the second time this week. One nice thing about having no job, and having paid a two-year membership to the gym upfront, is that I tend to work out more often. Not that I didn't have a chance to before, with my ultra-intense schedule at the weekly rural newspaper and all, but it's harder to will yourself up at the crack of dawn and get yourself on the treadmill than it is to roll out of bed at, say, 8:30, and go. Don't worry. I'm not going to start laying around the house in my pajamas or anything. 8:30 a.m. is a respectable hour to get up, especially when you spent your summer staying up til four, sometimes five in the morning, and even then sometimes the really, really loud album playing would just stay in the CD player and play all night, and then you'd wake up like maybe a few hours later and get ready for another day. I'm not saying I worked hard or anything, just that my body deserves a few nights of really deep, really good, really uninterupted by loud rock music sleep.
Point being, I think I'm going to get pretty awesomely toned. On the days when I don't go to the gym and do some very minor, very easy resistance training, I'm going on long runs. I hope to attend one yoga class a week too, because yoga is good for the soul.
This morning I planned. I wanted to run a few errands after working out, as well as have lunch with my friend Jen. The gym isn't that far away from my house - maybe 10 minutes - but it wouldn't make sense to come home and shower, so I brought some clothes and shampoo and everything with me. I'd shower there, I figured, and get on my way. I'm such a thinker, honestly, someone should hire me. Before I get hired by a huge corporation to write on my blog for their entertainment. Starting salary: $1,000,000.
What happened though, is right when I got done with my workout and was ready to get on with it, I realized I'd forgotten a towel, and my gym doesn't have towels for members, so I was stuck. I could either drive home and shower and risk getting on the couch and falling into a deep depression and maybe craving macaroni and cheese and then maybe giving into that craving OR I could just improvise. I chose the latter, because as stated above, I think about things. I'm dedicated to getting ahead in this world.
So I decided I'd take a quick shower and then just kind of shake off the water and towel dry, if I needed to, with this sweatshirt I'd packed. I could also use my gym clothes, I thought. My gym clothes which, by the way, were sweaty, as I'd just worked out in them. Oh, and it's a rainy day, making the thought of not being able to get completely dry and then having to go out into the rain and humidity even less appealing. But I didn't want to go home. So I took my shower and then squeezed the water out of my hair and brushed the water from my body and used the random pieces of clothing to do the rest. I was damp, at best, when I reached out of the shower stall to grab my underwear.
Despite the fact that I am normally less bold than the other women who frequent the locker room, I usually put on a towel, exit the shower stall, and then get dressed in the main area, at least. Because it's stupid to try and get dressed right there in the steam caused by the shower you just took. And getting dressed when still partially wet is right up there with getting up before dawn to go look for Bald Eagles in the "Things I Don't Like" department. I had no choice in this instance, however. What was I going to do? Drape my drawstring shorts round my bottom half and run like a maniac into the other room, dress quickly, and depart, trying to avoid stares? No way. Because the thing is I'd receive less stares if I just walked out stark naked. Really. And, in fact, when reaching out blindly to grab my clothes from my Jansport, hanging just outside the shower stall, I caught a glimpse of an older lady right across from me showering, nude of course, with the shower curtain open. OPEN. I don't know. It had the capacity to be closed, surely, but she just didn't care. On her shower hook hung a lovely, forest green, soft towel. As I stood there tugging my freshly-laundered and therefore extra tight jeans on over my not-quite-dry thighs I thought about that towel and how that woman, that naked, naked woman, probably wouldn't have even minded if I'd asked to borrow it because, after all, she didn't mind if I had a good close look at her privates.
When I'd finally accomplished the great feat of getting my clothes on and running my fingers through my tangled hair (I also forgot a brush) I stepped out of the shower, placed my sopping gym clothes in my backpack and got ready to leave when my nude friend spoke to me. "Did you have any trouble with the shower temperature?" she asked, facing forward, hands over her head massaging her sudsy hair, as friendly as could be. What was I supposed to do? Look? Look at her breasts? Look into her eyes? Avert my eyes? Run away? Tell her she had a nice body for her age? I paused a second and in that very loaded second realized I was being a little bit ridiculous. I was the one who'd just dried off with my dirty gym clothes. Her showering sans-curtain suddenly seemed, without doubt, the less crazy thing one could do while attempting to get clean after a nice workout.
So I turned towards her, just like this was a normal interchange between two clothed people and said, "Yes, actually. I had trouble getting the water at a moderate temperature, so I took a kind of cold shower." She laughed and said that that was better than a scalding one, and I laughed and agreed, and then told her "good luck" and departed, into the rainy afternoon.
Later, after lunch and saying goodbye to Jen, I went to use the bathroom in the restaurant where we'd met. Upon entering, I heard a girl's voice coming from one of the stalls. Since no one else was in there, I wondered who she was speaking to, then realized she was talking - and not just talking, but loudly gossiping - to her friend while she was on the toilet. Right on it. I heard it flush and she exited, still on the phone, still loud, without a glance in my direction.
I realize this is the age of the the cell phone and other miraculous technologies, but I'm still astounded - maybe my attitude is even old-fashioned - at the amount and circumstances in which people use them. If you're having a nice dinner, I say turn it off. And if you're in the bathroom stall, please, turn it off. Not only for your friend, but for the world. It's just weird. And detracts from the level of decency you project. Manners. From saying thank you right on down to not talking on your cell phone in the bathroom stall and not even feeling the slightest big ashamed of that. I thought, then, of my friend in the shower from earlier that day and how admirable her level of shamelessness was compared to this. She'd at least acknowledged my existence. And what's more, was very nice. One day maybe I'll bare my body with as much pride, but for the present, I'll at least be nice to strangers.
I know some of you must be thinking that I've dropped my cell phone in the toilet - more than once - and isn't that just as bad? I assure you, my phone's association with the toilet was a result of my being clumsy and careless with expensive devices, and not because I was trying to actually have a conversation in there. I may put the thing in my back pocket of my jeans, like an idiot, but hey, I do draw the line somewhere.