Thursday, December 3, 2009

Fat Lady on a Treadmill - Day Six

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m a Southerner by birth. My mother’s family has roots deep in the rich red soil of East Texas and can follow those roots all the way back to when Texas was a Republic. Thanks to my fabulous sister-in-law who did all the research, I can apply for membership into the Daughters of the Republic, and as soon as I fill out all the forms she sent, and copy all the documents, it will be official.

True Southern women are raised with certain values and live within a set of rules, the likes of which do not exist north of the Mason-Dixon Line or West of the invisible line that runs roughly half way between Dallas and Ft. Worth. You see, Dallas is in the South, Ft. Worth is in the West, or Southwest if you insist.

Some of these rules Southern women live by are well known outside the above listed parameters, such as Rule #1 – Do not wear white after Labor Day or prior to Memorial Day. No self respecting Southern woman would dare to break this rule. This has evolved over the years to a less strict rule involving white shoes and white purses, as too many women were dying of heat stroke in September and October.

Rule #2 – Do not air your dirty laundry in public. This is a metaphor. Think Scarlet O’Hara. Scarlet would rather dig root vegetables out of the soil with her bare hands, or use the parlor drapes to make herself a new dress than let her friends and neighbors think all was not well at Tara.

You ask, what does this have to do with the pit,er,gym? I present the not widely recognized, Rule #3 – Cross your legs at the ankle. This is followed closely, and related to, Rule #4 – Do not display certain body parts to anyone prior to said person signing their name on the line labeled ‘groom’ on your marriage license. Still confused? Let me explain.

There are lots of activities to choose from at the pit. One of those is some sort of exercise involving rubber balls of various sizes. Strangely enough, the area set aside for this activity is just inside the front door and visible from most of the electric equipment as well as any passersby via the floor to ceiling windows overlooking the parking lot. I have yet to see a male participating in this activity, which brings me back to Rules #3 and #4. I think from this we can extrapolate – Do not place 36” rubber ball between your legs and present your hoo-haw to anyone within fifty yards.

I am no prude. I write Romance novels when I’m not people watching at the pit. However, why a woman would choose to drive to a public place, don form fitting apparel, lie on the floor with or without a gaily colored rubber ball and spread their legs for all to see without being PAID to do it, is beyond me and well outside even the broadest interpretation of Rule #3, and a clear violation of Rule #4.

Now you say, “Nearly every high school girl is in violation of Rule #4.” This may be true, and I may have been guilty of it myself, once or twice, but in the off chance Daughter #1 or Daughter #2 is reading this, let me state that I have never contemplated violating Rule #4, nor do I suggest they contemplate it either.

Let me point out- Rule #4 also applies to locker rooms, especially to locker rooms.

I started my torture session on the stair thing-a-ma-jig. I like the view from up there. This is the same reason I like to snow ski – the view is best from the top of the mountain. Anyway, I opt for the default workout, twenty minutes. I’ve had success at level 4, and after surveying the pit I decide their isn’t much of interest so I kick it up to level 5. After ten minutes I’m ready to rethink the whole religion thing and wondering if I’m about to find out if there really is a spirit in the sky. I back it down to level 3 for a few minutes and contemplate just how hard the concrete floor behind me is. Would it be too much to ask for mats, or better yet those big inflated mattresses stunt people use? I’d be willing to chip in another dollar a month to see some changes in the place.

I finish off the last five minutes at level 4 and seek out my favorite lounge chair with pedals attached. Daughter #1 is there after some time on the rack. She’s having some trouble with shin splints, something that plagued her all through high school and college softball and still is worrisome, so she’s mellowing out on a bike for a while. I take a spin around the block, several blocks actually before we call it quits for the day.

M.M. from yesterday arrived while we were on the bikes and I’m tempted to hang around and watch for a while, but alas, we might be risking bodily injury to stay longer. I’m beginning to dread the locker room, but we left the car key locked up in there, so we must retrieve it. M.M walks by and I’m tempted to follow, but Daughter #1 is eager to leave.

Back to Rule #4. Trance Lady is in the locker room and lucky us, has a locker adjacent to ours. While we are fishing out our purses she proceeds to peel off layers until there are no more layers to peel. I did not need to see this. Trance Lady bounces off, buck naked to the showers (I assume). In the hallway Daughter #1 says, “I don’t know how people can do that.” She doesn’t have to elaborate, I understand perfectly. “Me either,” I say, my heart swelling with pride. Even raised in California, Daughter #1 knows Rule #4, at least when it comes to locker rooms. I don’t want to know anymore.

We step into the bright sunshine. I‘ve climbed a sixty story building and rode five miles, and my parenting skills have been validated. It’s a good day.

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