Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Fat Lady on a Treadmill - Day Ninety-three

I thought that photo would drag you in to read this! I’ll explain later…

I’ve been at this workout thing now for three whole months! Who’d a thought it? In celebration we have moved to a new pit. I can’t say I regret leaving the other pit, but I am sorry I never found the doughnut stash at the old one. I’m sure they had one. All those women coming in the front door and never being seen again had to be going somewhere. I think the secret was in the yoga mats. I should have gotten one for myself. I bet they would have ushered me straight to the doughnuts if I’d been carrying one.

For the last few days Daughter #1 and I have been going to the CCPit. There’s not a lot happening there, in fact it’s a pretty boring place. Of course there was the C+20 women doing the fun noodle crawl in the pool and their husbands hanging out (figuratively – I hope) in the hot tub. I had to do a mental check on that one to make sure I was in California and not Florida. If ever I had contemplated taking the water aerobics class that sight changed my thinking. Won’t be doing that. I staked out my little bit of territory on a rack on the second floor overlooking the weight machines. I programmed the computer to the ‘kill me in small increments’ setting and got busy.

It was heartening to see the firefighters nearby. Our old pit had some that were regulars, but they were off duty. These guys were on duty. How do I know that? Well, the big red truck in the parking lot was telling, and the walkie-talkies stashed in the cup holders clenched the deal. Between them and the portable defibrillator on the wall downstairs I thought it would be safe to proceed. At least I did until I spied the red velvet cupcake riding the lounge chair bike. Well, it wasn’t really a cupcake, but there was a woman wearing a red velour sweat suit with an icing pink t-shirt. Perhaps she reminded me of a cupcake because my favorite place to buy a red velvet cupcake has closed- a victim of these economic times. Maybe I should have bought a few more cupcakes when it was open.

Oh yeah, I bought more than I should have or I wouldn’t have been at the pit to begin with.

As promised in a previous blog, Daughter #1 and I decided to visit the VPit for a little entertainment. There is nothing dull about the VPit. So this morning we hauled ourselves over there and were rewarded for our efforts. Mid-morning the place was hopping. Nearly every aerobic machine was occupied, many by people actually using them! We were able to secure a couple in the front row so we had a good view of the weight room and where the weight room occupants didn’t have so good a view of our backsides.

A good number of Bro’s were there today. I should have paid more attention to the parking lot and its contingent of lifted trucks, but I didn’t and here we were, surrounded by guys with shaved heads, more art etched into their skin than is on the walls of the Louvre, and of course, wearing the requisite wife beater. They’re posing at the various machines for the benefit of the women on the mezzanine – me included- and doing….(drum roll)…..absolutely nothing.

The Bro’s weren’t the only show in town today. I was particularly intrigued by the mom and daughter pair on the exercise balls. Daughter lounged on the big red one, mom on the half sphere. I pedaled my lounge chair bike halfway to Hollywood while they carried on a conversation and did…. absolutely nothing. Daughter eventually changed her pose to a sitting position which must have gotten mom’s approval because she remained there for a good twenty minutes doing….absolutely nothing. Is there a market out there for young women who can perch on rubber balls for long periods of time? Forget I asked that question.

You would think that rubber ball girl would catch the attention of at least one Bro, but alas, they were all trolling for the same thing – to be discovered. Back in the day wanna-be’s hung out at the soda fountain hoping to be discovered. Today it’s the VPit. Good luck with that. Hope it works out for you.

Then there were Barbie and Ken carrying on a conversation on the bench next to the above mentioned posers. Barbie was in the same general area the last time we visited the VPit only that time she actually had to get near a piece of weight equipment before she garnered any male attention. She invested a good twenty minutes in today’s conversation with Ken. I hope she at least got a date out of it, if not an audition. Maybe the next time I see her it will be on the big screen. Call me a cynic, but I suspect the next time I see her she’ll be on that bench again.

I have to admit most of my attention was on the guy at the ab cruncher. He bore a striking resemblance to a certain actor who plays a plumber on a well known Sunday evening show. Yep, that’s the one. I knew you could figure it out. I’d hoped for some inspiring eye candy at the pit and I wasn’t disappointed. It could have been him. I’ve heard he lives in the area and has been seen doing real people stuff like coaching his son’s baseball team. The truth is, I don’t care if it’s him or not. This guy’s the best thing I’ve seen in the pit in three months and famous or not, I was enjoying the view.

Once the eye candy departed the ab cruncher I pretty much lost interest in the rest of the crowd. He was a hard act to follow and the rest of them just weren’t in his league. I did take note of the time. Guess where I’ll be in exactly one week? Who needs a secret doughnut stash when there’s eye candy in the pit?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Fat Lady on a Treadmill - Day Eighty-seven

Why didn’t someone tell me? I’ve been at this workout thing for almost three months and today I found out you are only supposed to pose on the equipment, not actually use it! Now that I’ve figured this out I may have to rethink my whole approach to this fitness thing. This epiphany came today shortly after Daughter #1 and I arrived at the new pit. Our new pit has two locations in our little valley. Yesterday we went to one, and today thought we would give the other a try.

In order to lessen confusion I guess I’ll have to designate these locations CCPit and VPit. Anyone familiar with our little valley will figure this coding out easily, but I’m not inclined to change it. I’m not really into protecting their privacy so if you’ve figured out the code, keep it to yourself.

So yesterday we went to CCPit where the clientele, minus the homeless guy (I think I mentioned him once upon a time), resembles the peeps at our previous – to remain anonymous, open twenty four hours a day- pit. There is a pretty good cross section of society here. Neither one of us felt out of place among the fellow self torturers. Everyone was doing their own thing. Most were diligently applying themselves to the use of the equipment, paying little attention to the rest of us.

We trudged upstairs to the cardio, as in cardiac arrest, floor where they keep the assorted racks, treadmills and lounge chair bikes. The assumption is – if you can make it up the stairs you are fit enough to use the machines. I made it all the way to the top and selected a half rack on the back row and programmed the onboard computer to ‘kill me now’. Midway through the workout it occurs to me that there isn’t a wall behind me. The open railing behind me affords anyone down below a more than adequate view of my backside. I’m not sure why this bothers me today, as at our previous pit the machines were so close together that my a** was no more than fifteen feet from the person behind me. At least here I’m a whole floor above these people who should be lifting those weights anyway. I can’t help but wonder what the guy at the bench pressing station can see.

I resolved to choose the front row tomorrow. It won’t insure no one will be peering at my backside, but at least it will be a finite number. I can live with that.

So this morning we decided to try out VPit. Now that we have a choice we thought it would be a good idea to know what our options were. We’d heard the VPit tended to be crowded and lines to use the equipment were not unusual. Since we go about the same time everyday it was worth giving it a look. The parking lot was full, but once inside we saw that the MOP’s crowd was busy in the classes, leaving the rest of the place open for the DYI torture enthusiasts.

We made our way to the locker room, blessedly empty, then out to select our method of torture for the day. From my front row seat in the crow’s nest I have a pretty good view of the weight machines below, and the wanna be starlets populating the area. There’s more artificial intelligence down there than I’ve ever seen in one place before and all of it is prominently displayed. Some have dropped a few coins on their flashy workout gear, but others must have tapped out the bank account purchasing their grade DD intelligence and are reduced to wearing only their undergarments.

A few clueless types (like me) are actually using the equipment, getting all dewey and winded, but most are practicing their spokes-model moves using the equipment for props. There are the solo posers, leaning this way and that. I can only suppose they are hoping to be discovered – by whom I don’t have a clue. None of the other C-25’s scattered around the place in little coed groups look the type to be offering employment. Apparently none of them have jobs of their own or they wouldn’t be hanging around the VPit in the middle of the morning.

Maybe they’re hoping one of these self absorbed people will offer to buy them some liquefied lawn from the juice bar in the corner. Yak and gag. I don’t care how hot that guy in the sleeveless t-shirt is sitting on the ab cruncher texting the collagen and Botox babe leaning on the thigh master – I’m not drinking something that my dog knows as the toilet.

Every few feet is another knot of steroid enhanced, M.D. sculpted, scantily clad, highlighted, radiation tanned, waxed, buffed and polished C-25’s. The body language is clear. I see you. Do you see my new artificial intelligence? I don’t have to hear them to know what they are saying. The conversation goes something like this:

George of the Jungle – Hey. I haven’t seen you here in a while. You’re lookin’ good.

Jessica Rabbit – I’ve been looking for work. (Translation – I went to two casting calls for extras.)

George – How’s that going?

Jessica – You know (hair flip), I haven’t found anything yet. A friend of a friend of my ex boyfriend got a call back for a part in a sit-com pilot and if she gets it I’m sure she’ll put in a good word for me.

George – Wow! Sounds like you’re doing good. You still live around here?

Jessica – Yeah (gum snap). I’m still at home. I’ve been saving up for my own place, but it’s hard. I’m still paying off my student loans for that semester I went to community college. Between that and my medical bills (draws shoulders back to draw attention to new artificial intelligence) I haven’t been able to save up enough for a deposit on an apartment. You know how expensive everything is here.

George – Yeah, tell me about it. I was going to move out last month. I had the place picked out and everything, but then I had to get my bro-truck lifted (see photo). Now it’s going to be a while before I save up enough. Nice tat, by the way.

Jessica – (Pulls spaghetti strap down, tilts head so hair shifts to opposite shoulder) Thanks, it’s new.

George – (Nods head in agreement) Cooool. (Turns slightly) I just got a new one too, see?

Jessica – Ni- ice. What about you? You working now?

George – Naw. I was a gopher for a reality show, but it was cancelled. I’ve just been laying back, you know, resting since then. I’m sure something will come up soon. (Adjust flat brim of his bro-cap).

Jessica – (Clearly ready to move on as this loser is not the sugar daddy she’s trolling for) Well, nice seeing you again.

George – Yeah. Ni-ice.

Daughter #1 and I head for the locker room. The classes have disgorged a horde of trophy wives who are busy remaking themselves before they go out in public. When your sole purpose in life is to look good it is unacceptable to walk out of the pit in dewey workout clothes, even ones with stylish names emblazoned across the butt. Most of these women are headed to the spa or the salon, or the nail place from here, then it’s on to the mall to shop the junior department at Macy’s. Hair dryers are buzzing, there’s enough makeup strewn across the counters to stock a good sized Sephora. Not a sports bra in sight. I knew I should have bought stock in Victoria’s Secret. What was I thinking?

Yep. I wish someone had told me this is how the beautiful people work out. I’ve been wasting my time getting all dewey and tired. There’s a whole other world out there. I’m coming here more often.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Fat Lady on a Treadmill - Olympic Style

The thermostat at the pit is set on bake today despite the summer like temperature outside. One minute on the ¾ rack and the dew is falling harder than is really necessary but I’m determined to stick it out to the end of my programmed fat burner workout. I’ve cranked up the music and scanned the crowd for an interesting diversion to no avail. One of the national morning shows is on so I focus in on the flat screen television hanging in front of me. The world is abuzz with the Winter Olympics and it’s only a few minutes before the program switches to coverage of a downhill skiing event. I’m transported to another time and place….

High above the venue I’m poised on the brink. The tips of my skis point the way to greatness, but the path is not without danger. I am the best my country has to offer. I am good at what I do. I am the best. I am a champion. My heart tells me there is a disc of gold waiting for me at the end of this run. Everything within me knows this is true.

I close my eyes and listen to the roar of the crowd as one of my competitors completes the run setting the mark I must surpass. I need not strive for an Olympic or World Record, but only to complete the run a mere fraction of a second faster than the one before me. I can do it. I know I can. Eyes still closed I feel the cool, not cold air on my face. I see the run in my mind. I’ve been over it many times in training runs and qualifying heats and thousands of times over in my mind. I know every inch. I know about the block of ice along the first curve, the slush like quicksand that can suck you in and destroy your dreams along the inside of the third curve. In my mind’s eye I visualize every move I will make, every twist, every turn. My body responds and I can almost feel the ground under my skis and the wind on my face.

For days I’ve prayed for snow but Mother Nature has forsaken us. There is no fresh powder to cushion the run. I long for the feel of laying first tracks on a pristine run, but will settle for the hard packed base and alternating patches of ice and slush.

Electronic beeps signal the countdown. I draw in a deep, cleansing breath and savor the hint of pine and fir carried on the spring like air. A drop of sweat trickles down my spine, not from fear but a product of the warm weather. No matter. I have trained for this. My coach adds his voice to the electronic beeps. I open my eyes and focus on a point some distance away. That is where I must shift my weight into the first turn.

The final beep, good luck shouted to my back as I shove with all my might and propel myself over the edge and hopefully into history. Adrenaline flows through my veins, a drug like no other. I welcome the rush; savor the edge it will give me.

I see nothing but white ice and the blue lines painted underneath to mark my way. I do not need them; my body knows the way down the hill. I could do this run with my eyes closed. My skis cut into the ice on the first turn, my legs burn with the effort to control my descent. Man against nature. Physics, action and reaction, friction and heat. All my senses are tuned to the run. My skin registers the unwelcome warm temperature, a warning in itself. I hear the rasp of wood on ice, then the shush of softly frozen mush, like skiing through a pina colada. My eyes scout ahead to the next curve, the next soft spot, and the next patch of ice. I try to anticipate where a thin crust of ice could be hiding a patch of ice cold quicksand.

Seconds. Milliseconds. My inner clock ticks away, calculating by instinct. I’m doing well, possibly better than I’ve ever done in my life. At this rate the gold disc is mine, if I can keep it up.

In the blink of an eye my world shifts on its axis. A new sound, one every skier dreads, meets my ears. A heartbeat, a lifetime of training, a dream dies with the sound of cracking ice followed by the tell tale sound of slush sucking my ski into its bottomless pit. Another heartbeat and a spray of icy pellets sear my cheeks, or perhaps those are my frozen tears. After the unseasonable warm temperature above it’s like being dropped into an ice bath. My fevered skin protests, muscles scream against the change in program. No, not that way! My body fights the inevitable. There is a disconnect between brain and muscle.

My body slams into the solid block of ice clinging to the next curve and careens off into yet another wet trap. Everything in me, muscle, bone, thought, dream, desire, hope, screams in protest of this undignified end. At last I come to a complete stop. Seconds. The metal discs, all of them are beyond my reach. All I can do now is right myself and see it through to the end.

Flags wave and the crowd cheers as I limp across the finish line. Seconds. Minutes. Crushed dreams, but still I have lived the moment. I am an Olympian. I have given it my all and even though it wasn’t enough, I gave it with all my heart.

Tears stream down my cheeks. Tears of exhaustion. Tears of defeat. Tears of pride.

Not tears, dew. Sweat to everyone else. I glance down at the computer on the ¾ rack. Thirty seconds have passed, twenty-five and one half minutes to go on my fat burner workout. I can do this. I know I can. Everything in me knows I am a champion. For a moment I lived the dream.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Fat Lady on a Treadmill - Boca Raton Too

Pretending to be idly rich and bored is boring. A cold has kept me from the hotel pit for a few days, but I’m feeling better and willing to give the place another try. Wearing my favorite workout gear I trek past the croquet lawn to the pit. I knew there were adults who play croquet, but I’d never really seen any until this week. Since I wasn’t up to the pit I spent some time sitting in a wicker chair watching grownups play croquet. I played croquet when I was a kid and I remember it being much livelier than what I have been watching. Back then the rules were – hit your ball, hit your opponents’ ball, hit your opponent if necessary. It was similar to miniature golf and moved along quickly.

I have no idea what the rules are to the adult version. All the players wear white. They carry their mallets in custom made canvas bags like a pool shark does his cue. They stand around the lawn leaning on their mallets, taking turns hitting their ball from wicket to wicket – I think. There are little flags on the wickets that they flip up and down, why I have no idea. Maybe if I didn’t drift off to sleep between moves, or shots, or whatever they call it I would know more, but the game resembles a constipated version of billiards played on a golf green and I’m hard pressed to stay awake. Maybe it’s the nighttime cold medicine I took by mistake, but still it would take a lot of caffeine to keep me awake for this.

My last trip to the hotel pit was rather uneventful but that didn’t keep me from passing on my observations to you. You can thank me later. Today the place is hopping, or rather moseying, as the average age here is C+25. Hubby and I are among the youngsters today, something that we haven’t been in a while. The same half rack I used the other day is available so I climb aboard and program the computer to burn some fat off. The lounge chair bikes are popular with the older crowd. There’s one guy with earphones on, the wires going to a device in his breast pocket (emphasis on the breast – I’ll get to that later). I’m wondering if he’s listening to music or his pacemaker. Could be either one. The woman on the end is wearing a diamond bracelet worth more than our entire net worth. Add in the ring on her finger and I’ll throw in our life insurance policies too. Her resort logo sweatshirt cost more than my entire workout wardrobe combined. I’ve been to the gift shop, I know.

Then there’s the guy at the stair step machine. You’ve seen these machines. They’re like climbing stairs, only you just have pedals to push. I’m pretty sure you have to actually put your feet on the pedals to derive any benefit from the machine. This dude has the television on, his water bottle in the rack and he’s standing in front of the machine reading his newspaper. After a while he folds the paper, gathers his stuff, and leaves. That was a good workout if I ever saw one.

This place only has one ‘real’ bike and Mr. Adidas (I’ve named him this because he’s dressed head to toe in the latest Adidas ‘look at me, I go to the gym’ attire) has claimed it today. This is his routine. No kidding. He hops on the bike, opens the Wall Street Journal (The default, left on your door newspaper here), pedals furiously for exactly one minute (yes, I timed it), folds his newspaper, wipes his brow with the towel draped over the handlebars, drinks a swig from his Fuji water bottle, gets off the bike, disappears into the weight room for four minutes, returns to bike to repeat the process. I spent half an hour on the half rack and his routine never varied. He was still at it when I left.

On the half rack next to me is a guy, a C, with a cell phone stuck to his ear, talking away. There is a sign on the mirrored wall about eight feet directly in front of us that says – Please be courteous to other guests - Do not talk on cell phones while on machines. I suppose he can’t read and I really don’t want to hear his conversation with his wife, or whatever she is. However, his voice overrides the music from my iPod and I am now privy to his travel plans, among other things.

I’ve had time to watch a little television since I’ve been here and one thing that stands out is the abundance of commercials for male breast reduction surgery. In SoCal we get plenty of plastic surgery ads. Most of them are female breast enlargement, teeth whitening and anything else that will help a woman land a gig as a trophy wife. I couldn’t account for the plethora of male breast reduction ads - until today. As I scanned the geriatric crowd around me I understood. ‘Nuf said.

This is a first class place and to prove it they have a complimentary beverage bar near the door. There’s coffee, tea, water, and I suspect, Geritol, for parched participants. What else would explain the crowd gathered around the counter? I’d be there too if Steve or Andre was over there, but I haven’t seen anyone I think could possibly be them. Hubby and I finish up around the same time and drop our plush, for our convenience towels, in the hamper and head out.

I need a nap. Time to go watch some croquet.

Fat Lady on a Treadmill - Boca Raton

Trying to keep to a workout schedule while on the road is not easy. Adjusting to the coast to coast time change, travel fatigue, and a cold have slowed me down. Our first full day here in Florida we took a little road trip to Key Largo where we found a cute little seafood restaurant on the water for lunch and a well needed break from the rental car. Watching pelicans and listening to what was quaintly referred to as jazz was relaxing. We both ordered the coconut encrusted Mahi sandwich which was delicious, but not especially calorie friendly. Nothing we’ve had to eat since we arrived has been calorie friendly, but hey, it’s a vacation – sort of.

We got off to a late start on our road trip due to a bout of time change induced over sleeping. Translated that means if we’d been in California, we would have been up rather early for a Sunday, but on Florida time, we slept in. So, cutting short our original plan to drive all the way to Key West we returned to the hotel in the late afternoon and went to the hotel pit. They like to call it a Fitness Center, one of three scattered around the vast grounds. Lord knows, we needed to burn off a few calories.

You never know what to expect of a hotel pit, but somehow I knew this one would be up to my expectations and I wasn’t disappointed. Housed in a Spanish style building just past the manicured croquet lawn from our room, it is an imposing sight. There are two paths that will take us to this cleverly disguised den of torture. One is a Spanish tiled covered walkway lined with wicker chairs with bright cushions where sports enthusiasts can watch the action on the croquet lawn. The other is a raised wooden walkway skirting a giant Kapok tree with roots like giant spiked dragon tails reaching out in all directions. I’m not sure if the walkway is designed to protect the tree from humans, or the other way around. We actually had one of these in our yard in San Diego years ago and cut it down for fear of our children coming to harm from it.

Having navigated the grounds and made it to the pit I began to question my sanity. Why, I ask myself, am I doing this? I do not want to do this. I want to lie in my nice soft bed and just be still for a few hours. We’ve been on planes, trains and automobiles for the last two days, and the thought of movement, of any kind, is less than appealing. Hubby, oblivious to my inner debate, opened the door and ushered me in. Well damn. I was there and by lack of protest had consented to participate.

The place was surprisingly nice, if not a bit cramped. They have as many racks and treadmills as the pit back home, but alas, no high-rise stair thing-a-ma-jiggies. Being a Sunday afternoon the hotel was in transition. Many people were leaving, and a whole new crop were coming in, thus the low turnout at the pit. We had plenty of torture devices to choose from. Hubby opted for a run on a treadmill – need I remind you that I do not run – and I chose a half rack, identical to the one I habitually choose in my home pit.

There was little to see, less to comment on. There were a few people running and a few on the racks. None were doing anything unusual or appeared the least bit eccentric. What a bummer. Where were all the interesting people? Did we leave them all behind in L.A.? Perhaps they were at one of the other pits available to the hotel guests. Were we wrong to choose the one closest to our room? I must admit I was more than a little disappointed by this turn of events. The hotel is the kind of place where people sail up in their multimillion dollar yachts in November, dock them outside and check in for the winter. Breakfast for two is close to a hundred dollars. Was I expecting eccentric people? You bet.

Thanks to acres of mirrored walls I could see everyone in the place, including the ones in the adjacent weight room. Other than one C+5 woman in her designer label workout gear rolling around on the floor with a ball, there was little to comment on. I know, how can that be, you ask? I too was amazed. I was at least hoping for a hunk of a tennis instructor to come through the place, maybe even Steve or Andre, the guys listed as class instructors for the idly rich and bored. Perhaps I should sign up for one of their classes later in the week. I checked the list of available classes and decided against that scenario. Even though Steve and Andre may be wonders to behold, I can’t work up any enthusiasm for classes called Aerobic Burn, or Cardio Crunch and that begin around 7a.m., which my body still believes is 4a.m.. Apparently the idly rich and bored get up early. Who knew?

I did my time on the half rack, content that I’d done something besides sit on my back side and shovel food down my throat, which is what I plan to do for the next few days. Don’t judge me. I think there may be something to this idly rich thing and I’m willing to give it a try. If I get bored Steve and Andre will be there to help me through.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Fat Lady on a Treadmill - Day Sixty-six

I’m flying solo at the pit today. Daughter #2 is still fighting off a cold, so I’m on my own. Lucky me, there’s a full rack open today. I haven’t tried a full rack since day #1 when Daughter #2 put me on one. I lasted about two minutes and never did get the thing going the way it is supposed to. Maybe it’s about time to give it another try.

I manage to climb aboard without ending up on my butt and after a false start or two I actually get the thing going. Feeling smug, I sign on for the fat burner workout. Okay. I’m nuts. I know it, but I figure I can quit at anytime provided I can figure out how to make this thing stop now that I’ve got it going. I’m near the front of the pit so I think I can flag down someone to help me if I need to.

There are a number of personal trainers and the resolutionists assigned to them just a few feet away. One woman is on her hands and knees doing the ‘pee on the fire hydrant’ maneuver while her personal trainer sits on a bouncy ball consulting her clipboard. Along comes a guy in a pair of red and black plaid flannel pajama pants and a sweatshirt. His baseball cap is on backwards and he’s doing some hand and foot moves reminiscent of Tai Chi without any of the concentration or muscle control associated with the exercise. I watch for a few minutes wondering who let him in. Eventually he moves on and I concentrate on not falling off as all four limbs move rhythmically (sort of) in different directions.

The onboard computer tells me I’m half way through my chosen torture routine when pajama guy comes back. There’s a lady on the floor doing some of those show your crotch exercises and pajama guy proceeds to mimic her actions. As he goes into some sort of break dance type routine without benefit of athleticism or rhythm I begin to wonder where his keeper is. The thought crosses my mind that perhaps there is a camera somewhere as this is Los Angeles and that kind of stuff happens here, but looking around as best I can without falling off I conclude he is alone.

Once again he wanders off and I’m left to complete the insane routine I’ve chosen. I make it over to the lounge chair bikes, thinking I’ve earned a sedate ride around the block. One of the treadmills in the front row becomes available and two women come to an agreement over who gets it next. The winner indicated she had been waiting for some time so I have to wonder why she’s just now getting around to stretching. It’s a good five minutes before she turns the thing on. In the meantime woman #2 has found another treadmill and has run a half mile.

Pajama guy is back. He’s now standing in front of the giant mirror doing all manner of moves that in no way resemble exercise (not that I know what exercise looks like). It appears he’s playing a game – How many stupid things can I do while looking in the mirror. Soon he moves on to the weight gizmo bolted to the floor in front of the mirrors.

I have no idea what this thing is called, but picture a crane with two booms. The booms are adjustable, but at present are raised high in the air. Pajama guy grabs the hand grips which are weighted and kind of dangles from them for a while. Eventually he pulls down on them and wraps them below his elbows and begins to twist and turn. Picture a child on a swing, twisting the chains in order to spin out, only these are weighted cables.

Now I’m wondering if anyone is paying any attention to what goes on in this place. If his hand slips this guy is going to hang himself. Even though I’ve finished my workout I continue to pedal and watch. Call me gruesome, but if he’s going to hang himself, I’m going to watch. Eventually this really big, very fit guy goes over and begins a conversation with pajama guy. It looks like a friendly enough conversation, for a while. After a minute or so it is clear that pajama guy is not happy. I have my headphones on but it's obvious pajama guy is yelling. His hands are flaying and he’s pointing a finger at the big guy and pacing around.

Eventually they move toward the front door and I pedal a little longer thinking the show is over. I pull off the headphones and head toward the locker room only to find the show is far from over. Pajama guy is facing off with the big guy at the front desk. I can’t make out anything the big guy is saying, his voice is still pitched to normal levels. However, pajama guy is showing no restraint. The gist is, he’ll leave the gym if he gets his money back. Throw in a liberal dose of four letter words and you get the idea. I head to the locker room to get my stuff. When I come out they’re still going at it, the big guy quietly trying to coax pajama guy to leave.

That’s my cue. I hustle out the door before the situation gets more interesting than it all ready is. No hidden cameras, or otherwise, have shown and I’m not hanging around to find out if there are any. On the drive home I remember Saturday night was the full moon. Not just any full moon, but the brightest and largest that will occur in 2010. I could explain about the elliptical orbit (fitting) of the moon and use terms such as apogee and perigee to explain how one full moon can be brighter and larger than another, but take my word for it, it’s possible. Maybe the full moon explains today’s observations. Maybe it’s time for me to look seriously at another pit.