I have a new Arch Nemesis.
I'm not really a "gym" person. For a long time I have professed a violent hatred toward the gym, which (largely) still exists. The gym, as many of you will know, is mainly stocked with two types of people. The first are the 'roided out guys: they spend every evening of the week pumping iron, grunting, and alternating between checking out themselves and checking out other 'roid monsters to make sure they're not being out-lifted. The other type of gym-goer are the super-fit women in tiny spandex: their favourite pastimes include tugging at their too-short shorts and trying to distract the 'roid monsters from their own reflections. Now despite having taken a few classes in gyms I still haven't mastered the subtle art of knowing what the hell to do with myself while there, and thanks to the super judgemental audience I never have the guts to try and figure it out. When you throw in outrageous fees and inconvenient commutes, going to the gym just never makes it onto my priority list.
However, I recently have found it necessary to overcome this distaste for the gym. Every year around this time, I - like most other people - manage to start packing on the holiday weight. While most other years I approach this phenomenon with a kind of depressed resignation, this year I've been trying to make a preemptive strike. For the first time I'm living in a building with a gym, and the fees are already part of my rent so it's basically free to use. While I still barely know what I'm doing, I've managed to work out a cardio routine that I can make it through without embarrassing myself. For the last few weeks this has been going pretty well, and I've succeeded in ignoring everyone else in the gym.
Until today, when I met my Arch Nemesis.
Things started well enough: I came in, set up at reclining cycle or whatever you call that thing, and zoned out to my music while trying to make it through the first half hour of my routine. I vaguely noticed an impractically dressed woman on a treadmill, but for the most part was trying not to sing aloud to The White Panda and Justin Bieber. It was when I went to use a treadmill myself that things started their rapid descent into Nemesis Town. One of the four treadmills is a little older and a little broken. The handles have broken where the heart rate monitor is, so every time you adjust speed or incline you receive a shock: not my favourite. To my delight, there were two available treadmills, though I noticed a towel and a sweatshirt on the not-broken one next to impractically dressed woman (henceforth "gym floozy"). Unsure, I concluded the good treadmill's occupant must have gone to the restroom, so after hesitating for a minute I resigned myself to the shitty treadmill and a half hour of shock treatment.
While running, however, I noticed that no one came to claim their towel. I also couldn't help but notice some more details about gym floozy. I've already mentioned that I'm no gym proficient, but even the greenest novice could see that this woman didn't have a clue what she was doing. Interval training is one thing, but gym floozie was alternating between about thirty seconds of all-out sprinting and five minutes of quick-stepping (nope, it didn't even qualify as speed walking). She would get going so fast, wouldn't be able to sustain her speed, and then would have to hop onto the side rail to slow the treadmill down before continuing. It was probably the most pointless exercise I've ever been witness to.
Now I realize I've done a terrible job of painting a full picture of what gym floozy looks like. For her sprint/walks gym floozy decided to go for one of the smallest outfits of all time. She was sporting itty-bitty high school-style hot pants that I'm pretty sure she stole from Michael Cera in Juno, paired with a spagetti strap tank top that didn't even come close to covering up her (generous) bust. So imagine, if you will, gym floozy at an all-out sprint. Just imagine it.
I wouldn't have been her biggest fan under those circumstances, but could have forgiven the impractical athletic wear and improper equipment use if that was all there was to it. It was the fact that - as I eventually discovered - she had draped her sport jacket and towel on a second treadmill instead of over the rail of her own that really cemented her status as Arch Nemesis. I mean really? Did she REALLY need to take up TWO treadmills for her performance of amateur-hour?! I would have preferred to have my half-hour run without the 20 or so electric shocks.
By the time I made it over the the elliptical for the final half hour of my session I was in a pretty unhappy mood. Still, the sight in front of me was ridiculous under any circumstance. On one of the cycles was what I can only conclude to be a lost hippy. She was middle-aged and had come to exercise in glorified pyjamas that were probably made of hemp. She also seemed to have forgotten a bra of any kind. None of these things were what really caught my attention though. What caught my attention was that she was cycling in wooly socks, with her Birkenstock sandals just to the side of her cycle.
It was at this point that I gave up on life and left.
As for you Arch Nemesis, thanks for the half-hour of shock treatment: see you at the gym, bitch.