Friday, July 18, 2014
This is a fiction story that takes place in a health club.
Molly sat in her car and watched a young mother jog through the parking lot with a baby in a stroller . She spotted a gray haired man of about sixty briskly walk by her car holding a tennis racquet. People of all different shapes and sizes passed her car as she talked on her cell to her best friend.
“I can’t believe I’m actually about to walk into a health club, “ she said.
“I can’t believe Paul bought you a one month membership for your anniversary. That is so sweet!” said Lisa.
“ It’s not what I want, not to sound ungrateful, but I like running outside. I am so not a gym person! And this club looks huge, the parking lot is almost filled, there are so many people!”
“Just go and have fun. Call me later!”
Molly slowly walked in and was greeted by two young female receptionists who were deep in conversation. They were both in their early twenties. One had a blonde ponytail and a name tag that said Chloe and the other had a brunette ponytail with a nametag that said Zoe. They were both about 5’4” and could have passed for twins with different hair colors. When Molly said hello they both looked up annoyed that their conversation was interrupted. Molly put down her purse to look for her membership card and rummaged through her bag. Her bag tipped over and out fell a tampon, a used tissue and her birth control pills.
“Oh god, I am so embarrassed,” she said as she ruffled through her purse and tried to stuff everything back in. Chloe and Zoe gave each other looks.
“Here it is,” she said excitedly. Chloe grabbed the card, swiped it in the computer and barely smiled.
Molly walked into the locker room and the first thing she saw was a naked woman bent over rubbing lotion all over her body. “Oh my,” she thought as she tried to get past the woman without looking at her body parts that were in plain view. Her gym bag smacked into the womans backside, and the woman stood up and glared at her. She was stark naked.
“Watch where you’re going!”
“Sorry,” Molly stammered as she silently cursed Paul for making her join a gym.
She put her things in a locker and texted Lisa. This locker is filled with naked women!
Lisa texted back, Well you are in a health club. There are going to be naked women there.
Molly texted Yes , but they are flaunting themselves, yuck, its gross.
After she put everything in her locker and figured out how to lock it using a complicated key pad she looked in the mirror and liked what she saw. Her legs were toned and her arms defined from doing pushups at home. Paul got her this membership because she was in her mid forties and had a family history of diabetes. He thought she needed more than running and push ups even though he always told her she looked good. She still wouldn’t prance around naked.
Molly went out to the fitness floor hoping to see a friendly fitness professional who can help her. She saw two young men with shirts that said fitness staff, but they were deep in a heavy flirtation with some twentysomething chick with tattoos , perky boobs, and no butt.
“I’ll figure this out myself”, thought Molly.
She chose to walk on a treadmill since it seemed the easiest. Her and complicated technology got along as well as a cat and a mouse. The man to the right of her was sweating profusely and smelled like he ate a heavy garlic and onion dish the night before. The man to the left farted twice and the smell of the fart and the garlic sweat was too much for Molly to take. She thought she was going to throw up.
She got off and looked around for something else she could do. She spotted a stair machine with stairs that moved and remembered reading this was a good cardio machine. She got on it, and started walking slowly. The woman to her right smelled of a heavy floral perfume. “What is it with all these smells? “ she thought.
She upped the speed of the machine and realized it was going too fast. She pushed the slow down button and nothing happened, it got faster.
Her heart was beating so fast she was afraid she was going to have a heart attack or fall off the machine and break her head. She could just see the headlines, FIRST TIME WOMAN GOES TO HEALTH CLUB SHE FLIES OFF A MACHINE BECAUSE SHE COULDN’T FIGURE OUT HOW TO WORK IT.
Now the machine was going way too fast and she was holding on for dear life desperately trying to get someones attention.
“Excuse me!!!!” she screamed to the girl next to her.
There was no reaction.
“Excuse me!!!!, “ she screamed again.
The girl sang while listening to her ipod which was probably blasting at full volume.
Molly started planning her escape and knew her stairmaster neighbor would be no help. She could jump off backwards and risk a broken bone, but if she stayed on, her heart would give out. She saw a guy in his early thirties with the same fitness staff shirt on as the other two she saw earlier. He was smiling so she waved frantically to get his attention. He came over.
“I can't get this to stop!” she screamed.
He quickly jumped on the machine to the left and pushed a button and it slowed down. Then she realized she had been pushing the wrong button , the one that made it go faster.
“Oh my god, thank you.”
“ No problem, are you new here?”
“ Yes, my first day.”
They chatted some more and he recommended she try the pool. She loved to swim so why not. She walked into the locker room and saw a naked man! “Oh my God!” she yelled as she quickly turned her head. That’s when she saw the Men’s locker room sign. She tried to avoid eye contact with the naked man who was standing there watching her. She scooted out mortified.
She went back into the womens locker and saw her locker was wedged in between two giggly teenage girls taking selfies of themselves in bikinis. There was no way she was going to get undressed in front of these girls. She opened her locker , took out her things , and found another locker in the next bay.
After she put on her bathing suit she went into the pool which unfortunately was filled with screaming kids. She swam until she found a quiet section and relaxed in the cool blue waters. She did laps, floated and was calm for the first time today. She was so oblivious to her surroundings that she didn’t realize she was the only one in the pool.
“Lady, you have to get out, we have a code brown”, said the lifeguard.
Molly was perplexed. Her dad worked in a hospital so she knew what code blue stood for but code brown? And then she saw it. What looked like a floating snickers bar. She immediately thought of “Caddyshack” and felt like she was in the twilight zone.
She jumped out doubly cursing Paul for this horrid gift.
She went down to the locker room and punched in her code on the electronic keypad and nothing happened. ‘Great,” she thought.
She looked around to ask one of the other members what to do but everyone was naked and she just couldn’t bring herself to start a conversation.
She went to the reception desk. Chloe was studying her manicure intently like she was reading a biology textbook.
Chloe looked up and said “Yes?” with no enthusiasm. Shouldn’t she be cheerful?
“I got locked out of my locker.”
Chloe looked incredibly annoyed and called Zoe to go in with a special remote to help her out. Zoe was a little nicer than Chloe.
Molly found her locker , Zoe opened it and it was someone elses stuff!
“Are you sure this is your locker?”
“Yes, positive!” cried Molly.
Molly thought she was going to burst into tears at this point. What was she going to do? Someone probably stole all her stuff! Her car keys, purse, phone.
“Lets try some other ones. Are you sure you are in this bay of lockers?” asked Zoe.
After opening up every locker in every bay, the very last one was hers.
“ I thought you said your locker was in the 3rd bay , lower locker. This is the first bay, upper locker.”
Then she remembered before the pool she switched lockers to a less crowded bay since she didn't want to change in front of the teenage girls.
“I’m so sorry”.
She pulled out her phone and saw a text from Paul. Hi honey! hope you are enjoying your day, love you!
She couldn't think of one nice response so ignored the text. OK, she was here for a half an hour and basically did nothing.
“Screw this. I am going to go to the cafe upstairs, have lunch, call it a day, and then take a run outside later,” she thought.
She went upstairs and waited on line with six people ahead of her. She looked around and saw what she wanted. A waldorf chicken salad with apples and cranberries. Yum, it looked good. Nothing else really appealed to her . Her mouth was watering at the thought of this salad.
She was not the only one who found this enticing because by the time it was her turn, there was none left.
“I’m done, I’m going home,” she thought.
She quickly scooped up her things and went downstairs. There was now a different receptionist who looked like Chloe and Zoe but with a red ponytail. This one was actually friendly.
“Bye, have a nice day, come again!”Molly thought there is no way she was ever going to set foot in this gym again.