Let me tell you about my gym. I love to work out. I love the way that an hour or two of grueling weight training or a 3-hour bike ride makes me feel. I would much prefer to do any type of exercise outside, but by living in a city of 12 million people, my options are a bit limited. So I belong to a fitness club – the type they use in movies with 5 star restaurants, day spas, citrus bars, Olympic sized pools, bowling alleys, massage rooms, basketball courts on the roof, etc. It’s actually very nice, but at times has its typical Asian eclectic moments.
You see, I’ve noticed that there are around 500 members, yet no matter what day of the week I go, there are only maybe 5 people in the weight room / aerobic room. It’s a beautiful setup with decent free weights, great machines, and plenty of bikes and elliptical machines. I believe many people join this club to say, “they belong” for status. Oh well, more space for me!
At times though, the people that enter the weight room make for a continually interesting workout. Here’s a typical day at my gym . . .
I stroll in around 4 pm and head straight for the pristine smith machine (for bench pressing). Oh, oops, someone is using it. Ok, no problem, I can wait. And wait. And wait. AND WAIT. I swear, a 170 pound man will bench press around 30 pounds â€“ and since heâ€™s not tired, decides to do another set, then another. Iâ€™m patiently waiting, but watching in awe as he starts talking on his handphone while sitting on the bench for 10 minutes! Just as Iâ€™m ready to walk over and ask him if heâ€™s finished, yep, he ends his call and starts another set.
After waiting around 20 minutes for this guy, he gets up, sweating profusely and leaves the machine. Did he lay a towel down to absorb the sweat? Not a chance. Grossed out, I lay my towel down and lay on the squishing sound of the Chinese manâ€™s sweat soaking into my back. After a set, he comes back over to where I am, opens the window next to me (remember itâ€™s 92 degrees here ALL YEAR ROUND) and gabs again on his handphone. At this point Iâ€™m getting a bit exasperated, but keep going.
Another guy comes over to the T.V. near me even though itâ€™s 5 meters from his treadmill, and thereâ€™s a nice shiny T.V. directly in front of him, he turns mine on. He turns on the single most annoying channel found in Indonesia â€“ MTV India and blares the volume till itâ€™s distorting the cheezy tune beyond acceptance.
So between the Chinese guy blabbing on his handphone with steaming pollution pouring into my lungs, and the Indian MTV drilling my ears, I finally snapped. I got up from my machine, walked over to the window, without even looking at the Chinese man, slammed the window shut. I walked over to the guy on the treadmill, took the remote from his machine, and turned off the T.V. The two of these guys gave each other mutual looks like they had no idea how I could be so rude!
15 minutes later, I decide to get some cardio in, and hop on an elliptical machine. Things are going well, Iâ€™m feeling better as Iâ€™m 20 minutes into my workout. What happens next? A pudgy teenage Iranian girl gets on the machine to my right. No problem, thereâ€™s plenty of room. So 15 more minutes the chunky Iranian girl is just dying from exhaustion at a walking pace.
I start to notice this strange smell. A mix between curry, dirty feet, and a stench of B.O. My stomach is turning from the noxious odor wafting over to my nostrils. I realize the 17-year-old girl is the source of this horrible stench. Just as I start to almost dry heave, the girl gets off the machine and heads out the door. As soon as she leaves, this stunning Korean girl gets on the machine next to me. Alright! Things are looking up! After a moment, I feel eyes on me, and notice the gorgeous Korean girl is looking directly at me! After a second, I decipher her glance â€“ itâ€™s not one of admiration or lust! She believes the stench is coming from me and walks away in dismay and disgust!!