Local Gym

October 24, 2008
By Davis Cote, Gorham, NH

Waling through one of the two doors for the first time knowing right where you are. The entrance is one of no more then eight feet in a square, next you ring the bell and look through the glass to a waiting ever suspecting front desk girl. Although on those rare occasions when one isn’t present such as Sundays before two, gym goers must swipe a “card” in a perfect unobstructed motion in and out. Then there is always that one old man ready to literally get his heart pumping who slams the card into the slot as if he is a world champion boxer beating the life out of his opponent. When you walk in he gives a once over but continues to obliterate his card in the slot. Finally asking “does this thing work” in his old raspy voice how half out of breath from his intense fight with the door.

When the locked door opens you smell a stiff breeze of undertreated chlorine water, on occasion there’s a pungent aroma of either Chinese food or a hint of Mr. Pizza in the air, depending of course upon who’s working. Tending to just walk by the desk with a smile and polite “hello” but continue inward. However on many occasions something is compelling to just stand in front of the wooden desk with its white countertop that everyone and their brother, mother, and sister have put their filthy hands on, and yet everyone still manages to rest their sensible fingertips atop its perch. Indulging in mindless conversation with either of the front desk girls, one is almost always to be on the phone, yet continuing conversations ring through the hallways many including the now patented phrase “we don’t pay you to talk on the phone”.

Walking down the narrow hallway toward the pool, peering into the area with a narrow gaze seeing if anyone is easily recognized, odds are no, but there always seems to be this one lady with her outrageous number of “little ones” funning around filling the thick chemical air with unsightly splashes and obnoxious unbelievably high-pitched screams from their adolescent throats. The large man perched strategically in the hot tub with the bubbles on so that none of the jets hit him directly but the residual streams of water rumble against his hairy, and boy do I mean hairy, belly. As if he is bathing in his own filth.

Turning around and walking back down the hallway passing the first court, where racquet ball and occasionally wallyball take place. The large room with its hardwood floors and paneled walls make for a great surface to rebound nearly any object including a body when struck at just the right angle. The lights gleam, reflecting off the sterile like walls as the combination of light and reflection burn holes deep into the retina of the eye. For those who have never had the pleasure or, pain of entering the court it is an experience like no other as if being pulled to the pearly white lights when struck by a moving bus.

Upon going into the locker-room you pass through a hallway with two doors, each door swings opposite the other so that no creeps can see into the cluttered rooms. The two doors almost create suction with each other making it near impossible to open the first. The men’s room is a light but not baby blue while the girls although I can’t remember ever seeing it is a lovely pink both with top and bottom lockers that surround the room like bars on a jail.

The men’s room is another experience that should not be taken lightly, and thank god that the light of the court has burned the retina’s in everyone’s eyes because what is seen in the locker room will haunt even the strong willed dreams for the rest of eternity. The old men are constantly walking around in their birthday suits, so to speak, while the younger guys actually tend to cover up when changing. Changing is like a race against time, although I’m not completely sure if it’s a race to just get out of the locker room or just get completely changed before someone new walks into the already crowded room

Once changed, finding and empty locker to stash your wealth of clothes in is like a needle in a haystack. Shoes are left out like bait for stealers. Heading downstairs and reaching the bottom with ease there’s that thought running through everyone’s head. Knowing or wanting to just slide down that rail someday but never actually working up the “nuts” to do so. Immediately when downstairs in the workout room something draws damn near everyone to weigh themselves, as if it were Jumanji, and the music made them. Yet again there is that obsessive compulsive type of guy or girl who weighs themselves like every five minuets on the dot as if they didn’t believe the scale the first time.

Starting a routine blocking everyone else out, however from the corner of ones eye, there’s that one guy, in every gym that looks normal, but stares at everyone. Then there is the most intense guy, or girl in the world, that’s on some ridiculous amount of steroids, or we would think from the way they slam the weight down in, anger like “roid rage” with muscles jutting from places that no one would think humans even had muscles. With veins pumping and the “roids” kicking in they “pump” themselves up getting more and more pissed off at the weight they are attempting to set.

The gym is a place of experiences like none other. It’s also a friendly place that often welcomes all visitors even for just a peak around. Although it can get pretty hectic in there when there are large busses of unruly teenagers or worse a senior tour bus with ninety year old souls who are ready to depart from not only this small town place, but also from this world in general. In the gym everyone is faced against there own demons for many it’s a self image while others it’s just a need to better oneself. In any case a workout is good, but a workout with friends is better.

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