I admit I felt a bit ashamed as I finished my last exercise of the day with only two sets on the machine, agreeing with my workout partner that any more would make me sweat.
The man on the machine next to me smiled at me inadvertently. By “at me,” I mean he smiled in the same way someone laughs, when they are laughing at you rather than laughing with you. Entirely different. Of course, he was sweating profusely, and he didn’t understand my workout goal.
Connie and I had begun our workout with a mere four minutes on the treadmill — because at five minutes I would start to sweat, I declared. Then we went upstairs to lift weights, doing only enough sets of each exercise to fatigue without actually generating body heat. Our goal for the workout was “no sweat.” It makes for a different kind of achievement.
The reason was this: I had walked into the nearly empty locker room before 6 this morning in time to hear a woman in a wet swimsuit say, “The showers are closed?”
Followed by “When are they going to open?” and “Why weren’t we warned of this?” and “How can I wash my hair?”
I paid attention to the employee’s answers to this woman, quizzically considering the two bags and hanging dress I’d just dragged from my car through the check-in desk, wondering how I’d missed the sign or announcement that the showers were, indeed, closed for the day.
Um. There was no sign. No warning. Not even a verbal one from the woman who scanned my membership card.
While I felt sorry for the poor employee who happened to be in the locker room taking the brunt of what would become a fount of incredulity and frustration expressed directly to her, I also felt that incredulity and frustration. Seriously? Why would anyone schedule maintenance on the showers and close them to hoards of women who typically hit the gym and head straight to work? And not tell them in advance?
“You can take a shower in the pool area,” I then suggested to the swimmer, “since you are in a bathing suit. I’ve done it before when the lines for the showers were too long.” (Seriously. You can read about it here. It gives new meaning to “you ought to be in pictures.”)
She was the lucky one. I, of course, wasn’t in a swimsuit today and thus had to consider options other than showering in the pool area wearing a bathing suit.
“We could hold towels up to shield each other in the pool showers,” I did suggest to Connie at one point, and to Dixie, who we happened upon upstairs as we headed to the decline bench press.
“We could just sweat and get so stinky that work would send us home,” Connie returned.
“That’s a good idea! I’m going to go exercise in the sauna then,” Dixie said. She left.
Truth be told, I had been thinking that no showers was a good reason to forego exercise altogether — and hit the Bagel Bakery instead. But Connie merely said we could lift weights and not sweat much. It made for a wimpy workout, but it was probably better than no workout and a bagel.
“The sad thing is that I will go to work looking better than I usually do,” I said, as I flat ironed my hair and applied makeup in the locker room. (I typically leave the gym sans makeup and with wet hair, intending to do something with it once I arrive at work but almost always failing to do so.)
My friend Margaret didn’t get the news — until after she’d already sweated profusely — and so she resorted to a sponge bath in the sink. Tracy was so sweaty a sponge bath wasn’t going to cut it. She abruptly grabbed her bags so she could head to the women’s center a couple miles away, where she could shower. Jenna was lucky enough to pass by her house on her way to work.
“The good news is that there’s no line for the showers today!” I called after them.
Indeed, with public school teachers back on the job, this week had been the first return to long-line normalcy since summer began. Yay, school. Yay, long lines.
Before I left, I grabbed my cell phone from my purse and headed to the showers to shoot the evidence. Typically, I would not shoot a photo anywhere near the showers or in the locker room as a whole, as shooting near naked or potentially naked women would be just wrong. The employee saw me, which normally would have given me cause to pause. But not today. Today it was no sweat.
“Oh, I’m just shooting this for my blog post,” I told her. “Trust me, I’ve blogged about these showers often.”