There is a little old man that comes to the gym. He’s probably about 128. He shuffles in with his “training book” in hand, heading to the first machine that has a seat. He’s wearing polished black dress shoes and black socks that are reaching for his knees. His short sleeve button down shirt is pressed and reveals a white undershirt beneath it. His shorts match his shirt in color.
His still bright eyes probe the room for his trainer beneath Harry Potter style glasses. He rests. All the hair on his head, and there is a surprising amount for his advanced age, is combed forward as if the wind is always at his back.
He gives up on his trainer, places his book on the ground beside the machine. I’m concerned about the picking it back up part. He sets his weights, tucks his polished shoes beneath the padded roller and begins to extend his legs. He’s a pro.
As I wipe the sweat from my eyes I notice a diminutive woman about 80 something on the elliptical machine beside me. Maybe she’s his daughter. Her head is jutted forward a little in line with her hunched shoulders. She tightly grasps the set of handles that don’t move. She plods away. I believe she was in place before I chose to sweat beside her.
I leave her there after 10 minutes to attend to personal matters that have everything to do with consuming two cups of coffee before I got here and 2 bottles of water since.
When I come back out I hop on the treadmill. 5 minutes later she is beside me again. She sets herself up with her towel and something that may be an mp3 player. She starts to walk.
An older man walks in the door, sees her and waves with a giant smile. She returns both.
Am I in Cocoon?
It is late morning and people with jobs have come and gone or will be here later. This time is held for those of a certain age that have no use for retirement homes. They are active, a little slow, but determined. This is not the first time I have seen these two here. And there are many others.
Right now, at this time of day a solid 70% of the gym is geriatric. 25% is filled with people closer to my age that take this working out thing very seriously. Big guns, tight abs, glorious glutes. They probably got here when it opened and just don’t see any reason to leave.
The other 5% of which I am part is comprised of women like me who likely work at something but have the flexibility to slip away and get in a class or a swim.
It’s growing on me, this gym life. Once I got out of my own way and actually asked for help, a whole world of possibility opened up for me.
There’s a life lesson in there somewhere.