The last day I set foot in my current gym was March 10th, 2020 – a last gasp of normalcy before we all got locked in and locked down, eight - long - months ago. During this time, I survived on an impressive diet of cookies, chocolate, and boxed wine – it worked for me and in all honesty I didn’t miss the gym. Furthermore, I was pretty determined that my gym days were a thing of the past; but hats off to great marketing peeps who sent a barraged of encouraging emails – “Safe to come back”, “Classes outside”, “Appointments only”, so I weighed my options – end up in a diabetic coma in rehab, or get off my tush – I wrote an $85 check for a one month commitment.
In preparation, I bought new sneakers and detoxed for ten hours for fear of smelling like a winery. My excitement was building. I envisioned the wind blowing and the sun shining as I briskly walked on a state-of-the-art treadmill while looking out on the bay and being alone on the open rooftop space.
Reality is a bitch and marketing people are liars.
I signed in early for my 7am appointed time slot. After a successful temperature check I made my way to the outside roof top where I saw the line of empty cardio equipment, I was thrilled. I was happily sauntering on a machine, contemplating life, when the flood gates opened, the boot campers arrived. What is up with boot campers and boot camp for that matter?? These people gather three times a week but from the way they greeted each other you would have thought they were all returning from a 3-year deployment; they yelled, they cheered and they touched each other. And these nutters were not wearing masks. My serenity was further blown away when the bootcamp boom box started shaking my treadmill. As much as I tried to focus on my walking skills, there were far too many distractions and further questions to be asked - where were the EMT’s because the man with the keg belly was surely going to go into cardiac arrest as he dragged huge round weights across the floor? Why was the scarily skinny woman not home eating donuts? And why were they sharing mats? These enthusiasts were spewing sweat, spit and snot on their mat, then moving onto the next – petri dishes of disgustingness and a COVID-19 nightmare. As I was pondering these questions a boot camper got onto a machine next to me, one that was not 6 feet away. I mustered every ounce of polite etiquette I could and yelled, “WOOOO WOOOO WOOOO, too close”. Thankfully this kind soul moved away. I had pee’d on my territory, no one came close for the remainder of my visit but I was on high alert.
Two days later I was back at it – and so were the boot campers. I was mentally prepared this go around and decided to get into the grove of their “motivational” music, why fight it. I was strutting along when disaster hit, a new camper came too close. This time I was calmer and asked her to go to another machine – she refused! I couldn’t believe it, she said NO! Who says no when asking for more physical space during a pandemic? A BOOT CAMP NUTTER that’s who! I jumped off my machine and stood far away until she finished her 60 second round – and during this minute I had an epiphany - the gym was stressing me out, being around people was stressing me out, worried about keeping my personal space on a treadmill was stressing me out – so I quietly left.
Some day when the virus is a thing of the past, and the stream room is back in action, and the boot campers are back in their own designated area or a new athletic trend renders them obsolete, I will return to my gym. Until then, I will keep my own personal space and hang with my winning combination of cookies, chocolates and wine.