Friday, January 22, 2010

Tales from the Gym: Shooting Star

I meet some interesting people at the gym where I work. "Interesting" here can be both in air quotes and literally. But this one is all air quotes.

A little over a year ago I was given the wonderful (read with air quotes) job of having the only beginner spin class. I'm an excellent teacher, and probably the best one on staff to teach the entry level participants because I talk a lot about form, endurance, goals, structure of a class -- everything a first or second timer would need to feel prepared for the longer, more hard-core classes.

As is so often the case in these situations though, this type of class tends to unintentionally invite the type of people you really don't want. They're the ones who are a bit socially behind on a normal scale, or who are there to mess around and don't really care about a group exercise environment, or the ones who think they know more than you (I'm looking at you, Ms. P.E. Teacher -- coming soon in a "Tales From the Gym" episode).

There is one woman who has been a fairly regular attendee at my beginner classes. She falls on the low end of the social skills scale and so is a bit challenging to work with. She fairly pleads for help, but when it is offered, acts offended that you would think she can't do something on her own. She's prickly in her neediness, so most of the time I avoid her simply because any interaction almost always results in some sort of weird conflict. I don't want to sound unprofessional or mean, so I won't share all the details here. But if you ever come to one of my spin classes, I'd be happy to point her out to you so you can make your own (funny) observations. Please know that I simply find some things amusing and am NOT trying to be mean.

Usually, I would try to protect this woman's identity by not telling you her name, but it's really too good to pass up. It is, in fact, the title of this entry, "Star." Don't misunderstand -- I have friends with unique names, so it's not the fact that she has a unique name that I find amusing. It's what she DOES with her name that makes me laugh. Anything with a star on it is part of her wardrobe -- a large star pendant displayed prominently around her neck, gym back with a star logo, workout tanktop with a star in the center of it -- the list goes on and on. If you ever forget her name, just look for the symbol.

The best part, though, is what she does in the middle of class. It invariably gets hot in there, as spin classes are wont to do. It's a humidity-generating activity with little evaporative action in the classroom. It gets hot, and people generally like the workout because they sweat a lot, so they think they've gotten a better workout than they would in a different class. (Not always true, but this isn't the time for that discussion.) ANYway, it's hot. You sweat. Everyone else I know just...sweats. It's okay. it's expected. It's part of the class.

But Star. Oh, Star. The first indication of her personal thermostat being on the rise is her lifting her tank top up under her sports bra exposing her midriff for all to see. It's not pretty. When that's not enough to cool her off, then out comes her hand fan. You know the ones -- like when you were a kid in church and you'd fold the program into little folds to make a personal fan. Those ones. But Star carries a REAL one in her gym bag.

Okay, you're hot. Fans work (kind of). But this is Star, so it's not just fanning herself -- nope. She lifts her arms and fans underneath her arms.

Yep. Her armpits. Fanned.

How's that for a vision?

Come see for yourself. Goodness knows I have to every Wednesday night.