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It was around here somewhere

Well. The thing I was looking for in Providence yesterday was my old gym. I want to tell a story about it.

I started to put on weight in my thirties. This panicked me, so I looked around for a gym. I found one nearby, not very expensive, so I joined.

It was a kind of grubby gym. All the machines were in good working order, but the upholstery was patched with duct tape. That kind of grubby. They had the full range of equipment, but not too many machines – you sometimes had to wait a few minutes for the one you wanted.

And it was dead serious. Everyone was there to do work. Everyone kept himself to himself – mostly men, but there were some women.

I remember one very old lady, bowed over with age, who came in on the regular. She used to get on the stair stepper and murder that thing. I mean, she’d go at it for half an hour. I’ve never gotten over it. I couldn’t do five minutes.

There was a trainer to show me the proper form for any machines I wanted to use and then leave me to it. I felt invisible.

I loved it. I went faithfully several mornings a week for, maybe a year?

One day I got there and they had walled off a space in the back of the gym as a woman’s area. There was a subset of brand new machines in there. Upon my honor, the upholstery was pink!

I was horrified. I wanted to use the old, familiar machines. But if I did, I’d be taking them away from the men. But if I used the women’s machines, they’d think I supported the whole idea.

I stopped going. Then I quit. I probably should have told them why, but I didn’t. If there’s a motto to the story, you’ll have to work it out for yourself.

I’m still looking for it on the map.

January 5, 2023 — 8:43 pm
Comments: 5