Hello blog-reading person
Following on from my last post, I just wanted to quickly tell you about something else that happened in the hotel gym, in the faint hope that the act of putting it down in writing will somehow exorcise the godawful memory of what happened (it won’t).
So, this was my second or third trip to the gym. I was enjoying these visits, and I was also very keen to offset at least some of the damage caused by the daily excesses of the breakfast buffet1.
I popped my towel, phone and water bottle onto a windowsill in front of the row of cardio machines, and then got started on my huffy-puffy haphazard routine. After forty or so minutes, I called it a day and went to grab my stuff from the windowsill. There were a couple of people having a chat and blocking my path, so a simple “excuse me” was all that stood between me and getting out of the gym and back into the pool (bar).
Social awkwardness took over and, rather than interrupting the flow of their conversation, I decided to instead go the long way round and squeeze myself between a couple of elliptical cross-trainers shuffling sideways, like a sweaty crab, to the windowsill. This would be a stupid, pointless thing to do, even if it went according to plan.
It didn’t go according to plan.
I’ve heard that cats use their whiskers to gauge the width of spaces, and that if you trim them it can result in your feline chum misjudging gaps and getting stuck. Well, it turns out that having a pre-workout G&T can have precisely the same effect on humans. I turned and sidled between the two cross-trainers, and by the time I realised that the space was too narrow for my husky frame, it was already too late. I pushed and I pushed but I couldn’t squeeze through. The gym was pretty busy by now, and I could feel all eyes on me. Maybe they thought I was some sort of entertainment laid on by the hotel management. A chunky little clown sent to caper for their amusement. I tried to keep pushing through, but the handles of the machines were angled, and I just ended up wedging myself even more firmly. This wasn’t going to work. My only option was to pull out, even though this would highlight my failure, like someone aborting an attempt at parallel parking in front of an audience of grinning workmen.
I squeezed back out from between the machines (with an imagined “pop” sound2). It should have ended there. The gossiping pair had moved and were no longer in the way of my stuff. I should have just grabbed it and got the hell out of dodge. But for reasons that I still can’t even begin to understand, I decided that I’d have another go. What was I thinking? That my first attempt had burned off just the right amount of calories to slim me down enough to slip on through like a greased eel? Was I hoping that the natural movement of planetary tectonic plates had increased the gap in the last ten seconds? Or did I now see these machines as an enemy that had to be overcome at any cost?
Anyway, I tried a second time, and I got stuck a second time. For a long moment, I considered just styling it out, and repeatedly squeezing back and forth between the machines in the hope that people might just think that it was part of an innovative new exercise routine3.
Thankfully, I went for the long-overdue sensible option and just walked round to grab my kit like I should have done in the first place. As I left the gym, I found myself hoping that nobody had really paid attention to my clumsy shenanigans.
Who was I kidding? If I’d seen someone do that, I would have literally talked about nothing else for months afterwards.