I Hate Me, part 208,992
I’ve been going to the gym for a while now. Not in any attempt to get a “Hero of the Beach” type physique but more of a blind panic of never being as heavy as I was (the only comforting thought about gaining all that weight back is I would probably drop dead, so at least I wouldn’t have to worry about it). When I go (zero to five times a week)I get up at 7am, throw on my formless grays, grumble pleasantries to my wife, grab my I-Pod and I’m off. I used to listen to music ( a workout favorite was The Coachwhips) but after awhile I switched to podcasts. I usually listen to Tom Scharpling’s Best Show on WFMU, it’s always interesting and funny and one podcast will last about three days at the gym. The gym has a social order that I really haven’t seen since high school and have been trying to avoid ever since. There’s a group of older guys who are a cross between a school clique and a coffee klatch. They look like a bunch of ex-teachers and civil servants and they hang out at a machine where one of them is working out and chat and glare at people who aren’t in their group. Now I know that I’m probably paranoid about this but I never had much luck with cliques. I’m not looking to make friends and it’s too early to really have a coherent conversation. There’s a couple of people I know as customers from work and we’ll say hi or give an acknowledgement nod. So I turn on my I-Pod and keep my head down. A couple of weeks ago I was on this workout contraption and I was listening to the Best Show. Tom has this character, a puppet named Gary the Squirrel, who pops up from time to time and hassles people, it reminds me of a character who would be on the old Uncle Floyd Show (an old bare bones TV show, that was jersey-centric). I don’t know what it is but whenever I hear Gary, I laugh out loud. So Gary turned up on the podcast and I started laughing and I looked up and there was a guy from the old boy network just staring (this guy reminds me of Red from the Tube Bar). I of course panicked and tried to explain myself “…it’s uh….Tom Scharpling….uh…the best show….wfmu…podcast..uh….funny…uh..”. Then I realized that he wasn’t looking at me, he was listening to one of his chums on a machine behind me and I had interrupted them, then I got a glare. I slunk away and went on a different machine far away.