Wednesday, May 02, 2012
When Awesome Husband and I first joined the gym I wrote a blog about all the characters there. There are some new faces at this point but the crowd has mostly stayed the same. We've learned a few names. (Hint: Every guy is named Paul, Phil, or Mike)
Recently we've made a pretty good "friend". And by "friend" I mean PLEASE JUST LEAVE ME ALONE!
Let me clarify. This man, whose name is Phil, is actually really really nice. He's just also a haunt. A barnacle. A parasitic growth. Follow along as I tell you the tale of our meeting!
A few months ago, Awesome Husband and I were on the treadmills. I was running (i.e. jogging pretty slowly and nearly dying) and AH was walking at a decent clip. He hates cardio. On the treadmill next to us was an older guy with the incline at max, pouring sweat and pounding away. He looks over at us. Here follows an approximation of the ensuing conversation:
Treadmill Guy: You guys look good!
JH: Thank you!
TG: I see you working out here all the time. You guys would do great in a 5k that's coming up!
JH: Is it the O'Putnam 5K?
TG: Yeah! It is! You should do that one. You know what else? You could do this race coming up in June at the speedway.
JH: The Warrior Dash? Yeah, we're signed up actually.
TG: Oh good, me too.
Blah blah blah, this continues. I think to myself, this is a nice guy. I kind of wish he'd stop talking, though, because my lungs are about to fall out onto the floor. He doesn't stop. He keeps going. He tells me about all the marathons he runs. All his injuries. His years of training. His belief in the Atkins diet (PEOPLE STILL DO THAT!?!). Who his girlfriend is. Why his treadmill is at such an incline. And his name.
Meanwhile, Awesome Husband has seen that this situation is no good and has abandoned me to Phil. He keeps chattering. I finish up. I get off the treadmill and go do my s/t.
Little did we know that we had opened Pandora's box.
Next day, Phil waves at me across the gym until I finally notice and wave back. Then he goes up to Awesome Husband and tells him ALL the gossip about everyone in the gym. Every day from here on out, Phil catches our eye and waves and waves until we finally admit we can see him. Sometimes he comes over and leans on our machines to chat us up. He brings Awesome Husband a flyer to sign up for a race in May. He sits next to me on the recumbent bike and, despite the fact that my nose is one inch from my book and I refuse to look up, chatters for half an hour and compliments Awesome Husband on his upper body strength.
Um, thank you Phil.
Now it gets to the point where I'm terrified to walk into the gym. Phil isn't scary in the least. Nor is he intimidating. He's an old and very annoying man with no ability to discern the fact that people do not want to stop in the gym and talk for thirty minutes. But apparently he does it to everyone and it does not go unnoticed.
So one day I walk in and look at all the treadmills and I do a quick probability equation in my head. Which treadmill can I take that is the least likely to be joined by Phil? I choose the middle one in a bank of three. Awesome Husband takes the one to my right. Shortly thereafter, the one to my left is taken by one of the gym regulars. Let me set up the mental image for you. This guy is a bodybuilder type. Muscular, bald, always wears a knit cap and long sleeve shirt. Pants too, don't be perverts, guys. And wire-rimmed glasses. Kind of mobster-y. He's walking on the treadmill next to me when Phil comes by and says, "You're looking good!!" and walks away. Now mobster-y bodybuilder chuckles and says, "I see you made a friend!"
Oh dear. Phil is legendary, apparently. And this guy thinks it's hilarious that he's glommed onto Awesome Husband and I. I look at bodybuilder guy and say, "Let's just say, I am really glad you took that treadmill today." He laughs.
Later, I'm using the rowing machine and Paul (that's bodybuilder guy) comes over and he goes, "Hey! Want me to grab Phil so he can tell you how to use that thing?" I laughed and shook my head. So did he. And walked away.
I officially love this guy.
A few days later I'm using the cable machine doing tricep pushdowns when Phil saunters in, wearing his orange safety vest and running leggings. DRIPPING sweat. I mean this incredibly literally. His clothes are soaked. Visible drips are dangling on his nose.
He's also a close talker. Did I mention that?
Phil: Ran five miles this morning!
JH: Five? Wow, that's awesome.
Phil: Yep. I ran with the girls this morning.
Now, out of nowhere, Paul appears behind my right shoulder and delivers this line:
Paul: Hey Phil. This one just told me she really wants to do a triathlon!
And then he disappears. I have never said such a thing. WHAT HAS HE DONE????
Phil then proceeds to tell me why that's awesome. Why I'd be great at it. How many he's done. FOR TEN MINUTES.
I look behind me and Paul catches my eye and starts DYING.
He trolled me. AT THE GYM!!! This guy is good. Highlight of my gym career so far.
I haven't seen him in a while. Paul that is. Phil I see every single day. He is unavoidable. He searches people out like a periscope.
But the brighter side of that is that today he invited Awesome Husband and I out on his boat for barefoot waterskiing. Yeah.