The Nice Thing About Strangers

Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.

Courteous Cardio (or My New Old Friend)

I enjoy the solitude of the vacant cycling room, until an elderly man peeks in sheepishly. I beam. (By now it should be clear that the elderly are my favorite humans and confidantes, most certainly my favorite in the gym.)  He joins me, leaving a few bikes between us. There isn’t a class scheduled, so we’re both here for a self-guided roll through the invisible mountains.

A glass wall separates the cycling room from the second weight room. The second room is the heavier, more intense, warning-on-the-wall-about-steroids weight room, but we don’t gaze through the glass all that much. We glance at spots on the floor, at the mirror across from us, listening to our headphones and picking our pace. On occasion, a grunting weightlifter catches our attention. We trade a glance–impressed or embarrassed on his behalf. When I get lost in a set of gorgeous shoulders, my old man speeds up. I offer him with a guilty, smothered grin and he offers a blink of absolution.

A man with very short shorts begins practicing his weighted squats nearby and we hurriedly set our eyes away to points on the floor. We reach for our water bottles at the same time and raise them in a silent toast.

A clearly exhausted guy comes into the room, a sweaty bull into our tea party. He huffs and puffs, he makes a show of his exertion. The old man and I have been good enough to stick to small sighs and demure forehead-dabbing. As the Bull cycles, my old friend and I trade quick glances in the mirror, polite above all else. And when the Bull leaves after a gasping ten minute trip, my grey partner and I sit up in our saddles and ride off into the sunset.


wild pony, Iceland, travel

I don’t actually have any photos for this story, but somehow this one seemed apt.

7 comments on “Courteous Cardio (or My New Old Friend)

  1. Great visual post – even without the pictures at the gym. Plus, the photo at the close is an added bonus.

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      January 12, 2013

      Wild ponies in Iceland! I wondered when I might even be able to show off that winter coat. 🙂 Thanks, Sheri!

  2. Steven Wordsmith Lincoln
    January 12, 2013

    A nice beginning to my weekend, Paige. Thanks!

  3. petchary
    January 12, 2013

    This is so amusing. Gyms are such funny places aren’t they? A great place to observe people…

  4. longtooth77
    January 16, 2013

    There is truly no need for pictures with descriptive writing like yours, Paige.I have so missed these posts! The wild pony out there in that cold wilderness in its element, in its reserved stoicism? 🙂 That’s why I think the pic is apt…i dunno but I loved it.

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This entry was posted on January 11, 2013 by in Fitness, Happiness, Mischief, Writing and tagged , , , , , .

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