I joined a gym recently. It is a special gym, a wonderland of sorts, if your wonderland is made of yoga classes, a swimming pool, a sauna, endless lemon-y smelling towels and totally free Kiehl’s products everywhere. Mine is at the moment. This hinges much on the fact that winter in New York (especially this winter) feels long and hard and amaranthine. When it is so cold for so long, I find myself hunched against it. Winter literally worsens my posture. And since we arrived in New York on winter’s very front porch, I needed a magic potion.
I sit in the sauna for up to 45 minutes (yes, I realize that could be dangerous for my health) and pretend it is not winter. It works.
I swim in the pool and pretend I am in Hawaii. It doesn’t work. Still, I am swimming. I shift the scene to a suburban swimming pool in summer. It passes.
I go to yoga where the instructor, who is some wild-eyed gal, begins the session by mispronouncing the names of some Yogis and then quotes them and ‘their poetry.’ (This annoys me and I work on meditative oblivion). Then she talks about freedom and thoughts and it gets more interesting. More on this in some other post.
I laugh in the locker room, witnessing all of the various presences and forms of body affectation. There are the peacocks, who love their feathers and grandstand about, gazing, chins slightly skyward, at other bodies. They are never wrapped in towels. There are the dogs with their tails between their legs, swathing themselves fiercely with towels and avoiding eye contact, rushing to get out. There are the people who walk back into the locker room never having increased the clip of their breath, but still wearing the look of someone who 'went to the gym.' Then there are the competitors, the ones for whom the other bodies are inappreciable; they don’t even see them. These ones are there in their urgency, with their standards and their frantic gerbil-like motions on the machines. They all crack me up. And you ask, what am I? Come to the gym and see.