The Locker Room Happened Again Yesterday. That Shit Was Not Ok.

Monday, October 6, 2014 | 0 Comment(s)

So.  I've been off the locker room stories for a while now.  I realize they were some of the best comedy I've put up thus far, but they were also tinged with a smattering of mean-spiritedness. Since most of them, not all of them, but most of them were innocent bystanders who I just decided to attach labels to and break down physiologically.  I agree that the guy who left his bathing suit hanging off the lock in front of his locker kinda had it coming, but it's the first time I've gone so far as to be that person who gives it.  I didn't convince myself that it was worth the bad karma.  Especially after the back surgery that followed. 

Another reason for the lack of locker room hijinks is that I switched gyms.  For the past 5 months I'm been going to an "Athletic Club," which in Amherst pretty much equates to a Jewish Community Center + a pool + other diverse older people. There are lots of "oy's" and kvetching.   The locker room in my new gym is a minyan of town gossip and bragging about off-spring. If you needed to explain to your grandparents what humblebragging is, you should tell them to come visit my current locker room.  It defines it. 

But today.  Today . . . today I was visually assaulted, and it was not cool.  It was a steaming sweaty pile of not cool at all.

I like to swim Sunday mornings.  If I can drag my ass out of bed early enough, I beat all the Sunday morning traffic and can cut the commute from 40 minutes down to 20.  That's a huge chunk of time.  Unfortunately, with the wife being under the weather, everything at our casa is a bit on delay as of late (pun).  Today I hit the traffic smack in the nose.  The full 40 minutes.  I was not a super relaxed happy camper when I pulled up to the gym. 

Turns out (future pun!), after swimming non-stop up and down the length of the pool for an hour (humblebrag!), that grumpy junk lifted out of me and floated away somewhere between the lane-lines.  By the time the scalding hot water of the post-shower scrub hit my back, I had re-found my bliss.  #Blessed.  

The best, absolute best, amenity of my current gym is that it has a sauna, aka. a shvitz, attached to the locker-room.  Because, of course it does.  After pushing my respiratory system to its highest gear, the damp steam of the shvitz really helps finish cleaning out my lungs of any toxins.  While I only stay in there for 5 or 10 minutes max, the sauna is the cherry on top of my workout sundae – if I liked those Maraschino cherries.  Which I don't. 

Today when I opened the door to the sauna there was a pudgy old man, probably 80 years old, sitting completely naked on the bench seat directly across the entrance.  That's ok.  While I'm not one to go wagging my trunk around in public saunas, at 80, it would be safe to assume that I won't give a damn.  He's not the first naked sitter in the sauna, and he won't be the last. 

The most curious thing about the guy was where he chose to rest his hiney.  While the bench he was sitting on was wide, three men could sit abreast without being too scrunched, it was only one story.  On both sides, the benches are stadium seating, with the upper level providing a much more thorough shvitz experience.  Ninety percent of the time, if someone is in the sauna ahead of you, they are perched atop one of the high benches.  Right across from the entrance seemed like an odd place to choose if you had your pick.   Again, he was 80, and I grant you that climbing up sauna benches may very well have been off his menu.

As I breached the entryway he joked, "Sorry, there's a line."

I laugh with whatever pleasant energy I have in me for a worn-out joke post-workout.  I hook a right and plop my weary body upon the top step. 

"Welcome to my tranquility," he continues.  

I don't get the reference.  I mean, he's got a pretty good sweat going on, but I have no real context clues as to why the sauna is this guys spirit cave.  I mean, besides the steamy atmosphere.

"This is my place of breathing," I respond.  I decide this is both the most honest reply while also matching his comment';s enigmatic quality.

I'm pretty sure he took that as a veiled, "Shut up."  It was not, but if that was the unintended outcome, who was I to complain.  I breathed.  He . . . lay down on his left side in a loose fetal position, stretched out along the full length of the bench, his Smurf house of a unit swinging down onto his exposed inner left thigh.  He then took his right arm and began stretching it back and forth in a long gruesome arc.  It was like someone photo-shopped a 260 pounds of gray hair, rolls, and saltiness over a picture of a mermaid seductively beckoning to passing sailors from her rock perch.

This fucker was doing his sweaty nude calisthenics in the sauna.  That is so far over the line into the world of not ok.  That might be his tranquility, but it's my gag reflex. 

His act was so foul even google image doesn't have any matching results for this horror.  So enjoy these guys
And then came the whisper grunts.  Exhales of exertion, letting me know that the droplets falling to the sauna floor were a mixture of passive and active sweat.  Flap, grunt, flap, grunt, rest.   Then a dry heave from me.  Then repeat. 

There was no way I could stay put for 5 minutes.  I could not, would not, be there for when, in what I imagined as a hurricane of bodily fluids, he decided to flip over to stretch his other side.  If I didn't hurl, I most certainly would have said something to the man that would pitted his visual assault against the extent of my verbal inappropriateness. 

He looked a bit disconcerted when I got up to leave. Like something he had said or done might have contributed to my retreat.   My only hope is that he was perceptive enough to have his concern turn to disgust as the bouquet of my crop-dusting reached his salty prostrate body.

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