Friday, February 1, 2013

A Day at the Gym



My husband and I designated Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays as our after-work "hit the gym" days. We'd been in our new routine for about 2 weeks. He already has a daily lunchtime routine at the YMCA, with workout buddies. So now he gets to work out twice as much. That's how I keep him looking great!

I don my usual workout sweatpants and over-sized black t-shirt with "USMC Marines" scripted in blood red around a really angry looking bulldog. Eat your heart out Sylvester Stallone.

YouFit, on Mahan Drive, has a wide selection of resistance machines, cardio machines, and free weights. Though pretty crowded during the week, there's always an open machine when you arrive.

I check my watch after performing a few running and jumping warm-up routines. Tim was supposed to meet me after he'd gone home to walk the dogs. Sure enough, he pulls in at exactly 5:30 p.m.

I scan the area to see how many of my favorite machines are open and my eyes lock with those of a bald man with a goofy grin. His eyes light up, and he shifts back and forth on the heels of his feet like Gomer Pile with a secret.

Why is he looking at me like that? He looks at my t-shirt. I decide he's probably illiterate, so he must be fascinated with the angry bulldog. The man's smile disturbs me. I get a twinge of Déjà Vu. This is a terrible feeling, and I think something is getting ready to happen, something bad. If he doesn't quit staring at me with that goofy grin, Tim will punch him out. Then, the man will be a goofy, grinning, illiterate, bald man—in pain.

“Hi, Mrs. Carlisle,” he says. “How are you?”

I don't know what makes it happen, but the goofy grin fades like Etch a Sketch art when you shake it. Gomer Pyle is gone.

Embarrassment forces me to smile, but I probably look more horrified than anything.

"It's me,” he says.

He waits on me to speak, but I’m speechless.

He makes like he's using a spray gun with one hand while holding a canister with the other, "Your exterminator—remember?"

Then, I recognize him. Of course it’s him! A nice young man, too. Always calling 30 minutes in advance. Always courteous with the "Yes, ma'ams" and the "No, ma’ams”. Never late.

Then I realize why you shouldn't have your characters meet in another story. I was perfectly happy knowing him as my exterminator. It wasn't a pleasant experience meeting him, in full workout gear, ready to pump iron instead of his insecticide sprayer.

Have you ever known someone from one place and met them in another place,  which made them seem out of place?





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