I often people watch. It's free and it can be very entertaining. I've been people watching at the gym today.
I thought I'd mention my gym visit, before you think my exercise regime is nothing but empty threats, or a figment of my over-active imagination.
So, with green track suit bottoms on, my white top and my whiteish trainers, I set off to the sports centre. As usual, the first thing I did upon arrival was weigh myself. The scales can cause many reactions - a sigh of despair, an irritated tut, or a look of fear / bewilderment. On a good day they can be responsible for a sigh of relief, a look of satisfaction, or even a smile of contentment.
Today I would say the scales caused a look of satisfaction. No change, but no gain, so I was satisfied with the outcome.
First stop, running machine. Or in my case - walking, then jogging, then running, and then walking machine.
Next thing, people watching. Who was at the gym today, I wondered to myself.
One of the worst case scenarios is actually seeing someone that I know. In the past I have spied my next door neighbour, old school acquaintances, and an ex boyfriends friend who I would rather never see or speak to ever again. Most of the time I pretend I haven't noticed them, if I do see a familiar face. I don't find the gym the best place to hold a conversation when you are huffing and puffing, sweating or trying to hold your wobbly bits in.
Luckily, today I did not spot anyone who I could pretend I hadn't seen. My eyes fixated on the young, thin, pretty girl talking to her mobile phone. What was she doing here?! It was obvious she didn't need to loose weight, or that she was bothered about keeping fit. She was far too busy checking herself out in the mirror, wearing the smallest, tightest clothes in her wardrobe, while at the same time making her Saturday night binge drinking arrangements. She'd probably just used the sun bed, looked in the mirror and realised how great she looked, so entered the gym area to gloat.
Me - jealous, bitter and old? Of course not!
Enough of the irritatingly pretty, thin, young girl. My eyes moved to the serious trainer. You know the sort, the type who look like they have stepped out of a Nike advertisement. She was dressed head to toe in Nike and running at a very impressive speed. But she made it look so easy! I was reminded of the bleach stains on my green track suit bottoms (must buy a new pair one of these days) and the slow speed my running machine was still on.
I progressed to a faster speed setting, began to jog, and moved my eyes to the next person. What a contrast from the serious trainer. He looked like he would rather be anywhere else in the world. Watching paint dry, or snails sleeping would probably have been more fun for him. His face was a peculiar shade of purple, huge drops of sweat were cascading onto the tread mill, and every couple of minutes he looked like he was about to give up. It was painful to watch him. He soon gave up, walked out the door and never looked back. I suspected he was off to the cafe for a beer and a cheese sarnie, vowing to never put himself through such an ordeal again.
I then spotted the weight trainers. Actually it would be accurate to say I heard the weight trainers. Grunting and moaning, and competing at a very competitive level, with dangerously heavy looking items. My body ached merely watching them. I wouldn't be surprised if they had received their 'Strongest man in Essex' entry forms in the post this morning, and were off to the shops on their way home to buy XXXL T-shirts, as they were bulging out of their XXL T-shirts.
My jog turned into a run, just a short run, and I eagerly glanced at the calorie counter, willing it to move to triple figures.
Next stop, the machine which moves your arms and legs, and enables you to watch a television channel of your choice on the individual screen. This was when I noticed the nervous girl. She was looking very hesitantly at the machines, the mirrors, and everyone. I wondered why she was so nervous. First time at the gym? Low self esteem from her boyfriend, or lack of boyfriend? She mounted the machine next to me and stared at the dials in horror. Should I ask her if she needed any assistance, or would that make her feel worse? Would she then realise that she was not blending in and looking far too conspicuous? Perhaps I should leave it a minute or two before offering to help her.
My arms and legs were picking up a good pace now, and I tuned into the omnibus edition of Coronation Street, to pass the time. Lost in the world of dark David, a sloshed Audrey and a numb Gail, I happily burnt off calories and watched the fictional characters on my screen. Until I couldn't help noticing that the nervous girl was banging on her machine, desperately trying to work it out. It was then I stepped in to help her.
I thought nervous girl would have been grateful for my gym knowledge, but not even a thank you passed her lips! Maybe what I had mistaken for nerves was actually a trauma. Perhaps she'd had a very traumatic morning, which had left her unable to speak and unable to cope with life? Perhaps a relative had sadly passed away, or while she'd been toasting her currant buns she'd accidentally set fire to her house?
I thought I would leave the nervous / traumatised girl in peace.
Last stop, rowing machine. Back and forwards I went on the machine, avoiding catching my reflection in the mirror. Why do they insist in placing mirrors everywhere in the gym? It's bad enough looking in the mirror, without watching my hot and tired, hair scraped back reflection, trying to exercise.
My eyes scanned the gym for more people, but I noticed it was practically empty now. Was it lunch time, I wondered, or was there an important football match on the telly? Maybe it was time for me to leave soon. In my head I added up the calories I'd lost - 668, and I was happy with that. Not a bad result for a morning of people watching.
It was time to leave the gym and head home for a banana sandwich.
Picture of the day:
Roses in the conservatory.