October 09, 2005

Depends: The Noun

It's another beautiful day in Santa Monica, California so, of course, like the complete idiot I am, I decide to go into the windowless gym to work-out, instead of, say, staying outside and running, biking, hiking, shoplifting or any of the other miscellaneous outdoor activities one participates in while training for an Ironman.

Gyms in Los Angeles are, for all intents and purposes, meat markets. Granted, there are a lot of beautiful people in this city and I love looking at the bouncing buns of a sweat-drenched hottie on the stairmaster as much as the next guy (in fact, the next guy keeps obstructing my view) - but because there don't seem to be enough hours in a day, I want to actually work-out when I go to the gym. As a result, I joined the local YMCA.

Let me tell you about the Santa Monica Y. First of all, I'm the youngest one there...by about 150 years. The members are so old, they actually have a sign at the front desk that gives a photo and bio of the latest member to die. It's pathetic, really, but in a sadly comical way. So when I walk in this morning, I notice a photo of Anne Somelongjewishnamebergerstein who apparently passed away recently. It's a nice photo of Anne, she's smiling and looks fairly happy, as if she just realized she wasn't lactose intolerant after all and wanted to rush out to the local cheese store lickety-split. The photo looks like it was taken in her younger days, perhaps when she was somewhere around 102 years old. She's crammed into her 40 year old grey sweat suit, a bandana in her hair, grandmother bracelets around her wrists and leg warmers around her ankles like some Flashdance nightmare gone awry. I had a moment of silence for Anne, and then continued on into the gym, eager to get this workout over and done with so I can go outside and enjoy the day before anybody else dies in here.

The great thing about being a relative youngster in a gym of post-elderly is that I always feel like Superman. Practically nobody uses the free weight room because they don't have the strength to lift the bar, much less the weights. And the pool? You'd think I have a motor in my ass the way I zip by the feeble water-joggers. (Yes, that's a real photo.) Needless to say, the Santa Monica YMCA is great for my ego.

So I head to the locker room, change into my work-out clothes and proceed to do a little row machine, then lifting and stretching. The lifting feels great. Everytime I lift, I tell myself that I'm going to do it three days a week so I'm strong enough for racing season. Unfortunately, the only time that worked was the year I decided not to race. And the stretching? I'm about as flexible as a redwood tree. I can see my toes clearly. Some day I hope to actually touch them.

After an hour of said lifting and stretching my arms as close to my feet as I could, I finished the workout and went back to the locker room. This is where everything got a bit scary.

I was changing back into my regular clothes, minding my own beeswax, when I hear someone talking behind me. I turn around to see perhaps the most frightening image of my life. I don't know if I'll ever get this out of my mind...

The man was about 190 - and I'm being generous. He was standing there in the middle of the locker room as naked as the day he was born, except for the black dress socks, velcro shoe-sneakers and Depends. Yep, nothing but shoes, socks and a diaper on. Now I'm no heartless fella. I mean, I'm sorry he has to wear diapers. I understand that aging isn't always pretty...but c'mon people, this is just plain freaky, what with the shoes and socks. Are you with me?! Hell, how was he even going to be able to get his pants on?! If that's not enough, he was walking around the locker room mumbling all sorts of gibberish. The crazy thing is that it was all interspersed with random words. Things like "thrgyhst frnmy gggl abacus bluk bluk af raug." Abacus?! How high in the ranks of crazidom do you have to be to rant about an abacus while pacing through a locker room wearing Depends?

I got the hell out of there as quickly as possible - even forgot to zip up my fly.
No wonder I don't lift as much as I want to.