You know the scene. You've planned your workout with pristine precision. You've prepped yourself with enough fast-digesting protein and slow-digesting carbs to pull a train across town. But as you try to leave the house, you can't find your keys. Once you do find your keys, you realize you have about enough gasoline to get you 10 feet. Ugh. Ok. Gasoline? Check. So, you made it to the gym, but based on the lack of parking, you figure the entire side of town decided to train this day. Really?
Ok. You're in. But dang. The guy at the front desk is moving at a glacial pace scanning membership cards! Doesn't he know how important my workout is and how precious my time is to do it? Good grief. Finally!! You're in. The promised land. Your little kingdom. Your world. You find your locker, use the restroom. You're ready. Then you make your way to the machine your body has been dying to work upon only to find that lo and behold the person on it seems to have put up a mailbox, a welcome mat and a bird feeder. He is not leaving anytime soon. Argh!!
Sound farfetched? Well, if I'm not describing you, I'm probably describing me from back in my gym days. (Boy, do we miss the meaning?) But for all we know, the delay in finding your keys and the empty gas tank allowed an emergency vehicle a clear path to their destination. The full parking lot wasn't a bunch of newcomers, they were visitors from a local shelter that needed to use the showers and facilities. And the guy working the front desk, he's got special needs. He's worked his way through a special school to earn his high school diploma. The gym owner gave him a chance to work a few hours each day. This is his first week on the register. He gets nervous easily and he doesn't remember how to print the receipt.
And oh, the guy on the machine? The one that seems to have taken up residence? Well, he's just a guy; someone's son and brother. He's battled addiction and he lost his mother to cancer. He's single, and he's given up hope of ever finding someone to love. He doesn't know how to work this machine, let alone what muscles it works. He's just a sweet guy with a soft heart. He shows up at the gym just to be around people and to take care of his health as best he can. He figures the crowded parking lot means the odds are good that he may meet a friend or two. Someone who may smile his way, say hello, or show him how to train on this complicated machine.
"How many more sets you got?" you ask.
- Jimmy Peña