Posts Tagged ‘The Creep Factor’

So it seems to be, that every few months or so, I tend to encounter some sort of bizarre behavior at the gym as I document as acknowledge with a ‘Gym J. Bullock’ (click HERE) award, or as simply another story in my on-going ‘Stop me if you’ve heard this one before…’  series (click HERE and HERE).  Oh, and lest we forget the Black Mamba (click HERE).

And as far as weird-ass behavior goes, today was definitely the day.

Now, for matter of reference sake, I recently just moved my gym membership at the YMCA to the more local branch since HRH  is no longer taking swimming lessons through the original branch.  It’s all good though as I genuinely love this new branch. I like their approach to creating and supporting the local community, I like the people who work there, and I like that they let me yell at people for 60 minutes every Monday night as a spin instructor.  The only downside is that they don’t have all the frou-frou amenities that the other gyms provided, like a “Member’s Plus” change room to use; it’s “gen pop” all the way.  Now, a locker room is a locker room at the end of the day with all the usual assortment of wacko’s, weirdo’s, and people for whom there are really no words, but now that I’m without the beloved safe haven of the “Member’s Plus” change room, I have about a dozen pre-pubescent boys staring at my junk every time I change and get showered.

“Hey peanut, quit staring at my lunch box.”

Awk-ward!

Anyway, it is what it is and usually I’m there early in the morning or later in the evening so it’s not so bad. This morning, however, the gates didn’t so much ‘open’ as they completely and epically failed on a grandiose New Orleans levee scale and a total watershed of imminent craziness flooded out all over the place. I guess that didn’t sound so good, so allow me to explain…

I finished my morning swim workout as per usual without incident.  Of course, there were all the usual “swim types” to deal with as well as all the typical issues as they relate to lane swimming, but I just consider  these things now as an occupational hazard of being in the pool.  I like to think it teaches me patience.  Anyway, after I finished I made my way into the showers – as you typically do – and that’s when all the craziness started.

In the shower already was an old guy who looked as if he’d already spent the better part of the morning there.  He didn’t seem to be washing, rinsing or any other of the standard things you might expect to see someone doing in the shower.  No, he was just kinda standing there…passing time.  Even more disconcerting was the big shit-eating grin that he had spread over his face as he stood there loitering away under his stream of water.  Seriously, he was the kind of guy that my teachers in grade school warned me about getting into vans with.  Had there been anywhere else to shower at the time, certainly, I would have been there.

As it is now, the shower area is pretty small with only 5 shower heads so even if you’re at opposite ends of the shower area, you’re still in close proximity with anyone else who might also be sharing the vicinity, as this guy was.  So I returned his creepy ass smile politely (and modestly I might add) before immediately casting my eyes to the floor and started making with the suds.  Now it also needs to be mentioned here that the showers at this particular gym also utilize a “water conservation” approach, where the facet shuts off after a minute or so and therefore reducing the amount of water waste.  That potentially means that mid-suds, you might have to reach over and reactivate the shower head should it turn off in order to resume your rinsing.  No big deal though, right?  And it’s usually not.  However, as I was “sudsing up” on this particular occasion the flow of water on my shower temporarily cut out, and out of the corner of my eye I see the creepy old dude in the corner come hustled over to reset the water flow for me.

Did he….just….???

Yup.  He did.

And now he was standing there grinning at me like a total psychopath waiting for some sort of friendly acknowledgement.

Great.

“Umm, thanks?”, I offered nervously.

Strange behavior as it was, I tried to pretend it didn’t happen and simply returned my eyes to the ground and proceeded with the business of scrubbing my privates.  He genuinely looked very pleased with himself though, as if he had just something incredibly noble like assisting a helpless turtle cross a busy highway or rescue a kitten from a tree, and so he continued to harbor that weird ass grin on his face as I returned to my shower.

Usually – in my experience anyway – heterosexual naked men don’t like to go anywhere near other heterosexual naked men and we approach these situations very delicately, as if coming in too close to another man’s nekkid bid’ness will result in our automatically becoming gay or something, like one of those Reed frogs who will spontaneously change  sexes for whatever reason.  Clearly, this old guy has never read the “Man Code” as it relates to these types of exposed situations.  Hopefully, though, this was just one of the “one off” circumstances that I could just laugh off (later of course) and carry on with my day.

However, in another minute or two he did it again. The water cut out and before you could say “rub a dub dub”, he comes over to reset my water…UH-again!

The fuck?!

The water  cut off as I was scrubbing my ball sack and there he was, coming to my apparent “rescue” again with that helpful expression that seemed to be fishing for some sort of acknowledgement like he had just done me this huge favor.  Bizarre!  This time, I was less cordial and gave him a strange look and proceeded back to tending to my sack.  Clearly this was not the reaction he was hoping for…not that it stopped him any.

It’s also worth noting here that, for the record, I wasn’t actively seeking this specific reaction by purposely allowing my water flow to cut out.  No, sir!  It’s just that after 90 minutes to a few hours in the pool, and I like to give myself a thorough lathering so I don’t go home smelling like the battlefields of Ypres so I often opt to let the water cut out as I’m lathering up and then just restart it when I’m ready.  Besides, I’m all for the water conservation thing anyway, so it’s no big deal.  So, for whatever reason, this guy now felt like it was his civic dude to help out when I didn’t really need or want  it.  Suffice to say, I was less than thrilled about it.

Usually, I am big advocate when it comes to “love thy neighbor” and “be kind to strangers”, but this was fucking ridiculous.  Now the guy was simply standing there desperately waiting for the opportunity to present itself so he could rush to my aid and lend a helping hand.  On the third and even fourth time, I awkwardly smiled appreciatively, but by the fifth time, I stopped acknowledging him altogether as this was beginning to get out of hand (no pun intended) and I was getting pretty aggravated, if not completely freaked out.  Clearly this guy isn’t dealing with a full deck if his morning is spent in the Men’s showers helping other dudes with their shower facets.  That’s some fucking strange ass shit!

So, now, here I was showering with someone who, for all I know, is also picturing my genitals as a potentially nice addition to his basement rec room as a lamp shade or something equally decorative.

“Yes, that’s it buddy. Get all sudsy and smooth. Here, let me help reset that water for you. Yes, that’s it.  Go on, get all sparkly clean and baby-smooth.  Boy is your nut sack going to look nice on my trophy shelf.”

Or, worse yet, he was going to come at me with a chainsaw a la Scarface.  Now, where he might have been hiding a chainsaw exactly is totally beyond imaging but the point is, had my shower not ended right then and there I was forced to spend a single moment longer with Joe Creepoid, I might have gone all Norman Bates right there and ended up beating him mercilessly within an inch of his life for violation of space, not to mention shower privacy.  After all, I’ve seen too many grizzly bathroom shower scenes that didn’t end so well in B-movie horrors (click HERE) as a kid to not take this lightly so, now, I’ve added a new rule to my ever-growing list of Locker Room Commandments:

“Thou shalt NEVER fuck with another man’s shower facet…EVER!”

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Lord knows that the gym is a literal breeding ground of schmucks. From your typical bevy of weight room goons (which are many – click HERE), to the girls who monopolize the machines in order to take selfies of their boobs, to the guy who likes to trim his pubic hair on the changing room sofa, and lest we forget the Black Mamba.  Shit, you can probably even add me to this cast of characters as well given I’ve had my own fair share of awkward moments (click HERE).  And now that it’s winter and most people are taking to the indoors for their workouts, never mind the influx of current New Years Resolutioner’s, that pool of schmuck’s is a-plenty for sure.

For me, part of going to the gym is the morbid attraction to scope out these schmucks in their natural habitat.  I consider it as something to do between sets on my mat, and such was the case yesterday on a recent visit to the gym to complete a short functional strength and core routine after work. To say the gym was “busy” would be like suggesting that Miley Cyrus is merely a bit “off”.  Suffice to say, it was fucking crazy.  I could barely squeeze myself into a corner without also rubbing asses with either the tweener in neon spandex and the scary looking bearded guy in the gnarly, stained “Tap Out” t-shirt who looked like he’d sooner eat me than offer me a little room to workout out.  So, while the schmuck-watching was great, it was with great haste that I ran through my series of planks, push-ups and crunches to get the fuck out of there…which I did.

Now, if you think the actual gym floor has its fair share of wacko’s, than the locker room would be the Ground Zero from which all the imminent wackiness emanates, and yesterday proved no different. My basic strategy on any given day is to get in and get out as quickly as possible without making eye-contact, or being forced into any “howdy do’s”, etcetera and so forth; less is definitely more when it comes to the locker room in my opinion.  But, every now and again, you see something that will suddenly make you freeze in your tracks and gape in bewildered astonishment.  And such was the case yesterday, when I spotted this years’ winning recipient of the “Gym J. Bullock Award” for total and complete gym buffoonery.

It has to be said, it’s a total crap shoot each and every time you walk into the showers. It’s like blindly walking into a crime scene in that you’re never really going to know what you’re going to witness. It could be something mundane and ordinary, or it could be a total bloodbath.

And yesterday was a total bloodbath.

Upon walking into the showers and retiring to a corner showerhead I quickly and discretely took stock of my surroundings as men are prone to do when naked and, therefore, feeling vulnerable. In there with me at this specific time was the requisite old guy, some dude on the opposite side of the showers minding his own business, and…that’s it.  Perfect!  And so it went for a few minutes or so until another guy entered and sidled up to the showerhead directly next to mine.

Immediately, I was like:

Nevermind that there were any number of showerheads available elsewhere that he could have easily chosen from (seriously, choosing shower facets is like choosing urinals, you select the one as far away from everybody else as possible), it’s what he did next that completely freaked me out, earning him this years’ award hands down.  No contest.

At first, he just stood there under the cascading water, dousing himself as one typical does, but then he proceeded to fondle his junk for the next few seconds or so.  And not just “fondle” fondle, but literally tugging at himself like he was playing with a Stretch Armstrong (click HERE) or something.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I realize your frank and beans need a thorough cleaning as well – they get sweaty too – but there is a very specific point at which it becomes too much. When it comes to washing your privates, I like to observe the “five second rule” similar to when food falls on the floor; providing it’s retrieved within the allotted five second time frame, it is still safe to eat.  Well, in this case, after five seconds of scrubbing your junk, it’s no longer cleaning…it’s just fucking weird.  And this guy was the epitome of weird in the way he was pulling at it, rubbing it, and whipping it around like he was going to lasso a steer.  Honestly, it was very disconcerting.

But then seconds turned into, well, minutes, and there he still is…thwacking at it like he was trying to punish it for some misdeed or other.  Although it seemed like hours, I’m sure it was only three to four minutes he was doing this but, still, that’s a fucking long  time to spend playing with your genitals in a public shower!

But he wasn’t done yet, oh no.  After the initial round of yanking and tugging during which I was sure he was going to rip it off, he proceeded to get a fistful of soap from the dispenser and started to lather it all up…like, seriously lather up.  Okay, weird just turned to extremely awkward as, suddenly the shower area turned into an Ibiza foam party.

At this point, I had to vacate the premises…quickly. The sounds of slapping and flapping were simply too much to bear.  It was freaking me out to be perfectly honest.  And I wasn’t the only one either, as just about every other guy in the shower decided to join me in my exodus, so, clearly, I wasn’t the only one who thought this behavior was inappropriate.  Hey, when you actually manage to scare old dudes out of the showers, you just know that whatever it is you’re doing is fucking bizarre.  And this guy brought it in spades.

I think I may actually need therapy now.

Despite blogging candidly about peeing, pooping, the time I seemingly shit myself in the locker room (click HERE) and, oh, let’s not forget about being perceived as some deviant who likes to watch roadside animals fuck (click HERE), I am actually a somewhat modest person, especially when it comes to nudity as I’ve already discussed in my post about locker room etiquette.

In high school Phys-Ed I would marvel at the other boys who’d casually stroll around the locker room buck naked while I showered in my underpants.  Yes, I was one of those poor shy bastards.  Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against  nudity; I just prefer to keep my shit covered up to everyone who’s either not my doctor or my girlfriend because the general public doesn’t need to see my intimate bits.

Nowadays I’ve gotten pretty skilled at slipping out of a wet swimsuit or soggy exercise clothes and into a dry outfit without exposing so much as a random fold, pube or crack.  Of course, I shower and everything but, even then, it’s all business.  I keep my head down and focused on getting back to my locker (discretely wrapped in a towel, of course) and into my street clothes and out of the locker room as innocuously as possible…

…unless someone takes it upon himself to strike up a conversation with me while his monster schlong dangles in front of me like an uncaged python.  That’s  when things tend to get a little awkward.  Because you know what? If you’re naked and you’re talking to me, I’m probably gonna stare at your unmentionables.  How can I not?  You’re freaking naked, for crying out loud, and you’re talking to me about the weather and how humid is out today while I try not to gawk at your junk.  It’s human nature to stare at something that’s out of the ordinary, and an old dude (honestly, this guy was probably older than fire) with a penis you could use for home defense qualifies as being a bit on the “abnormal” side of things.  Typically, my encounters with old dudes at the Y never go well.  Click HERE  for a little reminder.

Take this most recent encounter.  Today I went to the Welland International Flatwater Center for an early open water swim which is one of the true joys of triathlon training if you ask me.  It’s just you, the mist, the ducks and the peaceful serenity of still water.  Afterwards, I made my way to the YMCA for a sauna, shave and shower before heading onto work.  Because, you know, nobody wants to smell canal all day long.  Anyway, as I plodded towards the shower portion of the program I noticed an old black guy engaged in his own morning cleanse ritual which, apparently, included lathering up his asshole but, hey, who’s judging?

I think it’s an unwritten rule that if given the opportunity to allow for a little distance to exist between exposed naked bits then it is ones responsibility to take that initiative and position themselves as far as possible from the other exposed bit.  I call this the ‘Urinal Philosophy’ that guys typically observe at ball games and such.  You don’t use the urinal directly next to another dude doing his business if there’s an opportunity to use a free urinal elsewhere and thereby allowing for some ‘privacy’, what little it may be (unless, of course, it happens to be John Stanton).  I take this same philosophy to the showers at the gym: NEVER shower directly next to another dude if there’s the option of showering one shower head over, or elsewhere if possible.  In this case, I made my way to the other side of the showers altogether as I definitely have a limited quota of soapy bungholes in my day (i.e. zero).

The guy was naked, obviously, gettin’ his scrub on.  I quickly glanced in his direction as I walked by when I entered the shower room before looking away because I didn’t want to stare at his ridiculously huge cock.  I mean, seriously, this thing was scary. Like way scarier than anything I might have encountered in the canal (for example).  It was like a policeman’s baton with a nutsack that resembled something a bank robber might be carrying had it a dollar sign tattooed on it.  It didn’t.  I checked.  I fumbled with the shower faucet and began my quick rinse.

And then:

Dandy McDinoschlong: “You think it’s gonna be hot out today?”

Oh god.  No.  Don’t do this.

Me (staring at the farthest corner of the room): “Hmm?”  Maybe he wasn’t talking to me.  Maybe he was…talking to himself?  I dunno.  I just hoped he wasn’t trying to get a very exposed me to talk to a very nude him.

Dandy McDinoschlong: “Do you think it’s gonna be hot out today?”  Damnit.  Now he had moved over to, you know, talk.

I shot a brief glance back at him and my eyes tractor-beamed back to his gigantic Johnson before I forced them to pull their gaze up towards his face.  He was staring at me inquisitively while sudsing his crotch.  I flashed back to a previous experience in the locker room a few months ago (click HERE) and, honestly, this couldn’t have been anymore awkward had the ‘Crying Game’  started to play over the muzac system.

Just excellent.

Was he lonely or what?  Why now of all times and places to strike up a conversation?  At the very least, couldn’t he choose a moment when he wasn’t also rubbing and fondling his pet anaconda?

Dandy McDinoschlong: “I don’t mind the heat, but I can’t take this humidity”, he continued.

He bent down and started washing his knees and – I swear – his gigantic disco stick plonked itself down on the floor with an audible ‘thud’.  I bet this man’s poor wife hasn’t walked right since their honeymoon.

Me: “Uh huh”, was all I could muster in response.

Maybe if I ignored him he’d simply go away back to his own shower head.

No dice.

Dandy McDinoschlong: “Yeah, I used to live in Florida so I know humidity and this is about as bad as it gets.”

My brain: “Goddamnit, eyes, stop looking at his dick! Look anywhere else! ANYWHERE!!”

My eyes: “You got it, boss!” (immediately flicks gaze to his crotch)

My brain: “Oh for crying out loud…”

Dandy McDinoschlong: “So, you going to work then?”

Me: “Uh, yeah.”  Maybe this was my way out but he wasn’t having any of it.

Dandy McDinoschlong: “I’m retired now so this is my only workout before going home to watch television.”

My brain: “I bet just lifting that thing to scrub yourself is a workout!  I wonder if you can use that thing to change the channel too?”   Damnit!  Shut up brain!

Me: “That’s great.  I’m late as it is so…”

At this point I would have literally limbo-ed my way under his monstrous black mamba just to get out of there.  I was that desperate.

Dandy McDinoschlong: Oh yeah, well don’t let me keep you. Welphaveagoodone”, he offered.

Me: “Thanks! You too!”, I replied as I made my big prison break towards the shower exit, desperately trying to keep my eyes forward on where I was going.  I failed.

My brain: “C’mon, one last looksee…”  Fuck!

This man’s phallus will forever be etched in my mind.  I probably know it better than my own now.

Maybe it’s just me.  Maybe every other dude on this planet enjoys chatting with his peers in the shower while nude, furiously washing every wrinkly nook and cranny like a raccoon on crack while discussing the weather, the local sports team, or what have you.  Maybe I’m  the weird one because I don’t particularly like partaking in conversations while my taint is exposed and vulnerable.

If that’s the case, so be it.  Personally, I don’t relish being naked in front of strangers and I don’t particularly enjoy naked people talking to me, so if you’re thinking of striking up a convo with me while you’re bent over with your leather Cheerio thrust up towards the ceiling, please grant me the courtesy of throwing on a pair of pants before chatting me up.  Because contrary to what you may think, I assure you that I don’t  want to see any of that.

As you may or may not already know, in the past few months I have been frequenting a different gym.  It’s a little further to drive, but it’s a pretty cool place complete with an entire Aquatic Center, an indoor 200m track, a clean and spacious weights area, an engaging Kids program, and a very distinct lack of annoying meat heads.  Plus, the staff is pretty nice as well.  All definitely perks in my personal checklist for a successful gym.  There are a few drawbacks in that it doesn’t have a Member’s Plus change room for gym snobs like me, and there isn’t a dedicated spin studio.  Oh, and for whatever reason, they don’t have a swim suit spinner/drier in the Men’s or Women’s change room but only in the Family change room which is a bit weird.  I hate walking into the Family change room after a swim to dry my suit while mothers are trying to dry and clothe the naked little bodies of their kids…and then I go strolling by.  It makes me feel weird and you should see some of the surprised-slash-concerned looks I get sometimes.  Anyway, it’s a minor thing and the advantages of the place definitely outweigh the disadvantages and, so, I’m sold.

However, I’ve been finding it a bit hard to establish a positive reputation.  At best, I’d be happy to just slip by under the radar completely.  Not that I go to the gym to socialize or attempt to impress anybodye but, hey, when you start going somewhere regularly people begin to recognize you just as you begin to recognize them.  We may never actually speak or even make eye contact but, still, there’s a certain distant rapport being established.  Depending on how you conduct yourself you might come across as annoying and obnoxious, or polite and respectful.  I definitely strive to be the later but, hey, things happen.

Now, you might recall my little incident last month, or what has now become known as my “post swim locker room shit story”, right?  Click HERE  for a little taste, err, reminder.  Yeah, its totally things like that that don’t exactly win you many friends at the gym but I can’t fault anybody but myself here.  It’s just one of those things.  Having a chocolate protein bar smeared all over your bare ass, well, it could happen to anybody. Likewise, today’s locker room misadventure was just one of those things, but it does bring up my first real complaint for this new Shangri-La I’ve been going to.

You know what should NEVER be played in the Men’s change room?  Bette Midler.  Yeah.  So not cool.

I mean, picture it:  you’ve just finished a tough weights workout, completed a hard spin class or track workout, or otherwise accomplished some other manly task of Herculean proportions and you’re jacked; endorphins and testosterone are absolutely coursing through your veins.  throughout the workout, you’ve probably been listening to your own macho playlist (click HERE  for an ongoing account of my own) of music through your ear buds to keep you motivated, alive and kicking ass, right?

Of course you do.

Those tunes could be absolutely anything you find inspiring (either passively or actively) but I’m guessing not many people choose to listen to Enya while throwing around the heavy iron.  No, it’s more likely you’ve been listening to AC/DC, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Metallica, or whatever else that might float your boat.  Well, a man’s man would anyway. Shit, I know a guy who loves his Janet Jackson (right Devin?).  Not that I’m judging him or anything, but as long as it keeps him stimulated and rocking the shit out of his workout, so be it, power to ya tough guy.

Personally, I was in the pool today.  Not exactly the kind of workout that one might need motivational music, but when I do long or speedy sets, I tend to hum ‘Just Got Paid’  by ZZ Top, so I’m including it as a manly Herculean deed.  Anyway, upon leaving the pool and entering the locker room I immediately noticed that something was, well, ‘off’.  I couldn’t place my finger on it right away so I made my way to my locker and proceeded to get to the business at hand of drying off, changing, showering, getting dressed, what have you.  But then I noticed it, everyone is looking at me strangely, and I back at them. We must have look like a bunch of startled rabbits.

WTF?  Did I “shit” myself again…no.  So what gives?

Then it hits me, Bette Midler is playing on the internal music system; in the MENS change room!  A little disconcerting?  You betcha!

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not a Bette hater and I have no problem with the stereotypical type of fella that might enjoy himself a little Better Midler.  Shit, I’d get naked in front of a gay guy no problem as long he observes the universal law of ‘Feast your eyes, brah, but no lookee no touchee’.  But, still, as it turns out not everybody else might feel that way.  It’s not exactly a comforting thing to listen to while in the vicinity of other naked men.  I’m sure there is a time and a place for Bette, but this definitely isn’t it.

And here we are, several dudes in varying stages of undress all trying to carefully observe the cardinal locker room vow of ‘Ignore thy Neighbor’  and, suddenly, Bette Midler comes on the radio.  It’s may as well have been this:

 

Suddenly, we’re all eying one another suspiciously and trying to cover ourselves up a little more than normal.  It’s true!  It happened!  I swear.  In fact, a few of the other guys were dressed and scurrying out of there within the first few chords of ‘Wind Beneath My Wings   quicker than I could say, “We’re Here; We’re Queer…”, well, you get where I’m coming from.  Talk about awkward!  Hey, it’s not like I requested  it or anything.  Seriously, you’d think they were trying to escape a hostage crisis, or as if I was all up in their face like this:

 

Anyway, not being particularly embarrassed about my shame, I went on about my business in all my naked glory to the chagrin of the few other fellas who were either not so quick to depart, or were waiting to see where this goes.    Maybe I should have followed suit and immediately got dressed myself and vacated the premises lickety-split rather then make eye contact (a huge no-no in the Locker Room Commandments), smile sheepishly and simply carry on carrying on.  I don’t think the remaining guys were seeing the situation in the same humorous light as I was.  So now, to some, I might just be ‘that’  guy.   Oh, well.  I’ve been worse I’m sure.  Anyway, I’m now thinking of filling out a comment card requesting a the gym adopt a “No Bette Midler” policy in the change rooms.  I wonder how that will be received?

(This post is loosely based, okay, entirely  based on real events.  I’m a veritable minefield of mockable traits already, so what’s one more?)

I’m sure it’s happened to everyone.  Picture it:

The night before, you plan on going to the gym with the kid for a light workout with the weights and whatnot; crunches, planks, lunges, and what have you – nothing too strenuous – just another typical evening on the mat working up a light sweat.  The plan then is to drop the kid off at the ‘Fun Factory’ for an hour while you hit up the weight room and do your thing.  Afterwards, you’ll spend some time doing flips, bobs and god knows what else in pool during Family Swim before heading home, a snack, and bedtime.  What could be easier?

So you plan everything out:  load up the iPod with some tunes, fill up the water bottle, pack up your swim trunks, and stash away a protein bar (gluten free, of course) in your gym bag for after your workout.  Once you arrive, you drop the kid off at the ‘Fun Factory’, get changed, and head upstairs to do your thing for an hour or so; easy peasy lemon squeezy.

Once you’re finished after an hour of giv’en ‘er, you pick the kid up and wisk her into the family change room to get ready to go swimming. Time for fun time!  You have a quick nibble on your protein bar while you get changed and then head out to the pool area for some fun.  Whoo-ha!  (Am I Super Dad or what?)

Anyway, things couldn’t go smoother at this point.  She’s happy, you’re happy…everybody is just freakin’ fabulous.  So when the pool closes 30 minutes later, you get out, get dried off, pack up and make your way home; no muss no fuss.  Everything is glorious.

The problem begins the next day.  The schedule calls for a pool workout.  No problem, right?  So you gather your swim shit together – as you do – including whatever specific workout from your big collection of pool workouts you choose to do and then head on off to the pool.  Just another typical day in the day and life of a normal triathlete, right?  Yeah, you rock superstar!

But then, once you’ve finished your workout it all begins to unravel in the change room.  As you shimmy out of your Speedo’s you notice a big chunk of brown stuff on the inside of your trunks and you begin to panic:

“Oh no, Oh no, Oh no, Oh no, Oh no, Oh please God no…”

Then you notice that everyone else in the change room is sending you looks of total disgust as they begin to slink away in fear and repulsion.  Then you see it in the mirror behind you: your bare ass is literally smeared with more of that brown stuff.  Your panic turns to total dismay and horror as you sprint to the nearest private changing stall to survey the damage.  A little trail of flames literally follows you across the floor and into the stall you’re moving so fucking quick.  However, there is little doubt now that everyone has already noticed your dire predicament.

“Fuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuck….”

What started out as a great workout has now evolved into a total ‘suck a bag of dicks’.  You feel about two centimeters tall and your cheeks are literally burning with complete and total embarrassment – that’s definitely not the chlorine.  Now what?  You’re standing there holding a soiled Speedo with more crap apparently smeared all over your ass.  How could this have happened?  Is this what it’s like to be an incontinent senior citizen?  Do you need to begin wearing in Depends?  Should you begin seeking out retirement homes?  Oh Christ.

But then you notice something strange:  the brown substance in your Speedo is, well, different.  Different in that it has…yes…it definitely has other stuff in it too…cookie crumbs to be exact.  Hey, it’s not shit at all!  Then the whole swirling, sordid vortex of entropy begins to dawn on you that the leftover bit of protein bar from the night before has fallen out of the package in your gym bag and a piece has lodged itself in your Speedo which you never noticed as you got changed this morning prior to your workout.  So for 3.5k you’ve literally been swimming with a gluten free protein bar stuck to your ass, which has now melted and smeared itself all over your cheeks.

“Holy fuckfarts!  You’re saved!  Saints be praised!”

Whew!  But now what?  Everyone in the change room still thinks you’ve shit yourself in the pool.  So, pop quiz hot shot:  what’s your next move?

Inquiring mind wants to know for, you know, interest sake…

In the past few years of being a regular gym goer, I’ve become quite the locker room observer of human etiquette and behavior.  Of course, this is all for anthropological purposes rather than, say, the gay kind; kind of like Jane Goodall and the chimps.  I’d love to say that, typically, most people are courteous and accommodating in the change room but, unfortunately, history has taught me that this is seldom ever the case; particularly when it comes to the old gaffers.  Today then was just another classic example of what the few and the righteous such as myself, have to deal with from time to time between workouts.

Seeing as how it was a slow day at work today, I decided to slip in a quick workout in the pool since my ass was too lazy to crawl out of bed this past Thursday.  As it turns out, the middle of the day is the perfect time to swim laps since, like, hardly anybody is there apart from the odd old lady breast-stroking in the far lane.  Beautiful!  It was the near perfect workout, marred only by one schmuck who decided it was better to swim across my lane directly in my path rather than use the ladder to exit the pool but, other than that, it was great; in and out, 3k, no muss no fuss.  Until I hit the showers afterwards that is…

As I said before, the nice thing about going to the gym in the middle of the day is that it’s not nearly as busy as the peak periods of the day that I normally go at, and that includes the locker room as well.  One might say it’s like Shangri-la when you don’t have to immediately go all Frank Dux in ‘Bloodsport’ and compete for locker space, sinks, or just a seat in the sauna.  It’s amazing; except for today apparently.

When I finish my workout I like to take my time in the shower, get composed, and what have you, before I resume the rest of my day.  It’s my “me time” (when I’m able) so to speak.  So I deposited my stuff back at my locker, grabbed my shower and body gel and headed for the showers feeling pretty good about the extra training day results.

Now, lately, my left foot has been a bit tender and stiff so I’ve taken to giving it periodic massages when the opportunity presents itself, so seeing as how the showers were empty I plopped myself down on one of those plastic mobility stools they have for those with disabilities, or whatever, and proceeded to give my foot the once over under the hot spray.  After a minute or so of, oh, so wonderful self-indulgence, another guy who might have been Father Time himself entered the shower area and, noting that I was using the stool, proceeds to give me a very distinct ‘stink eye’.  However, being the polite guy I am, and assuming that he might actually need the stool giving that his entire frame looked about as sturdy as a coat hanger wrapped in cellophane, I asked:  “Oh, sorry, do you need this?”, indicating the stool under my bare nekkid ass.  I mean, I can continue my foot massage back at my locker on the bench, no big deal really.  So I offered up the stool which Father Time readably accepted with nary a look or statement of appreciation.  ‘You’re welcome’, I thought to myself but, oh well.

So what did Father Time actually use the stool for?  Did he need it to sit on?  No.  Did he need it for support of any kind?  No.  As it turns out, he needed this particular stool to rest his towel and shaving kit on.  I know, right?  Hey, pops, I’m sorry if my inconvenient inconvenience has in some way inconvenienced your convenience, knowwhaimsayin?  You could always use the provided shelves to rest your effects on, or whatever but, hey, just as long as you’re happy.  So I laughed it off in my head as just another nutjob doing nutty shit – as one might expect in the locker room from time to time – toweled off and headed back to my locker to resume the rest of my post-workout routine.

When I got back to my locker though, my nice, clean, organized and quiet little corner of the change room now looked like a war zone.  Pants, socks, shoes, underwear, and assorted toiletries were lying around absolutely everywhere; on the counters, the stools, the benches… everywhere.  And seeing as how it was only me and Father Time in the change room at the time, it wasn’t hard to figure out to whom it all belonged.

According to my prescribed Locker Room Commandments, Rule #1 goes thusly:  Thou shalt not take up more space than necessary”.  Typically, the amount of space you can safely occupy in the change room is proportionate to the amount of space directly in front of your locker.  In other words: not much.  But given that there was nobody else around, I can understand wanting to spread out a little bit but, seriously, buddy had shit EVERYWHERE!  Every stool either had his dirty yellowed drawers on them, or a soaking wet towel, or his smelly old man socks, or his Geritol, etc.  Bad enough that he needed every level surface available to fan out all his old man shit, but he needed my shower stool to boot.  Fucking RI-DIC-U-LUS!  Somebody needs to school grandpa on basic locker room etiquette 101. God can only wonder what he’s like at home.  He must have either the most understanding, patience, dutiful wife, or an entire team of Oompa-Loompa’s to follow him around and pick up his shit; certainly not me.

So, with all the careful dexterity of a military bomb disposal soldier, I delicately removed a few of his garments and tossed them in the general direction of his open locker in order to clean out a space large enough to sit down and get changed.  Once I had adequately concealed my dangly bits (as is also part of the Locker Room Commandments, see Rule #2) I grabbed my shaving kit because, you know, I like to get all clean and smooth for the girlfriend every once and a while too.

But, once again, each and every possible surface and sink basin in the washroom had been left in some sort of disorder, or with a carelessly discarded towel.  Seriously, dude?  At this point, my congeniality began to waiver.  Unfortunately (for him), at this exact moment, Father Time appeared around the corner with a rather sour look on his face.  “Did you move my stuff?”

Now, I’d like to say at this point that I reminded calm and rational but, instead, I chose to channel my inner black ghetto woman:frabz-OH-no-you-didnt-0d07d2

“As a matter of fact, yes, I did.  I’d like to sit down somewhere at some point, and you seem to feel that you own every surface in the joint.  Oh, and while we’re on the subject, is this yours too?”, as I hauled out a soggy hand towel from the sink behind me.

The look of surprise on his face did nothing to mask his guilt.

“Yeah, well, I’m not your wife and it’s not my job to clean up after you, dude, so I’d appreciate it if you stopped leaving your shit everywhere since we all have to share the same space.”

He gave me that discernible look like ‘I can’t believe you’re talking to an old man like me in that fashion, sonny’  but, really, I couldn’t give a shit at that exact moment.  He can do and act any way he pleases at home but if he was going to cop an attitude with me over having to move his stanky ass gym socks and underwear from one of the stools just so I could sit down, then he was also going to hear about it. Then, just to prove my point (while adding a little insult to injury), I added:

“Oh, and by the way, you’re shaving kit is still in the shower on the stool I was using.” 

Take that, grandpa!

“Well, I’ve been coming here for…”  he started, but I cut him off.

“I don’t care; a slob is a slob is a slob.  And, you sir, are a slob.  If you’ve been acting like this for that long then it’s high time somebody told you to pick up after yourself.”   There.  I said it and gave him my best ‘Buddy, I will wear your ear as a necklace‘  look.

Fuck him.

Rather than press the issue any further he retreated back around the corner from whence barnyard he came from and I went back to the business of making myself beautiful.  A few minutes later (hey, when you look this good you don’t need a lot of time) I returned back to my locker and was pleasantly surprised that he had picked up most of his crap off the floor and surrounding area and either had tucked it in his locker or back into his gym bag but, whatever the case, it wasn’t spread out all over the locker room anymore.  Excellent!

Signed, sealed, and delivered.  Message obviously received.

Of course, we didn’t exactly shake hands or even make further eye contact, but I’m happy that my point had been made.  We all have to use and share the space provided and it only takes one slob to ruin that experience for everyone else.

So, for the love of God, PICK UP YOUR SHIT!