Friday, January 30, 2009

The taking of mental pictures is strictly forbidden

(Believe me, you do not want to see a more on-topic photo.)

I really like my health club so far. It's very plush, it has all the latest equipment, and best of all, it's upstairs from work, so I have no excuse not to go. The process of getting into it works off a few calories in itself. The men's lockers are on the sixth floor, the women's on the fourth. (Remember that, because I like to end a post with a smartass remark.) You take the elevator to your floor (because God knows you wouldn't want to walk up the stairs before your workout), walk past the guy shining shoes, take off your street shoes in the lobby, put them in a little locker, take the key and turn it in at the desk, get a coiled bracelet with a magnetic key to a real locker, change into the workout clothes you pick up there (you don't bring your own), take the elevator inside the club to the seventh floor, then sit on a couch and put on your workout shoes. At the end of your session, you do it all in reverse, but don't forget to include a Jaaaaahcuzi and a saaaaahna.

In three days, I've run on the treadmill twice (they have 50 or so lined up, each with its own tv), used the stationary bike once, and messed around with the weight machines once. Fortunately, all of the machines are American-made and have English text and, in the case of the weight machines, diagrams. This as just as well, as I'm fully capable of simultaneously breaking both a machine and myself. A trainer who spoke just enough English (more... elbow... slow) also helped with that and managed not to laugh at me. I'm embarrassed by my hamster-like upper-body strength, but that's part of why I joined. (Also, largely, to lose 20 pounds. [Largely, get it?])

Speaking of barrassed, I've never been a fan of mass nudity, especially of men, especially especially of me. Besides, I'm taller than 99+ percent of Korean men and rounder than 99+ percent (there are very, very few overweight Koreans), so I outweigh 999 out of 100 locals. I feel like a damn bear.

However, I have found a way (or a weigh) to be exactly 100 lighter on the scales: read the results in kilograms. (Today's fun challenge: do the math and figure out how heavy I am.)

I try to suck in my gut when I'm in the locker room, but it makes my head bulge. I just try to dissociate myself from the situation, as I do when I see tanks overcrammed with fish or eels waiting to be killed or as I did on my long, long, long flight. (I'm an absolute ninny when it comes to flying.)

I do like seeing guys in the Jacuzzi reading (laminated) newspapers.

All around me, there are guys showering (both at stand-up showers and on little plastic stools by sit-down facilities [for God's sake, I'm begging you, don't forget to pick up a thin cloth to sit on]), saunaing, whirlpooling, naked, of course. Sprawling around in an easy chair, watching tv? Naked. (You think Archie Bunker ever did that?) On a chair, reading the newspaper? Naked. Drying off in a primping room equipped with skin lotions, hair, gels, sanitized hairbrushes, huge mirrors fore, aft, and on both sides, and 2000-watt lights? Naked. I'm not used to it yet, though I am grateful that, first, none of these guys knows me or will ever see me again once I leave here, and secondly, that I can't see very far without my glasses.

I gotta see if they'll let me go to the fourth floor instead.

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