Observations About My Gym

Posted on Jun 26, 2022

The gym operators have three folders in their open office, one of which is titled ‘problems’.

I’m gently reminded that I haven’t leetcoded in a long while and that the days taking classes on algorithms and data structures have long been gone while trying to find a pair of matching dumbbells of a specific weight.

A guy once seriously protested that he cannot possibly not be topless while training.

You have to pay extra to take a shower. Sunbeds and sauna are free.

A very overweight (he seemed to be fairly muscular but to also carry some fat with him, as far as my semistealth peeking allowed to tell) fellow once did biceps curls with underweight dumbbells. At some point he started gasping, which slowly submerged into a war cry; without hesitation he dropped the dumbbells to the floor, only to beat his chest (pun intended) and to start yelling ‘Geile Drecksau’ (in my humble opinion there is no English expression that comes even to close) while watching himself in the mirror with one eye and looking over at my helpless existence in the mirror with his other eye. I felt intimidated, slightly put off and a sprinkle of admiration.

Treadmills are an attraction, entertainment; much like a stand at a fair, a game in an amusement park. People go onto them with flip-flops and inspect the oddity that they are. People laugh. Children run backwards and sidewards om them, flipping the incline and pace buttons wildly up and down, like the joystick of an arcade game. Good fun.

Someone once fell asleep ‘between sets’.

I once overheard a conversation from two young men taking turns on a barbell rack and talking in a way that wasn’t quite whispering but which seemed to aim at not drawing too much attention. It turned out that this was their safe space. They talked about having a lot of family problems. They encouraged each other to go seek out emotional support and to distance themselves from toxic relatives - potentially at the cost of exclusion from certain circles.

Someone once drove from machine/rack to machine/rack with his e-scooter. He constantly wore his backpack, not only while riding his e-scooter but also while lifting weights.

I am greeted with a radiating ‘Hallöchen’ (cute version of ‘hi’, German) and told goodbye with a joyous ‘Tschüssi’ (cute version of ‘bye’, German). With the blink of an eye - upon realizing a social interaction is about to take place - these giant giant intimidatingly bulky and grim human watchtowers turn into wholesome rebels of friendliness. What’s more is that for a reason I cannot fathom it has never, to the least, felt ingenuine.

Memberships fees can only be paid in - it does hurt to spell out this atrocity - cash.

There are three people running the place and they seem to just always be there - all of them. When I see them, they usually hang out on a U-shaped counter near the entrance. To some degree it feels like they hang out by default and merely occasionally run the place. They seem to have succeeded in building some sort of community. Is this their church?

They don’t have a printer and whenever there is a message to be shared - say, a change in opening times - they handwrite it on a piece of paper and tape it on the elevator door. The lines capturing the center of gravity of the letters are all descending from left to right but still never parallel to one another. The letters look awkward, as if they were high. The writing distinctively reminds me of that of an 8-year old. Do many people not write by hand anymore?

All of these feel true, some of them are true.