Higher self-consciousness
Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2007 @ 2:44 p.m.

I know I'm long over-due updating you guys on the Chicago Adventure, but it needs pictures to tell the perfect tale and I don't have pictures yet. Soon! In the meantime:

Things I've been wondering about

1. Do people not know about the "walk on the right" rule? Because I really don't think they do. I'm getting sick of the dirty looks I get at the gym when I stay to the right and people coming around the L shaped entrance to the locker room wham right into me. JUST STAY TO THE RIGHT AND IT WON'T HAPPEN. Shit. Isn't it common knowledge that when walking down a hallway, through a doorway, up or down stairs or on an escalator, you stay to the right? I weep at the number of times I get dirty looks because I'm in someone's way because they're doing it wrong. Amblus Rules, people! The world is such a mess without them.

2. Why do I have to squeeze the gas pump, like, ten times before it turns on and actually starts dispensing gas? It drives me crazy. I gave you my debit card, now give me gas RAHNOW. I need that hand for other things.

3. Related, how long can you drive with the fuel light on before you actually run out of gas? I'm too chickenshit to test this.

4. Why climb a mountain where people get lost and die all the time? I'm just saying. Maybe a good way to avoid having to be rescued is to not climb the damn thing to begin with. Or wait until summer or something. It's maddening.

6. Who's been following Britney Spear's Worst Week Ever? Because glory, that girl needs help fast. Having a nervous breakdown in public is pretty tragic and nobody derserves to have that documented in the tabloids. I feel 2 parts sorry for her and 1 part furious that she can't hire the best help her pop money can buy and pull herself together for the sake of her kids. Jesus, check out and move to Colorado like the rest of them, kitten. Dang. I hope she makes it.


So today I was very brave and went to the new gym here on campus. I get really weird trying to do normal things in unfamiliar settings where I don't know the rules or protocol. Absolutely no matter what I will embarrass myself and instantly regress back to the sixth grade. I'll get lost, I'll try to go in the wrong door, I'll climb onto the only piece of equipment in the entire room that doesn't work. Check, check, check.

First, though, I must say the new gym is smashing. It's light and spacious and shiny and full of goodness. It's excellent all around, except maybe for all the rich students who hang out there. These kids scare the crap out of me, no lie. And they're ridiculous! I was getting off a treadmill and noticed there was a tiny iPod Nano on the floor behind the treadmill next to mine. I picked it up and asked the guy running next to me it was his. He replied,

"Oh, yeah, thanks! I dropped it earlier."

Dude. DUDE. He dropped his $200 gadget on the gym floor and didn't want to stop running long enough to pick it up. The HELL I ask you! Maybe he has four more at home?

So to back up a bit, I arrived at the fitness center and went in the door I always used, pre-construction. I walked down the hall, turned left, walked some more. The doors where the old gym had been are now closed and locked, but there's no signage for gaywads like me who've not been there inů a while. I wandered some more and finally, sheepishly followed a group that was being given a tour of the facility. I made it! I found the shiny newness and was brought up short by the entry turnstile that includes a biometric hand reader. I KNOW. I tried it and it denied me. I then tried to get the attention of one of the folks behind the counter and they all seemed to be studiously ignoring me. I finally flagged someone down who directed me around the other way and through a little gate that I tried to open the wrong way, of course.

I got my hand biometriced and I was in. I then wandered through another series of hallways until I found the locker room. I'm not a fan of locker rooms or of changing in front of people but I'm used to it, if not entirely comfortable with the process. I'll never be one of those freaks who applies makeup or blow-dries her hair while stark naked, is all I'm saying. So I change, I grab my music thingy, I'm good to go. I then try to fill up my water bottle at a dispenser that's not hooked up. Everyone watches. I climb on a stepper machine thing that refuses to work. Everyone watches. I wander around looking for a familiar machine and, again, everyone watches. Actually, they probably weren't, but it felt that way. I finally find a good treadmill and work out while watching a most excellent police chase on MSNBC. That was good.

Afterwards, I trot back into the formerly-empty locker room to change back into work clothes and I'm horrified to find it full of snotty-looking undergrads. I know, I'm in a college gym, but I still fear them. I grab my gym bag and decide to go hide in one of the shower cubicles to change. I KNOW, I'M STUPID. But really, I didn't want to deal with the looks on their face when they realized I was just going to put my clothes back on without a shower. I didn't have time for a shower! Or a towel big enough, or shower shoes. It just wasn't going to happen, but for some reason hiding in the shower to change seemed like a good idea. It was not.

Here's the thing, showers are wet. Duh. The floor was really wet and I stood there in my sneakers with my bag full of nice work clothes trying to figure out what to do. All those girls saw me walk back there, so I can't just come out dry and admit defeat. I thought about turning on the water and pretending to shower but that's even more ridiculous. I really just wanted to change, but the floor was really, really wet. I stood there for way too long and finally just threw my little towel on the floor to stand on and changed my clothes. By the time I was done the girls were gone and I was scott-free! I left, full of rosy cheeked post-workout good will and promptly tried to exit through the entrance turnstiles. Of course.

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