I've been going to the gym lately. There. I admitted it.
It is time I admit it. I won't jinx it at this point. I'm going to the gym and have been 6 days a week since the end of December. I haven't told anyone because I thought like every other time I've started going to the gym, I would suddenly chicken out . I was convinced something would spook me like in 1989 when I was in middle school and our gym teacher admired one of my classmate's pink bikini briefs in front of the rest of the locker room. "Where did you get those, dude?" he shopped.
I was mortified that my skivvy's weren't up to par! It turns out, like most things that are disappointing at the time, it was a good thing my gym teacher was not admiring the features of my basic white fruit labeled underwear. The rumors about him were not good. You can imagine.
I had another gym teacher in middle school that did not spend time looking at us while we changed clothes. Instead he coached basketball. I signed up for basketball because I was taller than my dad. He was convinced anyone taller than 5 foot 8 was born to go pro.
On my first day of practice I wondered if we should put on our gym clothes, or if we were going to just chat. I hoped that we were going to get schedules, a list of rules, maybe watch a movie about basketball.
"So.... should I put on my gym clothes?" I asked.
"What do you think, dumbass," he shouted. "Dumbass" echoed from the rafters of the dome shaped gym for 15 minutes and 45 seconds. All the other kids stared at me. I decided to leave.
The next day he apologized because my mom called the principal and threw a fit. He apologized in the cafeteria, also a dome shaped echo chamber. The school had two domes. We called them boobs.
No one sat next to me for a month, and I became a loogie target on the bus. A big yellow and white one landed on my hand and I puked on the girl all the jocks had a crush on.
Most gyms make me feel like I'm 12. I'll pay a membership fee. Maybe go a few times, and usually quit because I sense a loogie heading in my direction for staring at some dude's arm.
That is not going to happen this time. There is not a locker room. They have lovely plants resting in luminary white pots. Trim, but unpretentious gay boys are everywhere. There are even people like me, awkward geeks with wandering eyes. Today a crack lady hoisted herself through the window. She was looking for her kids, or some beer, or something. I love my gym.
When I think back on the late 80s, I think the reason I was picked on so much is because the kids, and even the adults could tell I was different. I knew I was different. I was just as interested in my classmate's bikini as my teacher was. In fact shortly after our teacher showcased my friend's underwear, I picked up a 4 pack of bikinis at Target.
"I don't know why anyone would want to wear these," my mom bellowed while waving the package in front of the cashier.