Shock and awe: Day Two at the gym

I’m walking along on the treadmill, bored to tears, counting ceiling tiles to entertain myself when what to my wondering eyes should hop up on the machine beside me but an alien from outer space !

I’m serious, that’s what I thought at first when a guy wearing some kind of shiny suit and a crazy face mask cranked up the Precor next to mine. A mugger? Someone with a lung condition? My mind couldn’t compute what he might be up to.

He spoke to me, but coming through that mask with a snout coming out of his face, he sounded like someone who had just taken a hit of helium.

I jumped off my moving sidewalk for the second day in a row – I’ve got to get someone to show me how to turn that thing off so I don’t have to bale out each day.

I looked around the room to see if help was coming. No one even seemed to notice this “deviant” who by now had cranked up his machine to high and was running. I approached the first person I could find and asked what was going on.

Turns out, he is a fireman who is so committed to his profession that he puts on all that equipment and runs at least an hour every three days. The other days he has other fitness routines which I didn’t even want to know about.

He came over after his workout and we had a nice chat. His name is Todd Palmer and he explained that he always carries in his head the picture of a house fire where a family might be trapped.

“I want to be in the best shape I can be in case that ever happens,” he said. His dedication gave me a secure feeling. If my house ever catches on fire, I hope he’s on duty.

“Hey, tell you what,” said Todd. “I’ll bring extra equipment on Friday and you can give it a try.”

“Hey, that would be great,” I said, probably not very convincingly. But on the other hand, imagine how many calories I could burn wearing that get-up.

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