“I went to the gym!”

Isn’t that some news? Not that I’m as un-sporty as you might think. It’s just that when I ever think of workouts gyms are the last things that come to mind. I do them at home. Why should I throw away hard earned money for something I could accomplish with, abandoned and discarded car parts! Aha; now I’m talking. When it comes to exercise materials you can’t deny all the creativity there is around here. Why, someone has even told me some guy built him a wonderful treadmill from all kinds of bits pieces thrown all over the place!

“Are you telling me it really works?”

“I’m telling you it works like those in the gyms do.”

I should talk to that guy! Given the horribly expensive prices they charge you for exercise materials a couple of thousand birr on some ‘locally produced, material is no big deal! A year or so back a friend takes me to this elegant sports goods shop. Not that there was anything I wanted to buy he just wanted me to see for myself things I don’t usually come across. Now there was this pair of impressive looking dumbbells.

“Don’t they look great?” he was not asking me; he was mocking me and he was having a good laugh. “Yes they look great.” Now there was this pretty girl who looks she has just dropped off the cover of Vogue or some magazine where all the photos look like the subjects were under court order not put on anything on 85 per cent of their body!

“How much do these dumbbells cost?” he asks her.

What I liked about that young girl was that, when she told us the price it was like she expected to start digging into our pockets! Well, we can’t let anyone who might have overheard to come barging in with “I’ll take them!” She answers, “Fifty thousand birr.” Just like that. My friend looked at me with that mischievous smile and whatever he saw on wasn’t anything near to nice. Trying to suppress his smile he grabbed my arm, “Let’s go!”

Maybe he was defending me from whatever nature might throw my way. You know, like losing consciousness for half a day or so. Me coughing up fifty grand for a pair of dumbbells! No way! It’s never going to happen. Not even if the lottery people give me that twenty million birr grand prize! All you’ve to do is dial one of those mechanic friends of yours and tell them, “Look, I need a pair of dumbbells. Don’t you have any discarded parts…?” He doesn’t even let you go through the whole sentence. “You don’t have to call. All you’ve to do is come and pick them anytime you like!” Isn’t that wonderful? Your mechanic friend makes it sound you were asking for the most trivial of things.

So, I was telling you a year or so after my fifty thousand birr shock this very friend takes me to the gym where he was a member for two and a half grand or so a month. Of course, my friend being sort of well-heeled money to a certain extent was no news. Two and a half grand a month is nor about membership payment of this place or that for many of us. It’s the family budget for the entire month! So, this friend of mine was trying to show me what kind of world those places were. Yes, gyms are ‘kinds of worlds’ by themselves! He wanted me to see the crowd. Yes that was what I went for, to see the crowd; and I did what I see instead! THE CROWD! It appears Everyone knows everyone. Well for the out-of-place intruder like me it looked like everyone knew everyone else! You know; like a big, extended family sort of scenario.

It wasn’t a place where anybody walked in just like that. The front desk cute young ladies were told I was there to look around since I had plans to join the gym. The ruse worked. I was issued the pass and in I go. OMG! Don’t blame me if some images from Hollywood movies flashed across my mind! In fact if I had had some shots of gin or something as uncompromising I might have looked for Angelina Jolie!

Look, we hear so many stories about gyms in town. And I have to admit that as there are wonderful stories that tempt you to dream of join one of them once upon a time, there are others which practically scare you away.

What kind of questions should I be asking his friends? “Can you guys tell me about what you eat and drink after work out?” I can tell you what the general unsaid reaction would be; “Who brought this moron into this palace?” You don’t ask such people about diet. “So what kind of food do you eat after work out?” No you don’t say any such thing; these people created the concept diet!

The last time I went to a place where there more skin meets the eyes than clothes was… wait a minute I can’t recall! Or to put it better trying to explain that I might make it sound as if I was hosting reality show spilling all the beans, my bans too! ha!

Yes, “I went to the gym!” and I have every intention of another visit for reasons which aren’t public material! Not yet, anyway.

The February 6/2022

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