The “gym”

While we’ve been home this year, we decided to try to make life more “normal:” we put the kids in school, we travel on the weekends only occasionally, we got a Sam’s card and a library card, we go out to eat, but not in a “let’s eat this because we won’t have it for the next few years” way. One of my concessions to the “normal” US life was to join the local Richardson rec center so that I can exercise out of the weather. It is one of my quiet pleasures to go ride the stationary bike at “the gym” as I call it. I take my Kindle and I read Middlemarch (it’s so insightful) and I enjoy feeling the burn deep in my buns. There is one big room with gigantic ceiling fans, three recumbent bikes, one regular bike, three or four treadmills, and about six elliptical machines, plus a few weight machines and a set of free weights and benches. Soft eighties music floats through the air, or just the shush of the machines in action.

There is a group of mixed ages and ethnicities who get together for a class at about 8:45. They give each other gentle fist bumps and stretch and talk about politics and local news. There are several nice trainers who have advanced-in-years clients. They exude patience and encouragement. There are a couple of fit moms who come and sweat on the machines a bit. I can smell man or two as soon as they enter the room– time to wash those workout clothes! As I pick up my card and sweatshirt on the way out, I can see into the front room, where some elderly Asian men play fierce rounds of table tennis, joking as they bend to pick up the escaping ball.

It is a shame we have so few of these community meeting places any more. I’m pleased to be a part of such a beautiful slice of life, a holdout of days gone by.

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