A Gym Truce

Monday, August 13, 2012

There has been a bit of rivalry between me and the homosexual anesthesiologist in my building.  This began around September of 2010 when I let Mr. Kili into the pool at The Rienzi.  I had just returned to Texas after a 4 month stint with an NGO in Ghana that ended with a powerfully parasitic illness.  I was happily playing with Kili in the pool of our apartment when a conservatively flamboyant and well exercised short man came outside in a huffy rage.

gay anesthesiologist: 'You're not allowed to have dogs in the pool here.'

me: 'Ummm.'

gay anesthesiologist: 'You don't get special privileges.  I have dogs too and I don't let them in the pool!'

'i didn't do it,' says Kili.

I paused to ponder the fact that this man had seen me from his window/balcony.  He found the rules governing the pool to be so compelling, so sacred, that he was unable to passively observe them being violated.  No sir.

me: 'Umm, okay.'

I then brought Kili over to a pool chair to sit next to me.  This man continued to stare at me, his hips cocked to the side with an air of impatient frustration.

gay anesthesiologist: 'He's not allowed to be in the pool area at all.'

I ignored him at that point and took Kili upstairs 10 minutes later.

This past January I was working out in our lovely little apartment gym.  Being 5 months pregnant, my workout was reduced to walking with purpose on the treadmill.  The huffy short man walks in at around 4pm wearing bright blue scrubs.  I know that he recognizes me, so I attempt to make friendly conversation.

me: 'Do you work out here often?'

gay anesthesiologist: 'Just right after work so that I can have some quiet time to myself.'

I decide not to take the hint.  I am determined to alleviate the tension in this small gym.

me: 'Oh, are you a Doctor?'

gay anesthesiologist: 'An anesthesiologist.  I graduated first in my class from Harvard med.'

I don't really know how to respond to this.  I think it's very lame of him to lay his credentials out so quickly.  I hadn't asked him where he went to medical school, and I certainly hadn't asked to hear about his report card.

me: 'Oh, that's really cool.  I'm pregnant.'

I thought that maybe this would inspire him to say something like 'Oh, I have done epidurals before,' or 'My partner is an OBGYN' or something.  Anything.


I finish my workout (in the midst of opaque tension) while skeptically pondering the validity of his alleged achievement at Harvard.  If someone has finished first in their class at Harvard Medical School, would they feel the need to tell anyone who will listen?  I would think that this kind of achievement would elevate their self-esteem to a point where they wouldn't need to get recognition from relative strangers.  Perhaps he simply wanted to assert his superiority over me.

Since these little episodes, I have seen the gay anesthesiologist around the building and in the gym.  We have dutifully and purposefully ignored one another while trying to seem cool.  I have thought about trying to make small talk again, but have repeatedly decided against it once I remember that he is a rude poser with no life.

Until yesterday.  I park Poppy's bugaboo next to my treadmill in our little gym, mute the TV, and put on the Olympics.  It's that event where girls are dancing around gymnastically while throwing balls to one another.  It's impressive.  I begin my fast walk at an incline while quizzing myself with French flashcards.

I see that someone is coming into the gym and instinctively do a little wave before realizing who this person is.  I realize that it's the gay anesthesiologist, but decide to follow through with the wave that is already in motion.  I smile.  He gives me an obligatory wave back.  I mean, does he really have a choice?  If he hadn't waved back, the tension in the gym would be at code red and one of us would have had to leave.  And who wants to leave without getting a workout in if they've already conquered inertia and arrived at the gym?

I have 20 minutes left in my 60 minute workout.  I run half of it and walk half of it.  Once I've finished, I gently begin to load my stuff onto Poppy's bugaboo.  As I'm getting off the treadmill the gay anesthesiologist says:

'You have the quietest baby ever.'

He is just sitting there, blinking innocently on the workout bench.  I'm truly shocked by this friendly compliment, so I ask him to repeat it just to make sure.

gay anesthesiologist : 'You have the quietest baby ever.'  

me: 'Oh, yea.  She's amazing.  She's been sleeping thought the night since like 5 or 6 weeks old.  Mommy's gotta work out, so she comes with me.'  

gay anesthesiologist: 'The noise is probably very soothing to her since you worked out while you were pregnant.  It's likely that she remembers the sounds.'  

me: 'I hadn't thought of that.  That makes a lot of sense.  Hm.'

gay anesthesiologist: 'Have a good day.'  

As Poppy and I leave I'm satisfied that there need no longer be tension in the gym due to my nearly involuntary southern friendliness.  I was also happy to discover yet another reason to workout (read: walk quickly on the treadmill) whilst one is preggers.  I knew that this guy had some interesting medical tidbits to share with a pregnant woman-

the rienzi gym
i work out

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