My Gym Gigalo

Upon concluding the thrice weekly IVs of the past three months, I relapsed immediately into an addiction I thought gone for good.  Within mere hours, I re-upped the old daily habit.  Soon, the side effects of my excess were back.  I was dripping sweat.  I was hyperkinetic.  I was in a fervor.  I could not stop.  Excercising.

Instead of repatriating to my former gym, I decided to make a fresh start.  Spread the calories around, so to speak.

It’s okaaay, but already I can tell the new place is never going to feel like my home away from home or even my best and favorite hang.  Then again, my old gym only felt like my own personal “Cheers” until a particularly mean mean-girl turned it into my own personal “Jeers”.

Given the cards in hand, I won’t be getting too attached to any person, place, or thing anyway.  So I soldier on, this army of one.  I quick-step the elliptical.  I strong-arm the rower.  I keep my iPod shuffled and my big mouth muffled.

Even so, there is a man who chats me everyday.  He is very young.  He is very fit.  He is very handsome.  He is very charming.  He is very Fernando.

He tells me he is most impressed by my form.  He tells me he likes my energy, my attitude.  He tells me that my body is like a machine.

Now, Fernando is not the first man to compare my anatomy to a finely tuned apparatus.  Back in the day, my boyfriend from graduate school often called me a machine.  A sex machine.  He was not complaining.

These days, well, the only machine to which my body can claim any real kinship has got to be the Yugo GV, a mid-80s subcompact from the communist bloc.  No speed.  No power.  No stability.  No reliability.  Literally falls to pieces when put to motion.

But I digress.  Back to Fernando and his flatterings.  Clearly, he wants to be my gigolo.

After all, I am a woman of a certain age.  I live in an exclusive neighborhood.  I hit the gym at an hour of leisure.  I have that je ne sais “ladies who lunch” vibe.  I wear no gold around my finger.  I fit the profile.

Hey!  Get your mind out of the gutter!  Yes, he wants to be my gigolo.  My gym gigolo!

See, the fitness employees, they don’t make a lot of money for desk duty and group classes and such the like.  Personal training, this is the best way to score some shekels.

Alas, Fernando is not my type.  No, my trainer of choice specializes in Pilates and Barre.  Core of steel and heart of gold.  Her name is Jenny and she is “The Reformer”.

Even though Jenny is on sabbatical, Fernando will not be my trainer.  But somehow, I don’t feel any great urgency to tell him the bad news.  I should interfere with the right to free suave?  I don’t think so!

© 2013 Jaclyn Schrier. All rights reserved.

The TMFN Club

A jury in Florida pronounced white neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman not guilty of murder — or even manslaughter — for the uncontested shooting death of black teenager Trayvon Martin.  In doing so, the justice system found his actions in line with the state’s “stand your ground” self-defense laws.

Beginning the night of the tragedy and continuing through the aftermath of the verdict and the recent demonstrations, details of the case and constant media coverage have focused attention on apparent race-related aspects of the situation.

Although I didn’t follow the saga, I am inclined to believe that Mr. Martin might not have been killed had he been white and Mr. Zimmerman might not have been acquitted had he been black.  Racial bias and unequal justice remain stubborn realities here in America.

It’s always been this way, even in my seemingly liberal life.  By junior high, the place very much resembled one of those prison documentaries where the inmates self-segregate into ethnic tribes, mixing only when forced to share a common space for some required activity.

By high school, the students wanted to proclaim their social gang for all to see.  Tattoos weren’t a thing back then but there was a tradition where a circle of friends would make up a fake club and put it in the yearbook along with their legitimate school affiliations.  Like some kind of secret fraternity or sorority.

So underneath someone’s picture it might say “Viking Voice (Editor), Tennis (Co-Captain), Fiddler on the Roof (Golde), S&P Olympics” where the S&P Olympics was not some school-sponsored investing competition but rather the most definitely unsanctioned “Shot & Pot” tournament featuring the champion boozers and burnouts.

Anyway, it’s the senior year and several of the boys in my group list themselves as members of the TMFN Club.  TMFN?  Some of these guys I know since the kindergarten but I never heard this acronym.  Of course, inquiring minds want to know.

But no one would tell me.  Clearly, all of the friends, both the boys and the girls, were wise to the words.  I asked and I asked, only to be told again and again “it’s not very nice” or “you wouldn’t like it”.

I didn’t understand why I was being singled for exclusion.  I had a good sense of humor.  I was a world-class secret keeper.  Still, I was being left in the dark and I felt hurt.

Finally, I asked Jennifer, a recent transfer from somewhere in the deep south.

When she told me, I had to ask her to repeat.  She had a bit of an accent.  I must have misunderstood.  These young men were athletes and scholars from “good” families and headed to top universities.  They would become teachers.  They would become fathers.  They would become jurors.

The horrible truth is that TMFN stood for Too Many F*ck*ng N*gg*rs.

Immediately, I felt shame.  Red hot shame.  I don’t know if I was ashamed of them or if I was ashamed for them, but I did know that I would never again associate with the members of this particular brotherhood.

© 2013 Jaclyn Schrier. All rights reserved.

The Bombs Bursting

It was a few months after I bought my apartment when one night I hear a very loud POP!  POP!  POP!

Oh my G-d, I am thinking, this is the sound of a semi-automatic weapon.  After all, there had been — and not that long ago — a drive-by shooting — and still this is unsolved — just down the street.

I rush to look out the window —

Now heaven forbid you would hear the guns firing, you must never, ever, not under any circumstance, go by the windows where you could be hit by the straying bullets.  The floor is where you should go.  Lay down and stay down.

Anyway, foolish me, I run to the window.  I am expecting the worst.  But to my surprise — to my very delighted surprise — it turns out that from my living room I have a view of the fireworks by Stanford!

So come.  Enjoy the show.  We’ll climb up onto the roof.  We’ll sing the star spangled.  We’ll cheer the bombs bursting.  We’ll toast the rocket’s red glare.

And then tomorrow, we’ll go back to being our normal pacifist selves.

© 2013 Jaclyn Schrier. All rights reserved.