It’s that time of the decade again.
That time where the smell of industrial strength disinfectant and sweat fills your nostrils, and the thudding from extended version dance numbers rattle your brain.
It’s that time, gym time.
Every eight years or so I realise that I’m probably 2 bacon sandwiches away from a stroke, and that I might be well served by shedding a kilo or fifteen. So, once again, I‘ve reactivated my gym membership and taken to abusing myself on a semi-regular basis, no easy task considering the minor fact that I hate gyms and everything about them.
I hate the tall, tanned, muscular, floppy haired, bleach toothed staff gleefully welcoming me when I’d rather be entering the fourth circle of hell, and cheerfully waving me goodbye when I could willingly collapse on the floor before them, pleading into their laces for hydration.
I hate the protein shakes and vegetable juices and health snacks that they peddle, tempting me with myths of flavour and satisfaction, before only delivering a taste comparable to the urine of a malnourished cat, and a hollowness that walks hand-in-sweaty hand with ‘healthy living’.
I hate the humanity of the changing rooms. I despair knowing that the 87% of Europe’s hair gel sales seem to be generated from my city, I dread leaving with the aroma of fourteen different 3-for-1 offer deodorants clinging to my person, and I really could live out my days quite happily without ever seeing an elderly man blow-dry his genitalia.
I hate the physical pain; I’ve seriously considered sleeping on the couch because my knees insist the stairs would kill them. I’m sure something is wrong, when, for two days after a visit, scratching the back of your head is a physically impossible muscular movement. In reality, using toilet paper as intended should never be rendered optional due to stiffness, and when there’s more groaning to be heard from you exiting a car than in an average porn movie, things have gone amiss.
More than all of this, the hideously beautiful people, the poison they offer me, the mental scarring caused by strangers’ personal hygiene practices, and the physical torture, I hate the enthusiasm.
The enthusiasm in this place just oozes, akin to the pus from an infected rat-bite, unfortunately.
Everything there is enthusiastic. Everything from the blindingly cheery welcome, to the bass notes urging everyone to ‘step to the beat’, to the smiling, clapping encouragement from instructors prowling the floors like monkeys in a safari park, leaping into your face when you are at breaking point on the wrong end of thirty kilos.
I don’t think enthusiasm suits Irish people, we don’t wear it well, the closest we come is inappropriate excitement when disused buildings catch fire.
Jaaaaysus she’s really blazing now Tommy!
A little on the demented side of the fence for my liking.
I can’t try to be enthusiastic about anything without thinking I’m trying to sell myself something I already own. If I attempted to speak positively about spending twenty minutes on a treadmill or lifting any weight heavier than three pints, I would feel like a Jehova’s Witness calling to my own front door during supper.
So, I go because I have to. I go because, in short, biology and genetics have conspired to ensure that unless I exercise regularly, I’ll expand and die.
Basically, I go to stay alive. Just don’t expect me to be happy about it.