Wednesday, November 21, 2007

So I'm At The Gym The Other Day

First I should say, by way of explanation, that my particular gym is very popular with the retired, “golden age of living” crowd. In fact, I’d venture a guess that 60 and over’s make up a good 40% or more of the total membership. Which, don’t get me wrong, I think is great. I’m all for the pursuit of continued physical fitness into the twilight years. Good on ‘em! Plus, you know, the muffled chorus of tooting and squishing they tend to produce during some of the more strenuous Pilates maneuvers adds a certain element of, shall we say, ‘whimsy’ to an otherwise now routine class for me. No complaints. I love how they’re never too busy, too engrossed in a task to stop and chat with whomever about the weather, their grandchildren, the good old days when a cup of coffee cost less then one kroner and anyone suggesting they try some yoga in the living room would have been run out of the village as a heretic and a pervert. Doesn’t matter about what really, they just love to talk. And it doesn’t matter where or when either. Could be in the lobby right in front of the check in. Could be in a cluster near the treadmills where the noise of the machines makes it necessary to talk extra loud in order to be understood. Could be, as we shall see, in the locker rooms.

So there I am Monday morning—post workout—sweaty, vile, and ready for a shower. I slink into the dressing room all limber and lithe after an hour of Pilates, round the corner to where my locker is, and bump smack into a clutch of 10 or 12 of the cluckiest old hens you’d ever hope to meet—all in various stages of undress. Charming, think I, all selfless good cheer and forbearance, a clothing optional bee of some sort, how cute. It only takes a couple “ahem’s” and an “excuse me” to get to my locker. After that, it’s a few mumbled “oops, sorry’s” and “no really, I’ll just step over here maybe’s” to retrieve my bag and towels, and squeeze past them into the shower room. Honestly, they barely registered my clumsy intrusion, so engrossed were they in their congress.

One of them, it seems, is a knitter. Who am I kidding, more than likely ALL of them are knitters of at least some ability, this is Norway after all. But one of them has brought her entire cache of knitted hats, scarves, gloves and knickers for all I know, and is using the bench right in front of my locker as a display table to show them off. She could not have found a more enthusiastic and appreciative audience in a Dickens novel. They manage to ooh and ah and haggle over prices for the entire time it took me to shower, sauna, dress, dry my hair, and slap on a bit of make-up—a good 30 minutes at least.

But here’s the thing—the hitch, the crux, the reason I’m bothering to mention it at all—in all that time, not one of them bothered to, you know, get dressed. Some had bras and panties on, some had panties but no bras, some just had a ratty old towel slung absently over a shoulder.

Now, is it just me? Or is that odd? I mean, I’m not an overly prudish or shy sort in the locker room. I understand that a certain amount of nudity is to be expected in such a setting. I myself am perfectly comfortable doing what needs to be done in terms of showering and changing in front of other women. But this business of standing around chit chatting—at length even—in your bare nothings is just weird to me.

For God’s sake ladies, there’s complimentary coffee out in the lobby! Put some clothes on and do this OUT THERE!

Now that that’s out of the way, I’d like to address a few additional newsy type items in Nan’s favored bullet format.

--Happy Thanksgiving everyone! My own turkey feast will be on Saturday, as per usual. Very small and intimate group this year, which is good. It has been my feeling that my guest list has gotten a little out of hand these past few years, so I’m glad to trim it back to just the most regular of the regulars. More left-overs this way too.

--Having finally given up all hope for last minute Christmas guests from the States, I gave Mister the okay to go ahead and invite his sainted mother to spend the holiday with us this year. And I’ll be God damned (which I know I probably shouldn’t be on Christmas, but I am anyway) if she accepted. She’s never spent Christmas with us. I just assumed that she’d rather be with one or the other of her daughters, both of whom celebrate with very traditional Norwegian food and customs. But she didn’t hesitate to say yes—one might even say ‘jumped at the chance’—which makes me think maybe—just maybe—we should have invited her sooner. The kids, especially EM, are thrilled. I’m ambivalent, but mostly okay with it. Should be MY mother here, but whatever….

--And speaking of Christmas, I’m a total loser and started listening to Christmas music last week. Yesterday, at EM’s behest, I downloaded 5 different versions of “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”. Personally, I like the Cyndi Lauper version best, but EM’s a sentimental sap and claims the LeAnn Rimes ditty is the prettiest thing she’s ever heard.

--Oh, and furthermore on the subject of Christmas music, if I may. The little nuggets of awfulness that Jilly fed into my iPod before she left continue to reveal themselves. Mariah Carey, Jilly? Are you kidding me? Mariah why-sing-it-if you-can-screech-it-in-key Carey? Even at Christmas, there’s just no excuse.

--Missy’s sick again. And The Boy experienced the greatest trauma of his young life so far last night when he touched Crocky’s nose to the fire place glass. It took all of about 2 seconds to melt and start burning. The mix of shock, fear, and sadness on that dear boy’s face was priceless, absolutely fucking priceless. Mom’s going to be pissed, but CROCKY’S NOSE IS ON FIRE! WHAAAAAAA! I didn’t have the heart to be mad. We all gave Crocky a cuddle and put him to bed to rest after his ordeal. Sadly, I don’t think there’s room in Boy’s heart for a damaged crocodile. He told Missy this morning that she could have him. If he’s willing to let Missy touch a thing of his, it’s more or less dead to him.

--Done for now. Eat yourselves sick tomorrow! Wish I could be there with you! All of you! Where ever you may be


Anonymous said...

My dear Jamie, I think it's just AWFUL the amount of nudity in Norwegian culture. I wouldn't for the life of me undress and shower in front of complete strangers. UGHHHH! I remember I'd rather put on my woolly sweater while I was all sweaty instead of having to bare all. Haven't these people heard of individual showers? Yes, I'm a prude, I'll readily admit to that, but Norwegians ARE really just too much when it comes to this.
By the way, Happy Thanksgiving dear friend. I hope you guys have a great time. I'll certainly miss that good meal. A big hug from Claudita in the Dominican Republic.

Jilly Baby said...

Look 'Missus It's EM who likes the Judds, not me', I downloaded Mariah because "All I want for Christmas is you" is arguably one of the best Christmas songs ever only just beaten by Nat King Cole's "Oh Holy Night" and maybe "I believe in Father Christmas" by Greg Lake (of prog-rock band Emerson, Lake and Palmer fame).

And I'm glad your downsized Thanksgiving soiree is to your liking. I assume you're not referring to me when you mention ditching the unwanted guests this year!!! As you know, I had planned to pop over for my annual potato/marshmallow weird combo thing, but the flights didn't suit my work. But def coming after Chrimbo so freeze me some of your precious left-overs love!!!

la dragon said...

I'm afraid I have to agree with Jilly Baby on this one. Mariah's "All I Want for Christmas is You" really does rock the house. Sorry. A bit out of character for me, no? Shall we discuss "Christmas Don't be Late" by the Chipmunks? (Also in regular rotation Chez Dragon come Christmastime, when I lose all semblance of elitist snobbery and embrace the cheese.)

Regardless... happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. Miss you lots. Mwah.