Monday, March 11, 2019

At the gym

I used to write a blog about the people I met in coffee shops.  But I gave it up—going to coffee shops.  Now I go to the gym and I see a lot of interesting people, and even talk to some, although I rarely know their names.

Today on the next exercycle there was a woman who is an immigrant. We’ve chatted numerous times. She goes to her “home” country for 5 months of the year, but her adult children were born in the U.S.  “I’m very close to my children,” she told me today.  “We talk first thing in the morning, and later maybe 8-9 times.”   I would like to think I misunderstood that, she having an accent, but I don’t think so.

One older (older than me) man dresses up for the holidays.  This month he’s all about green—hat, tie, shirt, knee socks, neck wear, etc. We chatted a bit one day—he’s also a graduate of the University of Illinois, sometime in the mid-1950s.

The fashions are fascinating.  Some women are perfectly color coordinated—shoes, pants, shirt.  If the women are very young, say 18-25, they might wear shorts, but very few do that. And only those with really fabulous legs.  Some men wear shorts—old guys have really baggy shorts, and if a young man wears tight fitting shorts, he’s probably gay.

One woman has been recommending books for me to read.  She suggested “What Alice Forgot,” which I checked out of the library, and really enjoyed.  She also suggested “Elegance of the Hedgehog,” originally published in French, which I’ve started.  Today she suggested a non-fiction title, “After Emily,”  about the 2 women who organized Emily Dickinson’s poetry.  I often see people reading, so I don’t talk to them.  I haven’t had much luck reading on the treadmill, although I do it on the cycle. Most people have their smart phones with them and ear buds, so they are not interested in chit-chat.

I often talk to a very friendly couple who moved to Columbus from California. She’s in excellent shape.  They came here because two of their children live here and their only grandchild.  Her mother is 101 and still lives in California, so she goes there a few weeks of the year.

Another couple I’ve met are also living in Columbus because of their son and grandchild. They actually own 3 homes, and vacation in the summer in Minnesota, and go to North Dakota to ski.  It’s a bit tricky to catch up with them—they are always traveling.

And then there’s Dan.  He has neuropathy, is always in a lot of pain, but struggles in every day using his walker.  He was getting much better, but one day was hit by a car in the parking lot.  Although he had been able to give up his walker a while back, he is now using it all the time.  He’s an inspiration.

Another woman has had her leg amputated; the other day I saw a man using a white cane with another man explaining the machines to him; I’ve seen several people who appear to be recovering from strokes.

I’ve seen a number of members of our church there.  Sometimes so many I think we should have a committee meeting.

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