Miss B.

This morning I returned to the gym after the long weekend to meet with my trainer, a 5’4” muscular fireball who rescues Pit Bulls and routinely snacks on small children. As much as she is an authority on fitness, she abhors the whole notion of authority and will double in size when confronted with rules or guidelines. There are probably several warrants out for her arrest but no one will serve them because they fear for their lives.

She’s 59 years old and stronger than anyone I know. When she teaches spin class, men who are half her age will vomit in their laps trying to keep up with her legs. And the rest of us either give up and walk out or sob uncontrollably into our towels. She’s the conductor of this masochistic choir, vomit and sweat and the trumpeting beat of strained heart rates as bodies slump over handlebars or flop against the wall, her face one giant grin when a voice from the back of the room crescendos with, “UNCLE! I’M CRYING UNCLE!

Today the weight room was relatively empty, enough that we carved out a small space where we could focus on a certain set of exercises that I could perform in rounds. First, some lat rows, then some chest presses. A little bit of leg work on the fitness ball, and some major abdominal work on the floor. Finally, we’d practice bending steel bars with our minds and eat crickets.

Halfway into our second round when I was on the floor passing the fitness ball from my hands to my feet, an older man and woman STEPPED OVER MY BODY and climbed onto the chest press machine not six inches from my face. I tried to ignore both of them but hit the man in the butt with the fitness ball during one of the passes. I thought about spitting a half-eaten insect at his feet, but I am a lady. We do have our standards.

I watched the adrenaline soar through my trainer’s circulatory system, and after she helped me up we quickly moved to another part of the room. She mumbled ferociously the entire way.

“Heather,” she finally blurted. “I’m about to get in trouble.”

“It’s cool,” I said as I got back onto the floor to complete the set of exercises that had been so rudely interrupted. But I was too late, and she had already rushed back over to the chest press machine.

“HI,” she said to both of them. “HOW ARE YOU? ARE YOU GUYS NEW?” I typed that in all caps because she was trying desperately to keep it at that level. I could see her wanting to bold that text, underline it with permanent red marker and set it to BLINK to the rhythm of a police siren.

They both said they’d been around for a few months, had moved here from New York, and the man was having a hard time with his joints, can you even believe that?! What is it with Utah? He didn’t have this problem in New York! His sciatica! His knees! Man oh man! Although Utah certainly didn’t cure him of that thick accent!

My trainer nodded, swallowed her capitalized letters and told him to drink more water. The altitude could be messing with him. And then she returned to me, her eyes stuck in the back of her head.

“Poor thing,” she said. “He’s from New York. He can’t help it.”

  • tokenblogger

    Oh. My. Goodness.

    He probably couldn’t!

  • ORKMommy

    Rude people from NY stories always make me think of the scene from Terms of Endearment. The one in the grocery store, with John Lithgow. Love it!

  • rivervision

    oh, that’s funny. really funny. funny, because, well, the east coast thing.. and having been raised in the south by a southerner and a north easterner i understand all to well. i really do enjoy your sense of humor. oh and your trainer sounds like a wonderful badass. i can’t wait until I can afford a trainer. this PhD better f’in pay off.

    :)
    brooke, from logan.

  • slappyintheface

    ey oh ey

    at least he didn’t whack yous with his gold chains

    badda bing

  • lisdom

    I dealt with one of these yesterday. Only he was from Portland, Oregon. People think they’re so special because they had the original idea to move somewhere like NYC, L.A., Seattle, etc. Then, when they visit, or God forbid move to my pathetic city, suddenly I’m supposed to understand how hard it must be for them to be here and accommodate their every wish/ignore their bad manners. Please, do us all a favor and go back to New York!

  • BellyGirl

    If you’ve spent more than a quick vacation in NY you know that NY’ers are some of the kindest, most generous folks around. I can’t speak for the elderly couple in the gym, but the generalization that NY’ers are rude is just as false as believing that you’ll get mugged if you come here.

    Here’s a wonderful essay from Smithsonian.com which sheds intelligent insight on the topic. http://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/mytown-newyork.html

    And here’s a perfect expample of how NY’ers come together in times of need: http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/slain-cop-scholarship-fund-figoski-136225083.html

    Oh, and Slappy, I think your insightful stereotype is of New Jersey.

  • cory212

    We New Yorkers are nice people. If you don’t agree with me, go _______ yourself. Have a nice day!

  • susanfishy

    My one and only trip so far to NYC was to help my sister after the birth of her first child. I ended up carrying the newborn baby in a snuggli around the city — Spanish Harlem mostly — and saw the absolute best side of New Yorkers who routinely told me, “God bless your baby.”

  • thistlework

    Hilarious Heather. I had to read this twice though because I find everything takes longer with “Somebody that I used to know” on loud and constant replay inside my wee pea brain.
    Glad to hear you are eating crickets though. I’ve never thought them wise, spending decent summer days making that interminable racket. “I’m over here, I’m over here, just rubbing my juicy legs together”…”Shit, how did that predator FIND me?!
    And listen, take it easy with your legs now…

  • lisdom

    -I’d just like to add that I don’t think this of everyone who lives in or is from a bigger, more interesting city than mine. I’m talking about individual cases. Also: I *love* NY, and would absolutely live there in a split second.

  • zziggysgal

    Hahahahahahah…..LUV it!!! (when you make me laugh out loud, Heather, ‘cuz you do!)

  • sybann

    Bless his heart\

    augh.

    I had to spiff a guest $60 because his preshus butt had to wait 30 minutes for his meal – that he walked out on – during peek season no less. You guessed it. New York.

  • Runaround

    We NYers have very different perceptions of personal space because, well, we don’t have much :)

  • Steph Bachman

    Glad you are back at it. : )

  • kidsmom

    I’m from NY. Born in Queens. Mother raised in Brooklyn.

    Step over me like that in the gym, and I’ll bite your freakin’ ankles.

    Have a nice day.

  • TheMeg

    AAAAYYYYYY! OOOOOOHHHHH! Talk about a slap in the face. As a New Yorker and not only a NY’er but a Brooklynite…. um, that would NEVER happen in a gym. At least not in these parts. Your ass would be handed to you very quickly, nicely and neatly.

    Boom.

    Done.

  • Pandora Has A Box

    Some of the rudest, most self-absorbed people I ever met in a gym were in Los Angeles. Maybe they were from NYC originally.

    This vignette cracked me up (I say that as a native NYer, though my point of origin might not count because it wasn’t in one of the five burroughs). Personal space is a different concept in crowded cities than in ones where there’s room for people to do chest presses without stepping over other gym members and landing six inches from them.

    And, as always, I think you gently mocked yourself far more than the rude people at the gym. Also, I am in love with your trainer and want to move to SLC just to propose marriage. I totally would have done what she did. Because I’m a bitch like that.

  • Breanna Chanson

    When a group of 4 New Yorkers took over the table I was actively using at a coffee shop (a private table built for 2 mind you… 1 spot of which was already taken by moi), I offered to move to the next table as soon as it was available, not because I was kind but because I couldn’t focus on what I was writing with them swapping stories about the fashion industry while I was close enough to smell the garlic on their breath. When I announced my offer to give them more room, they all burst into laughter and one woman said between giggles and with a classy wave of her right hand, “Oh how wonderfully LA of you!”

    I moved over and spent the rest of my day walking on air because I had just moved to Los Angeles and was very happy they mistook me for a local rather than just another tourist! I’ve had a soft spot in my heart for space crowding New Yorkers with garlic breath ever since! Did the people in your gym have garlic breath?