the smell of my desperation has become a stench

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.”

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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