This Week in Running a Gym - May 11, 2014

A slight break in the usual narrative this week to share a story that's too embarrassing to pass up.

Last Friday was bright and warm and having finished at the gym I was cruising home on my bike. I was on the final stretch down the alley just before where I'll roll off the pavement and onto the grass pathway that cuts across my yard and leads to the shed. Aiming my front wheel at the grass, I was distracted to my right by the sound and mist from a pressure washer. I looked over to see a man with his back to me, cleaning my neighbor Jo's backyard driveway.

I knew him, I've met him twice before over in Neighbor's Park garden. I remember that it came up one of those times that he's over 50 years old. I want to say his name is Don, but Lisa says it's something like Stanley. Nice guy, the kind who would make himself available to help pressure wash a friend's driveway. He's also apparently ripped.

On a sunny Friday afternoon he had his shirt off, and with his back to me I could see amazing muscle development and tone across his shoulders. It caught me off guard, I'm sure I did a double take, and in the moment as I coasted past, watching him I thought, “How do I get this guy into the gym? I need to go over and talk to him. What's his name again?” He looked up as I came into his field of view.

What happened next sticks in my mind as a series of flashed images, like scenes from a comic strip. After prying my eyes away and looking forward again I discover a second too late that my neighbors have rudely left out their yard waste bin at the end of their driveway. First image is of right handlebar clipping said brown bin, brain says, “Oh shit.” Second image is of a rich green patch of grass in the sunlight with a rapidly moving shadow near the bottom, brain says, “Roll.” I tuck chin and lift shoulder and feel the weight roll across my back and backpack, I hope I didn't break my laptop. Third image is of blue sky and trees swishing past as momentum rolls me back to my feet. I turn to pick up my bike and start laughing as I look up to see him staring at me, mouth agape. He yells over the noise, "Are you okay?" I keep laughing and wave, then grab my bike and run into the house.

I feel like this scene could be easily adapted to a gay romantic comedy. But there would have to be a slow motion segment with the mist from the pressure washer billowing around him just before I eat it. I also find it funny that Lisa was sitting at the dining table from which she could have watched the entire scene if she had just looked up. The idea of her quietly turning the pages of a magazine, while outside her husband is running into bins and falling down while checking out some guy's body, is hilarious to me.

Two things I take away from this.

First, thank God for shoulder rolls. I didn't have an opportunity to think in the moment and so had to deal with whatever reflex was pre-loaded. As it happened, I recognized what I saw in image #2 because lots of practice with shoulder rolls taught me the rule that when the ground is over your head and you're falling, tuck and roll. This isn't the first time that being able to roll has saved me from potential injury. And any time it happens, I'm reminded of the importance of learning how to fall. Expect to see rolling practice continue in our regular programming. Second take away was that I'm going to have to talk to him later about checking out the gym.

By Morgan on Sunday, May, 11, 2014