I made one of my rare appearances at the gym the other day during my lunch hour to put in 30 non-strenuous minutes on the treadmill. I had on my usual attire – a business suit, which for some reason seems to offend others, particularly the staff, who look up at me with a mixture of pity and disgust. Hey, I have a half hour for lunch, which would leave no time to change into workout gear and get to the gym and back even if I owned any workout gear, or was energetic enough to put it on.
The gym was empty that afternoon, but someone before me had put on a dead-boring soccer game, so I reached over to the treadmill that housed the remote, and switched it to another channel. On came the daily episode of The Doctors, an afternoon talk show led by a hunky physician in blue scrubs, a taut-faced plastic surgeon, and several medical practitioners of unknown specialties.
Today’s topic was supposed to be weight loss—what works and what doesn’t. As the opening music played, a white-haired man walked into the gym and got on the treadmill with the remote on it. To my horror, the TV doctors immediately started talking about STDs as the 55-inch screen in front of us showcased sketches of male and female genitalia from every imaginable perspective.
I was too humiliated to make eye contact with the man on the next machine so I grabbed a People magazine off the rack and pretended to be absorbed in reading about Burt Reynolds’ demise. The hot TV doctor was now informing his peers that a round of “rousing sex” was as good a weight loss method as 30 minutes at the gym. The audience roared. “Yeah,” he said. “Maybe you should put a fitbit on your penis.”
Oh my God, why did I change the channel? Suddenly, the TV went silent. The show was still running but the sound was off. I made no comment about it or even looked up from my magazine, even though I had read the same paragraph four times. After 10 torturous minutes, the white-haired man got off his treadmill and started to walk out of the room. Only then did I raise my head and say, “Do you know how to turn up the volume on the TV?”
“Yes,” he said, grabbing the remote and handing it to me with a scowl. “Like this.” He pressed the un-mute button and walked away as one of the Doctors was talking about “runner’s diarrhea.”
“Just so you know,” I sputtered. “That show was on when I got here.”
I waited till he cleared the parking lot and left the awkward scenario of my 30-minute treadmill session behind. No one at the office seemed offended by my business suit. It was good to be home.