Monday, August 20, 2007

working out = sadness

If you were to ask me a month ago what has kept Laura and me going over the past two years I would have said that a major contributor to keeping our heads above water is that we both dedicate three days a week to working out. Hard work outs, too. We alternate mornings and when we come through the door, we're drenched in sweat. We've been consistent and I truly believe it's been a major factor in keeping us sane.

However, over the past month, I've left the gym feeling sad. No, it's not because my body's chemicals are getting the best of me. It's not because I'm feeling more fatigued these days. It's not because I hate working out. It's because of this guy in the locker room.

This guy and I both work out on the same days. I'm just finishing up my work out as he's just getting geared up for his. He's old with a droopy face. He walks slow, almost shuffling. He's short but made shorter with a slight hunch in his posture. I've made eye contact with him once. His eyes, they're sad.

When I walk in the locker room after my work out I hear his voice. He's not talking to his friend or on a cell phone. He's singing. In a deep baritone voice he sings. Couldn't tell you what he's singing because he's singing in an Eastern European language. The song is always the same, always loud and sung very slowly. The song must be a ballad of some sort. I can only imagine that it's a song about two lovers who can't find a way to be together. Or a despairing song about corrupt governments that oppress its people. Or a song written by a soldier of a war who will never see his family again. Since I'm not fluent in Eastern European languages, I couldn't tell you what the man is singing only that when he does, everyone in the locker room moves a bit slower. The affect this man's singing has in the locker room is intense!

What's that you say? I should talk with this fella and get his story because, more than likely, it's gonna be interesting? I could learn something from him? Nah! I can't be all sad when I leave the gym. I'm gonna have to talk to management about this. It is, after all, all about me. Right?



Blogger Katherine said...

Sounds like a baiting kind of question.

I find it interesting that his song has such an effect on everyone in the locker room. It must come from a deep place in him, but it also must touch a deep place in everyone there. Unless someone has the capacity and experience of sadness, they will not recognize it or feel it in others.

My vote is that it is worth it to at least comment on the songs he sings, ask about them, or something.

I don't think this would be hard in a women's locker room, but maybe there is some kind of "code of ethics" in the men's room?

5:07 PM  
Blogger Carrie said...

My grandfather use to sing the same somg all the time in yiddish, sometimes he just hummed the melody. He was a holocaust survivor and it was sad. But he loved to talk, and I bet if you took an interest in this gentleman he would be grateful and I bet you would feel really good about it too. Besides you're in crooklyn and everyone talks to each other here, no matter what the mid westerners think Brooklyn peeps are good people. Fuggedaboudit!

6:35 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Joe, I think that soon we will hear this story.

6:44 PM  
Blogger sirEller said...

well, i guess if you think you have a right to be happy where-ever you go, you should mention it. i mean, don't we all have a right. probably reflects quite well the lyrics he's mumblin'.

11:08 PM  

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