Upstairs, Downstairs in the nicest gym

Upstairs, Downstairs in the nicest gym

My old gym in Oregon was, you could say, ranch-style. Exercise machines, stretch areas, refreshments, and a swimming pool set on one expansive level. It’s different here at my gym. We have two floors, and one can only be inhabited by women, with occasional brief visits by Alex, the owner’s wonderful younger brother, who helps us all out.

The women’s floor is on top, with machines, stretch areas, and lots of chit chat. Downstairs, where men dabble with the free weights, we also have our Silver and Fit classes, which aren’t nearly as old ladyish as their name implies. Here we work out with dumb bells, what I call snakes (those elastic straps that drive me crazy), balls to balance, and lots of stretching and lifting and squatting (which I try to ignore).

I’m really starting to tone up— still and always, as uncoordinated as ever, but my overall tone isn’t too bad for someone going on 70 in five years.

Meanwhile, upstairs comes in different flavors. When I trot up the stair case before and/or after class, the room is generally alive with words, music, and the sound of equipment purring. Wednesday mornings, the topics range from movies and restaurants, to visits to the mainland. I work every segment of my body while eavesdropping and adding my own opinions, here and there. The general feel is labor-intensive and yet very friendly, with our shared motivation to fight back at gravity’s ruthless pull.  As a result, we end up looking quite a bit more fit than our peers who don’t join us.

Usually, I pay a visit upstairs on Wednesday mornings, but last Friday, I marched up the steps and discovered  much younger troops in action.  I unexpectedly found myself among young mothers who dye their kids’ hair blue, green, whatever else fits on the color wheel, and believe that shampoo is unnecessary — just a little conditioner for the ends of their long radiant hair. Their toddlers are strikingly well-behaved and curious, and wander about the floor sweetly with toy ice cream cones, and sometimes comically mimic our stretches.

So instead of chatting about whether Timothee Chalamet deserved the best actor Oscar (“Timothee who? ask women just a few years older than our current matinee idol), they talk about Mommy topics like when their kids started walking/talking and which schools they like best. Not to mention, how long to wait before adding new colors to their hair. My  affable Alaskan-bred comrade likes to keep her colors for about two weeks and then moves on.  She has blue hair for now and expects to migrate to sea foam green next week. Tatoos are universal here, and the kids seem very happy.

It’s a major transition going from “the new version of blue hairs” to my more seasoned downstairs classmates, like ethereal Bryce, who suggested I write this blog, and all the others who laugh a lot, groan a little, and generally try to keep up with our teacher.






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