Beyond the Books

Your Guide to student life

Sunday, March 25, 2012 1:47 p.m.

Just Joshin’

Josh Perlman

Josh Perlman. Hatchet File Photo

A look at the world through my eyes. Well, just part of the world.

In the post-spring break world of incomplete reading assignments and poorly written essays, I find myself lacking the motivation that was arguably absent from my days all along.

My attempts to transition back into a healthy lifestyle began with that first daring step into HelWell. Once there, of course, I spent more time observing my surroundings and less time working on the figure.

There I experienced a shocking revelation: the gym is full of interesting characters. I’ve had my doubts about the diversity GW boasts, but now I know where to find it – in the overcrowded, sweaty building.

It’s possible this is true of every gym, but I wouldn’t know much about that. The only other one I’ve visited consistently is at my local Jewish Community Center, where my encounters are limited to ex-Hebrew school classmates and their overbearing mothers.

But as the gymnast next to me practiced her handstands, I looked around the room to see what else I could find in this candy store of crazies.

From my yoga mat of a perch, I could see a guy in his mid-twenties doing pull-ups in surgical scrubs. My first thought was how strange of a way that seems to spend your lunch break. My second – that material can’t be very sweat-resistant.

On a nearby machine I spotted a man well into his 70s toning his arms in silence. I was embarrassed for him at first, until I noticed he was lifting more weight than I normally do.

Over the course of my workout, I couldn’t help but think about what I would say to some of these people if I ever decided to strike up conversation.

To the freakishly happy girl on the treadmill: Did your mother deprive you of exercise as a child? Because you look far too excited for the activity you’re performing.

To the guy who groans loudly every time he lifts a weight: Is that what you sound like in bed? Grunt once for yes, twice for no.

To the guy next to him: Didn’t you make my sandwich at FoBoGro yesterday? I asked for no onions.

To the girl wearing eye makeup and lipstick: Are you lost?

To the guy dancing aggressively between sets: Please leave.

I reveled in my newly gained insight, feeling much like the ringleader at a circus. I would never know boredom again with people-watching of this quality.

In my state of joy, I forgot that I usually avoid the treadmill closest to the mirrored wall. My judging spree was interrupted by a stroke of terror when my attention focused on the mirror before me. My fears were confirmed – I run like a girl.

I left with my head down, ashamed of my naïveté. I was one of them. I had criticized a class of people I had unknowingly been a part of all along.

But hey, at least I’m not the guy with the really hairy back.