Dancing Elliptical Man

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The other evening, Partner and I were at the health club in early afternoon.  The place was pretty much deserted.

 

 

Except for one particular man on the elliptical machine.

 

 

I’d never seen him before. He was short and stocky – not fat, exactly – but certainly he had a few extra ounces around his middle.

 

 

But, oh my darlings, he was dancing.

 

 

You know how the elliptical machine has those stupid ski-pole things you’re supposed to hang onto? He was ignoring them entirely. He was waving his arms in the air like he just didn’t care. I caught a little bit of twist, and maybe some mambo, and some strange arms-over-the head thing that I think Barbara Eden used to do on “I Dream of Jeannie.”

 

 

You couldn’t help but stare. I couldn’t help but stare. He caught my eye very briefly, and grinned to himself, and just kept doing it.

 

 

Everyone else in the place was reacting to it too; the old guy on the next treadmill looked at me with comic consternation, and I saw a guy on a stationary bike shaking his head and doing a snarky macho chuckle.

 

 

But you know what? After a few minutes, I came to admire Dancing Elliptical Man.

 

 

Part of the problem with hard-to-do things is that they’re embarrassing. You have to defeat your embarrassment and just go for it. As Maude says in “Harold and Maude”: “You can’t let the world judge you too much.” It’s certainly a factor in learning a language; I knew a Iowan couple in Morocco who had a terrible time learning French and Arabic because (they admitted to me) they both felt stupid making those strange noises!

 

 

Dancing Elliptical Man had found his inner Paula Abdul. It was actually fun to watch him; he really seemed to be enjoying himself. He was channeling his inner jazzercize, and it was inspiring.

 

 

Well, but:

 

 

I mentioned this to Noah, my student assistant, a varsity football player who is approximately the size of a Cadillac Escalade. Noah looked grim. “He was just showing off,” he said. “He wanted you to look at him. He gets a thrill out of it.”

 

 

Aha.

 

 

Noah spends maybe eighteen hours a day working out, so he has seen a lot more of this kind of thing than I have.  He is also very smart.  So: I trust his judgment on these gymnasium issues.

 

 

So maybe now I am not so impressed with Dancing Elliptical Man.

 

 

But I enjoyed the show.

 

 

And isn’t that what going to the health club is all about?

 


 

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About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to futureworld@cox.net.

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