Monday, November 3, 2008

Portrait #58: The two women with last shift at my gym

I'm always the last person out of the gym in the evening. When my gym membership ends next week, the staff will get to go home fifteen minutes early each evening, I'm sure! So I appreciate the fact that they still say hi and smile at me, because I suspect that they're regularly checking their calendars wondering when they will be rid of me. In my defence, I do rush there as soon as I'm done at work, but we must keep in mind that most women who frequent the all-women's gym don't go to work at all.

These two women's smiles and greetings have made the gym a pleasant place to frequent, but I'm often struck at the huge differences between the two.

The first is a petite dark-haired beauty. She is the type that looks like a teenager but by the confidence with which she carries herself, you'd guess she is older than she looks. In fact, she is 32 and has two children. Her son is already himself a teenager! She got married at 16 and divorced only a few years later - she told me she had been too young to know how to be a good wife back then.

The second I don't really know much about. She has blonde highlights in her cropped hair, and smokes after her workout and shower every afternoon. Yes, she is an employee of the gym, but I suppose use of the showers and the facilities is one of the perks. Then again, maybe she's the aerobics instructor: by the time I get off work and into the gym each day, aerobics classes are over.

The first was actually the person who showed me around when I first visited and convinced me to buy a membership. She latched on to me and was happy to show me everything. She said there have been some other women from Brasil using the gym and she'd love to introduce me to them.

My first encounter with the second was when she walked out of the showers dressed in nothing more than a towel. As I jogged on the treadmill, I watched her trek over to the reception desk, lose the towel, and start combing out her hair wearing nothing more than her underwear. Then she smoked a cigarette.

When I head for the showers after my workout, the first woman is wiping down the floors. In fact, even though she took initiative to play gym salesman for me, her job description is actually that of the cleaning woman. Meanwhile, the second woman might be chatting with a friend, measuring a client's waist and giving fitness advice, or smoking a cigarette.

As I'm leaving the gym, right at closing time, my two favourite gym staff are getting ready to leave as well. The first woman is putting on a long skirt, long-sleeved blouse and a headscarf. The second woman is peering into the big mirror in the aerobics room, putting the finishing touches on her lipstick.

What I love about these two women, though, is that sometimes as I walk out onto the street, I glance back and see them leaving together, chatting and laughing with each other. These two women are so different, and surely come from such different backgrounds, but they act like lifelong friends.

No comments:

Post a Comment