Queens is the most diverse county in America. I don’t think it’s a stretch, then, to say my gym is the most diverse gym in America.
Everyday is an adventure. Sometimes I swim laps, but I’m often times interrupted by an elderly Chinese woman who wants me to teach her to do flip turns. After laps, I’ll hang out in the hot tub (or what some would call a Turkish Bath) with old European men soaking and socializing. Later, in the locker room, my surrogate Russian grandmother will usually scold me for not showering even though I’ve tried explaining that I live next door and shower at home. She doesn’t believe me.
On days I’m too lazy to get my hair wet, I’ll go to the cardio room, which lacks all the grunting, slutty clothes, and boob jobs of a typical gym. While running on the treadmill, I’ll watch the 70 yr old Asia man practicing tai chi in the mirror or the younger Asian man hitting imaginary balls with his tennis racket while watching a dvd of a tennis player also practicing tennis strokes (I sometimes find this annoying because his DVD player, placed on the stair of a stairmaster, wastes a perfectly good machine). I usually end up showing an elderly Polish woman how to operate the stairmaster (which is difficult for her to do while holding that 40 pound purse she refuses to leave in a locker or on the ground right in front of her). The best part of this gym though, is the fact that I can get away with wearing the same pants everyday, which have holes in the crotch and mustard stains on the thighs, because outfits like this stand out more than my homeless attire.
If ever there was a perfect place for a travel writer to be temporarily grounded, New York City is it. I mean, who thought even going to the gym would be this exciting? I get to experience all the joys of world travel and nursing homes while burning off the food that continues to stain my clothes.