(Actual text conversation between the husband and myself)
Me: Was there an influx of new soldiers recently? Like new to life?
Hubs: welcome to my life.
Me: it’s like they’re new to the world. Do I help them?
Hubs: young fawns fresh from the womb. Look at them, barely able to survive…
After 10 years of working out on post, it happened. There I was, surrounded by really young-looking people with a lost look in their eyes. I didn’t know what was going on. Is there a local high school using the gym for their students? A special needs program in the community?
This was almost as confusing as the old retired guys in Ranger panties who are in good shape doing those crazy exercises that make you wonder if they’ve got it all figured out or they’ve just said screw it to all traditional exercise and using machines as they’re actually intended. No, it was none of those things. It was… Army privates. How did I know they were privates? Well…
1. Expensive cars in the parking lot. As I pulled into the even-more-than-usually crowded parking lot in my minivan I noticed all the nice cars. It should have tipped me off but I was blinded by chrome.
2. They work out in herds. I don’t get it. How do you get any working outdone as a group of 7? You think at first it’s a group of 3 maybe 4 but more just keep showing up to the machine next to you. Next thing you know you’re surrounded by Beats and converse sneakers (where’s the ankle support??).
3. They don’t know how to improvise their workouts. If the machine that is listed next on the workout they got from Men’s Fitness is unavailable and you’re the sorry bastard using it, prepare to have that herd standing around kind of near but kind of away from you, waiting. They will not find another way to do that next exercise. They will not skip that exercise and come back to it. They will wait. The whole time.
4. They’ll steal your equipment. Basically, keep a body part on whatever you are using at all times. I stepped 4 feet back from a cable after one set and what looked like a 15-year-old in head-to-toe Under Armor snuck in and started changing the weight. I looked confused to which he said “oh, are you still using this??” “yes…” *fidgets with the weight, mumbles how he doesn’t remember what it was on, and runs away*
5. All the dumbbells ranging from 5-25 lbs will be gone. I don’t know what to say here…get stronger? I usually have free pick of the 15-25lb dumbbells but they’re just, not there.
6. Phones. Selfie or it didn’t happen. I guess waiting for your 6 work out partners to go causes some major downtime needing to be filled by social media.
7. They’ve never seen a female lifting weights. I like to work out but I am by no means of impressive size or strength however to them, it would appear that I am an anomaly. Perhaps if I were on the treadmill it would be less scary?
8. You will feel like Dwayne Johnson. I have never felt more like a veteran gym go-er. Does anyone need tips? I think I’ll start personal training via Instagram.
So that’s what it’s like with privates at the gym. Or maybe, just maybe, I’m getting old.
This first appeared in The Havok Journal on December 6, 2015.