My workout today was snow-related: I couldn’t shirk because there’s supposed to be a snowstorm tomorrow (6-10 inches), and if it’s bad, I’ll stay home. I wondered if there would be a crowd at the gym–sort of like hitting the grocery store and buying up carts full of toilet paper and beer before a storm, but no. It was me and 3 high school boys, a couple of guys on the treadmills, a tiny old (by which I mean older than me) woman who monopolized the sit-up machine, and a hockey class in the basketball court.
I was working on my arms today, and wondering why my biceps look fine but the triceps are lagging. Actually jiggling. Wondering also why this is something peculiar to women. Is there some evolutionary reason that women’s arms start to go soft below? What am I being naturally selected for? If there’s a team that requires squishy triceps, I don’t want to be picked.
When the tiny old woman (just over 5 feet, I estimate) was done with the sit up machine, she began a complicated series of exercises which she performed standing on the mat by the wall mirror. She shrugged her shoulders, made circles with her arms, bent forward from the waist, and jigged in place, all the while smiling as if she were the host of her own fitness show.
She made me think of Paige Palmer, who used to exercise on TV in Cleveland wearing a leotard, her blonde hair in a well-hair-sprayed swirl. We had a black and white TV, so I thought her hair was gray. I was mildly impressed that someone who seemed to be a grandmother was wearing fishnet stockings (as she sometimes did) and doing jumping jacks. My grandmother wore flowered cotton dresses, black lace-up shoes, and by the time I knew her, did nothing more strenuous than walk from the kitchen to the front room (to be fair she was 80-ish at the time). Exercise was not something respectable older people did then. My mother’s aerobic action took place in the house and the yard: scrubbing the floor, using the wringer washing machine, mowing the lawn. Paige was as odd as a space alien at the time, but apparently she was a harbinger of the future, for here I am, at an advanced if not ancient age, trying to get rid of the jiggle, wearing dedicated exercise clothes (no leotard, no fishnets).