Lost battle

Urban life is fast. It’s dog-eat-dog, and every man (and woman) for himself (or herself). And if you need proof, go to a gym. That’s where we become the animal that we are.

I know that, having spent more time at the gym than you’d think by looking at me. Inside me, though, there’s a ripped and strong man.

There I was, doing bench press, adding weights every ten reps, and sizing up the others at the gym. It takes smarts, and a plan to get to the machines and weights you want, when you want. You have to think one step ahead of everybody else, and be ready to break out from your regime, switch exercises, do abs third, instead of last, and even be willing to add or cut the number of sets you do.

I thought I had marked my territory today, by loading the bench press with 90 kilos, and doing four reps. Even the guy who had smiled at me when I first walked in wearing an old T-shirt I got from a Finnish radio station in 1995 gave me an approving nod after the last set.

I was the King of the Corner. I switched my iPod from the 60 Minutes podcast to the rocking Hanoi Rocks, and returned the weights to their places.

I like to lead by example.

Next stop: bicep curl.

I grabbed two fivers, and walked to the curl bench. I put on the first one, nodded back to the guy who nodded to me, put on the other, when I saw this guy, this, this, guy, with a Björn Borg-like sweatband around his head, moving his lips. I pulled the left earphone out of my ear just as he closed his mouth.

I looked at him. He looked at me.

“I was just about to use that,” he said. I tilted my head. That was a question.

He pointed to a water bottle about two meters from the bench. Taken. I lost.

Taken! Sorry!

How does that make you feel?