I get to the spin studio and feel the wonderful rush of air conditioning. While the summer heat of New York is not like south Texas, it is hot, into the high 90s, pushing 100. And the humidity – while not as suffocating as Minnesota, is high, we are after all on a small island surrounded by water on all sides.
So the slightly gross thing about spinning is that some spinners (not me) get super drippy sweaty and leave residue all over the handlebars, bike frame and seat. And with New York being a little on the gross and grimy side (like all big cities are) thank goodness for the spray bottle of disinfectant and paper towels left in the spin room for we spinners to clean off the bikes.
Which is what I am doing, yawning and spraying the bike with one hand and wiping down the bike with the other. I have nine minutes to wake up before the 6.30 am class and rather wish I had stopped for an overpriced ‘bux on the way to the gym. I move to cleaning off the bike seat and a woman two bikes away looks at me and smiles. She’s older than me by 15 years - at least, has shorty spiky salt and pepper hair and wears very short biker shorts, not Daisy Dukes, but short shorts – almost too short, but luckily she is not fat so it is not awful to look at. Me in those shorts would be fashion police arrest worthy. But good for her for being fit at her age. I smile back and hope she is not crazy. You can never tell in New York.
With that I yawn, deeply and loudly – almost a little more than one should in public – which Short Shorts notices and gives me a flat look. “So the bathroom smells,” she says to me. Okay. Well (a) that is kinda gross to share with anyone, including a stranger, but (b) really ---- what is she expecting from the gym. “Oh really?” I say. I really don’t know what to say to say that – I mean what if she thinks that is normal morning conversation. I don’t – but it takes all kinds. “Yea, it smells,” she says not nicely, but not meanly.
“Ohhhhh…well did you look on the cart next to the service desk for some room freshener?” I suggest. “Yea, I looked there isn’t any,” she replies and looks at me like I am the cleaning supply aisle at Target. “Oh,” I reply. She continues to look at oddly. “Well maybe when one of the trainers comes you can ask them,” I suggest, wondering why I am talking to Short Shorts who thinks public restroom odor is appropriate for pre-spin convo. If we were on the NJ Transit or Metro North coming into the City, talking on the train is NOT acceptable. “What are you doing?” she asks and seems irritated with me. I don’t EVEN know her. I just want to pedal myself back to skinny. “Uhm, cleaning off my bike…” I reply.
Here is where I am going to detail my outfit because it matters in about 10 seconds. I am wearing black biker shorts that are fitted and rest just above my knee. I have on a hot pink tank top and a navy blue tee-shirt on top of that. My hair is piled on the top of my head in a messy make-shift bun, not appropriate to be seen in public except at the gym. No one would go to work looking like this – even if they work in a gym.
A flash of annoyance races through her eyes. “What do you do here?” she demands, as if my presence is ruining her life. Hello Short Shorts, I did not engage you, you engaged me! Then … OH MY GOD… it HITS HITS HITS me. This bitch thinks that I – because I look Latin-Grecko-Indian-Something-Not-Sure-What-But-Probably-An-Illegal-Of-Which-New-York-Is-Filled-With – MUST work at the club. Because clearly, in whatever world Short Shorts lives in - there is no way a non-white person could be a MEMBER of a New York gym. I MUST be the help.
However, here at New York Sports Club, all the employees outside of management wear uniforms. Trainers have tee-shirts that say MASTER TRAINER or PERSONAL TRAINER on the back. Employees have shirts that say “MAY I HELP YOU” or something like that on the backs of their tee-shirts. But all tinted people MUST exist to be in the service of Short Shorts … UGH!!! Is this NOT New York? Is this not the 21st Century?
So I cock my head, stare her down, and snarl, “I am a member – that’s what I do here – work out…” There is a second, I can see it in her eyes, where it registers that Short Shorts knows she is an ass. Does she apologize, or even acknowledge? Oh no. Instead she says, “Never mind – just never mind…” and she leaves the spin studio.
I somehow get through the spin class – I am sure anger and her degrading comment are very motivating. When class is done, there is small part of me that wants to walk over and demand an apology. There is another part me that thinks how awful to be SOOO ignorant in Manhattan.
Plus – she could be nuts – and knife me – it is New York after all. And a flesh wound inflicted by a crazy woman is not on my to-do list.