Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A Question of Etiquette.

Ok, ok. So it's been a month and change since I've updated this. A lot of crap has happened, I get it. If you need an excuse, I'm going to have to go with me being in mourning over the end of 24.

My God, what a stupid season.

My sadness naturally progressed to anger over the following points:

1) Set in NYC, clearly not filmed in NYC.

2) What were those stupid 'drones' everyone was talking about? If you have to make up something like that to make the story work, the problem is the story.

3) They did NOT resurrect Curtis.


But anyway, what I really want to talk about is what happened to me yesterday at the gym. Yes, I was at the gym. On a bike.

Yeah, that's about right.

My question (mentioned in the title) is this: how bad are you allowed to smell at the gym?

Not for myself, of course.

Anyway, let me set up the scene for you. I was there, peddling away...

Sorry, PEDALING away.

I had my headphones on and passed the first ten minutes listening to my ipod. Then tragedy struck. I was grooving to the soundtrack of Wicked. It was just at the beginning of 'Loathing.'

And my battery died.

"That is so gay," I thought.

I then spent the next 4-5 minutes figuring out all the implications of that comment, particularly as it related to working out to showtunes.

Long story short, I'd been on the bike for some time when a dude came over and took the bike that was unoccupied next to me. My God. I mean, my God.

Full disclosure: I was on that bike for a full 18 minutes, wearing gym clothes that I had not washed since my last workout. How is it possible that this man, beginning his exercise, was several orders of magnitude more putrid than I was?

He seemed to be a well groomed gentleman. He started reading a book from the NYU library. But he stank.

I mean like, homeless stank. The kind of stink that says "Yes, I intentionally soiled myself so you wouldn't touch my bags as I sleep on the subway."

He smelled like the kind of guy Lady Gaga would stab in an alley before sex to help her get an erection.

The funniest thing about Lady Gaga is how long ago the joke stopped being on us.

And the odd thing is, he didn't look like a smelly guy. He exhibited none of the signs that would set off the aroma alarms. He wasn't super sweaty, or obese, or gangrenous, or undead.

My instinct was to pedal faster in a delirious attempt to get away from him. It wasn't working. How could I not escape? I had an 18 minute head start and he was traveling on rolling hills.

My sanity kicked back in several seconds later. I tried to wait it out. Just ignore it. I couldn't. Without music, my mind kept wandering back to it.

I wondered how much money I would have to spend at the grocery store to figure out just which brand of vinegar he smelled like the most.

I'm betting on Heinz Garlic Wine, by the way.

I tried to gain more clues.

The book he was reading was Adam's Tongue, by Derek Bickerton. I looked it up, and it's apparently about the origins of human language. Some pretty decent stuff. Not what I would expect from someone of his stench.

It's certainly not Tinfoil Hats Quarterly or Deodorant: The Silent Killer.

Perhaps he's one of those hipster types I hate so much. Maybe he's intentionally been cultivating this reek to challenge society. He did have a beard, come to think of it... and was wearing a thermal undershirt sort of thing, rather than any kind of contemporary synthetic exercise apparel.

Though I'm also not convinced that he had removed said shirt in the past week. Ok, so NYU $tudent probably is being smelly on purpose or he has some sort of olfactory malfunction.

Not the same thing as an Old Factory Malfunction.

So, mystery man at the gym, we're left at an impasse. If you were genuinely unaware of how the world perceives you as a walking collection of swamp gases and cat sick, then I feel sorry for you. If you do it on purpose to make people think about how they live their lives and why, then mission accomplished. It really did make me think about why I shower. And it turns out I feel pretty good about it.


Oh, and soap too. Soap rules.

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