There’s a lot to be said for taking care of yourself, for having the motivation to drag your lazy, bio-exam-studying-paper-writing-low-key-bullshit-peer-response-ing self out of the “comfort” of your twin-size, plastic-wrapped mattress to go run on a stationary machine and lift weights heavier than the weight of the sin that is abandoning your Tamagotchi pets. 

There is, however, much more to be said about the agonizing experience of walking past 13 dudebros on your way to the squat rack. 

Every time I swipe into the GAC (Goergen Athletic Center, for those who are blessed enough to not associate that acronym with traumatic memories) I am hit with the stench of superiority that pervades that forsaken building. Each step towards the stairwell drags me deeper into the #grind Instagram tag. 

Okay, but what’s the issue? 

Oh Boy, Am I Glad You Asked!

The mind-boggling breeds of people that call GAC home are truly alarming. I walk in thinking I’m gonna go for a lil’ run. And then I leave sweating, not from pumping some iron, but in fear of Chad, Brad, and Thad, who might just be running a gym cult. There’s Chad the leader, Brad the lackey, and Thad who might be in charge of Instagram pics. 

But I manage to avoid them, right? I take a sip of water, hop on the oblique twist machine… only to make direct eye contact with a guy who could only be training to avenge someone’s death. I twist once; he stares. I twist the other way; he doesn’t blink. I twist one more time; he takes a step toward me. Well, that’s me up the stairs to the treadmill, I think!

Ah, the treadmill. Mindless movement, oblivious bliss, zoning out to a podcast. If I were going to start a cult, I think I’d recruit treadmill runners. We have a perfectly good “outside,” but where do we go? A piece of rotating black rubber: sheeple in their natural habitat. But, by far the most advantageous thing about the treadmill is its placement: the third story, overlooking the open gym floor, people-watching perfection. After all, there’s nothing more motivating than watching someone fall in love with their gym partner. Such a perfect meet-cute story. They mirror each other exactly, always wear matching outfits, and get lost in each other’s eyes. Who cares if it’s sometimes a mirror reflection? 

And don’t even get me started on anything after working out. I hop off the treadmill and plunk myself right in the middle of the foot-traffic center like a clown and start doing my silly little stretches. As I reach for the floor, I catch a whiff of protein powder baked into the rubber floor. Sweat, blood, and tears have sunk into the porous material, and, oh, look, there I go adding more water to the floor when I kick over my water bottle for the fifth time this session. You’d think a bunch of gym rats would be coordinated, but alas. 

And hey, try sidling past Bruce, who has the shoulder breadth of a small vehicle on the staircase, and not looking like a Looney-Tunes character. My limbs have sufficiently been gelatin-afied, and with my self-esteem having been on a rollercoaster right along with my flesh sack. I’m leaving before the machine cleaner digs its claws deeper into my psyche. 

But hey, I’m staying healthy, I tell myself as I promptly pick up my order of chicken tendies. The GAC life may be hard, but don’t fret! It’s also insufferable.



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