“You Can Get Yourself Cleaned, You Can Have a Good Meal, You Can Do Whatever You Feel…”, or My Day at the Y


7:00 am – My husband begins the day by breaking wind. Loudly. “Duuuuude!” says a little voice, from somewhere in the covers. Didn’t even know the kid was there.


8:30 am – Drive to the Y. My son takes swimming lessons there, at 9:00. On Saturday mornings. What in the crap was I smoking when I thought that was a good idea?


8:49 am – Park underground. Windows steam up totally and immediately as we drive from -20 degrees into +10. Son thinks that is hil-laaar-ious. I think we should have a smaller vehicle, as I use prayer and hope to negotiate a parking space.



9:05 am – Find a chair on the pool deck, and settle in to “watch” my son’s swimming lesson. He is the only kid who showed up in his level. The instructor usually makes $50 an hour for private lessons. Because the other parents can’t get their lazy asses out of bed, I’m gettin’ it for free.


I don’t really see much of the lesson. Occasionally, I catch my son’s eye, give him a thumbs up, pantomime that he should be looking at the teacher, not at me. But I’m too distracted to pay much attention. This brand new Y is downtown, amongst skyscrapers, and the few buildings over a hundred years old that “progress” hasn’t done away with. Two huge panes of glass serve as the outside walls. Across the street, on a gorgeous old brick building, a white script that can only be described as “sassy” spells out “Weight Watchers”. Kitty corner to the pool is an even older building, once considered a prestigious piece of property. Now, there are a couple of “For Lease” signs out front. One of the tenants is a bar I heard about on the news a little while ago. I can’t remember if it was the site of the city’s last shooting of 2007, or the first of 2008. Through the muted wavy patterns on the glass, I can see the outlines of a few street people. They’re pushing their lives in overloaded carts in front of them. I think of how sad it is, that only 3 inches of glass and the $160 my son’s membership cost, are what separates us. “Way to oversimplify” I sneer at myself. “You’re forgetting a few other things, like substance abuse, racism, mental illness, politics…” Still weird that we’re both occupying virtually the same space, but our situations are so different.


9:32 am – If When If I go to hell, my days there will be spent helping a damp 4 year old get dressed.


12:30 pm – Today is the day I start working out. My in-laws bought both kids memberships to the Y, then surprised me with one, too. And they managed to do it without giving me a complex about the size of my ass. I really should be using it. Plus, my doctor told me I might not have the health issues of an 80 year old if I untied that piano from my ass. I will go back to the Y, sans children.


12:43 pm – Finally locate running shoes, purchased during last stab at physical fitness (4 years ago). Wipe off dust.


1:10 pm – Enter the locker room. Wonder how other people manage to be so much more comfortable with nudity than I. Also wonder why the people who like being naked are never the people you want to see naked.


1:15 pm – Step on the first free treadmill I see. Realize why this unit is free. It is positioned at exactly the right angle for my butt to be on display to everyone else on a machine. Try, vainly, to convince myself I don’t care.


2:15 pm – That went well. I will ignore the chest pains and shortness of breath. That happens to everyone, right? Right? (I am, of course, exaggerating. But I was reminded of how out of shape I actually am.)


3:00 pm – We are watching a movie. My son brings his arm up to his nose, takes a deep whiff.


“Oh man! I smell like the Y!”


I have no idea what that means.


3 responses to ““You Can Get Yourself Cleaned, You Can Have a Good Meal, You Can Do Whatever You Feel…”, or My Day at the Y

  1. Poor kid got the dutch oven. LOL.

  2. I’d love to see a novel or a short story that starts with that great opening scene. The challenge would be moving from fart jokes to something like cancer or homelessness or the angst of mid-life questioning and then back to something funny, balancing gritty humour with a hard story. There’s only one person I know who could write that story.


  3. Really, whom? (Tee hee hee). Thanks.

    One of the greatest joys in my life has been having a four year old son. Finally, someone who cracks up at fart jokes as hard as I do…

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