Way back in the day I used to get up early and go to the gym. I got there around 06:30 so I could work out for an hour, shower, and get to work by 08:00. The gym at that time was always dead. Literally just a front desk person, me, and this badass woman (more about that later) about my age who always wore orange athletic shorts when she worked out.
She and I seemed to do our circuit in reverse order so she was always on the other side of the room or opposite me depending on where the equipment was. To this point, we hadn’t even said so much as “Good morning” to each other and it had been several weeks.
One day, I was doing an inclined squat and my back went out. I was literally being crushed by the weight and could barely speak. I mustered a weak, “Help!” and she ran over and hoisted the bar off me like it was a toothpick with marshmallows on the ends. She helped me up and got me into the changeroom. I said, “Thanks,” and she said, “No problem. Hope you’re okay,” and that was that.
Fast forward a couple of months later when I return to the gym. She waved at me when I got there and gave me the “thumbs up + shoulder shrug” sign language. I shot her back either a double thumbs up or finger guns, I don’t remember, and mouthed, “Thank you!” (I also did it in ASL because that’s one of the few words I know).
About a week later I started drinking protein shakes. I liked them, but there was a downside. They gave me terrible gas. I mean, windows down while driving in the dead of winter terrible. It was bad.
Anyway, one day I’m on the peck deck and Orange Shorts Wonder Woman was right across from me on the reverse-Thighmaster machine. I had just upped my weight and was trying to squeeze in one last rep, which I did, but I also squeezed out a very long but very silent (thank the gods) fart.
I thought I damaged my ass.
I expected to see a scorch mark on the seat when I stood up.
And then it hit her.
I’ve never seen someone’s face contort as I did hers, and that’s saying something when you go to the gym and see muscleheads trying to bench press the equivalent of a Prius.
She didn’t even finish her set. She just covered her nose with the sweaty towel she used to wipe the machines and left.
I never saw her again.
If there’s one thing I know it’s that the internet can find anybody, so if you’re out there, really strong woman in the orange shorts who worked out early in the morning at the Goodlife Fitness on Columbia Street in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada sometime around 2000 or 2001, please reach out so I can properly apologize for my rancid ass ruining your gym experience, possibly forever.