All I Need Is The Air That I Breathe

writer x

I’ve got another annoying story for you courtesy of my local gym.

So I’m running on the treadmill yesterday, trying to get my heart pumping, my legs moving, and my sweat glands gushing into overdrive. You know, an honest-to-goodness rip-snorting workout. After going underground to finish a few projects the last couple of weeks, I was desperate for a pretty grueling workout. Call me crazy.

So I’m running pretty fast, got the earbuds blaring Miranda Lambert, and trying to ignore the lady next to me yakking on her cell phone about some big real estate deal in north Phoenix. Everything was going pretty well, the loud cell phone yakker notwithstanding. I’d even reached that runner’s high where you feel like you could run all day. Life was good. Better than good.

But then without warning, the world changed: The gym cleaning crew stepped in.

All around me, three young girls with pails and aerosol spray cans began wiping down the treadmills and vacuuming the floors like it was the last time the gym could ever be disinfected. And did I mention it was 10 o’clock in the morning? And busy?

Anyway, there’s all this commotion going on around me—lady yakking on her cell phone, the usual hip hop blaring through the gym speakers that I do my best to ignore, Miranda Lambert blaring in my ears, guys grunting over the free weights in between fist pumps, and three girls spraying enough ammonia into the air to asphyxiate most of the Southwest.

All I could think of was, why here? Why now?

I usually run about six miles and I was already about halfway through my run. It killed me to have to stop but I had no choice, mostly because I couldn’t breathe. The aerosol cleaning sprays were not only blinding me but making my chest tighten into a knot. And I was the only one in my little area who seemed to be affected by it, making me wonder if everyone around me was one of those perfect pod people like in Invasion of the Body Snatchers where the pod people don’t need to eat or breathe. They just take over.

So I stopped. I had no choice, especially when the hard coughing started. After a few hand gestures (nothing obscene or inappropriate, of course), some chest heaving on my part, a quick apology and a head nod, the three cleaning ladies decided to start cleaning the equipment on the opposite end of the gym where there were, presumably, less annoyed people working out.

And would you believe that the lady yakking on the phone about her mega real estate deal never stopped for a single second? She was definitely a pod person.

::Writer X also writes at The 100 Most Annoying Things::

March 5, 2010 8:43 am

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