Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Man in Steam Room

You may recall me writing about a strange character I met in the leisure centre.

Well, I met another one last week.

After my weight training and swimming session, I walked into the steam room in the health suite.

There was a big, bald gentleman in there, dressed in a black plastic suit. He was counting out loud. "Forty....Forty One...Forty Two..."

Whilst doing this, he was shadow boxing and pacing round the room in circular fashion.

I sit down in the corner, near the door.

"Hello there," I venture.

In response, he launches words at me in some sort of West Country/Bristolian accent:

"Hey, you've got to keep moving don't you? Got to keep moving. I only managed two sessions last week. I usually do three or four. My wife......."

at this point he gives a grim chuckle, then continues:

" Well, you know what women are like. They're all lazy f**king bitches. It's alright for her, eh? Lazy f**ing bitch. Sitting on the sofa. Anyway I'm forty-six you know! It's hard to keep the weight off. You've got to keep moving."

Well! Naturally at this point I'm eyeing the exit, and thinking about beating a hasty retreat to the spa bath. But the niceties of social convention keep me in my seat.

"Is that a special sauna suit you're wearing?" I ask. I've seen my friend Gerry wear one. Apparently it helps him burn extra calories.

"No no no this is just a tracksuit," he replies.

(Now. Here's a thing. At this time this fella and I were the the only people in the health suite. So later, when I went to get changed, the kit bag in the changing room must have been his. And beside the kit was a clear plastic bag with an insert upon which was written 'Vestement de sudation/Sweating Suit," with a picture of yer man's exact outfit. Why on earth did he lie to me?)

So, by now he's stopped counting but he's still shadow boxing while bouncing around the place.

"Gotta keep moving, don't you? Gotta keep moving. I like to spar but it's hard to find someone my own age and weight. Younger blokes, they're not as strong as me, but they're more athletic. Fitter. They just defend defend defend. Wait until I get tired, see? Then they go after me and put me down."

I'm wondering where this is leading. Does he want me to spar with him? To get up and start boxing him in this oh-so-hot steam room? I might be a big bloke, but I couldn't punch my way out of a clingfilm greenhouse. Nor do I want to.

But the conversation leads nowhere as he soon starts up again on another tack:

"We need some music in here eh? Some beats. It's boring in here. Too quiet. Something to keep us moving."

The steam room is a place for rest and relaxation. Not a place for mentalists to bounce around shadow boxing. I make my excuses and leave.

I go and get changed. As I leave, he has pinned the poor attendant down in an intense one sided conversation. He was telling him how Christians were not be trusted; how they had invaded Africa; how they had recently turned three thousand non-Christians out of their homes; how their religion was evil, dealing only death and destruction. Then he started on the need for music again.

I wonder how he turned the conversation to that topic?

Oh, and as I pass the communal showers an attractive young mother is towelling her toddler dry. Nothing wrong with that, apart from the fact she's stark naked. (The mother not the child!!!) I didn't know where to look. Well, I did, but I tried hard not to.

No comments: