On a normal day, I can usually score a parking spot at the health club within four spots of the door. But the week after New Year’s I will usually arrive at the gym and find the lot so completely full, I’ll be forced to park in Suburbia Siberia.
“I got my workout just walking from the car to the club,” I whined to the gym employee at the front desk last year after I hoofed it from the nearby supermarket parking lot.
“You think that’s bad? Wait until you see in there,” she said, nodding her head toward the gym down the hall.
“Crowded?” I asked.
She nodded her head.
“What are all these people doing here?” I said. “Are you giving away free Power Bars?”
“Nope. They’re New Year’s Resolutioners,” she said matter-of-factly.
I heard a din from behind the doors and I cringed. My normally quiet, unassuming health club had been overtaken by the guilt-ridden victims of holiday overindulgence. The “too-many Christmas cookie-ers,” “too-much party platter-ers” and the “too busy to exercise-ers” were all running amok in my gym, desperate to shed their holiday pounds. They all made a New Year’s resolution to get in shape and, from the looks of it, they all decided to do it at my health club that day.
Of course, I should be clear that it’s not my health club. I don’t own it. I merely have a membership like all these other people. But as a “regular,” not a “resolutioner,” I felt that I should be able to park where I wanted without having to leave my car at the long-term parking lot at the airport and catch a shuttle to my gym. Plus, all these new people meant that there was going to be competition for the bikes in the spin class, the 10-pound weights in the sculpting class and the good ellipticals that don’t squeak. No, I wasn’t a happy health-club camper. I was miffed. I was annoyed. I had a bad case of health-righteous indignation.
“All those New Year’s Resolutioners have taken over my health club,” I complained to my husband.
He gave me the blank stare that he reserves for my righteous indignation tirades.
“They’re filling the parking lot and the exercise classes,” I continued.
“Hey, maybe you’ll meet some nice people and make some new workout friends,” he said cheerfully.
I glared at him. “I have enough friends.”
He raised an eyebrow. “Clearly, because you are so warm and welcoming.”
I thought that maybe I was, indeed, being a little hard on the new members. I too had overindulged over the holidays, so it’s not like I couldn’t relate to their New Year’s angst.
For a while I tried alternating my routine by coming a little earlier than usual and a little later than I liked to see if the crowds thinned out a bit. I made light conversation with some of the newbies. I even offered the last towel on the rack to a resolutioner, and one day I gave up my bike at a spin class to someone new. I had turned over a new leaf and become the Mother Theresa of the health club.
But just when I had finally started to accept this new gym existence, about two weeks into the New Year, I arrived at the gym and found it… empty.
“Where did everyone go?” I asked the lady at the front desk incredulously.
“Where they go every year about two weeks after they make their resolutions to exercise and lose weight,” she said.
“Where’s that?” I wondered.
She shrugged. “Dunkin’ Donuts.”
Tracy Beckerman is the author of the Amazon Bestseller, “Barking at the Moon: A Story of Life, Love, and Kibble,” available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble online! You can visit her at www.tracybeckerman.com. To find out more about Tracy Beckerman and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.