Due to my steady diet of cheese, beef and Oreos I have started a gym regimen. After spending all of my formative child and teen years crying, lamenting and petitioning God to give me a butt, he did. I feel that he is making up for lost time, though, and am scared that he’s going to continue answering that prayer until I resemble a Weeble. This, combined with the fact that I sit immobile at a desk all day and play Mario Kart most of the evening has led me to organized public fitness.

I have made some observations in my short time as a gym participant and would like to address them here.

1. There is a certain group of men that take the machines in the very back of the room and stare at the women on the machines in the front of the room. I thought, at first, that perhaps they were just very intent on the TV’s, but then realized that the TV’s are located on the top of the wall, and not the posteriors of the 16 year olds. Which leads me to …

2. There are two types of women stuck in the front of the room. The sweatpant women and the teeny tiny Nike running shorts women. Since I’m not sure which category I fall in, and the ravenous wolf-men tend to ogle each equally, I patiently wait (for hours if necessary) until a machine in the very back corner of the room comes open. This helps curb the fear that I look like a skiing Giraffe on the elliptical, or “Pheobe running” on the treadmill.

3. I am now in silent competition with an elderly man, and he is winning. There is no stopping him. The first time I went, I thought, “Good, at least there’s one person that I can outrun!” Incorrect. He can go for hours, and now that I’ve created this pseudo competition in my neuroses filled head, I refuse to be the first to get off my machine. I now always leave the facility in a state of near collapse, panting like a dehydrated Labrador.

4. Some people do not wipe off their nasty, sweat permeated machines and I am going to run over them with my car in the parking lot. I have an unfounded fear of contracting one of those African diseases that they write the cable mini-series about, and so this peeves me to no end. For this reason, I sanitize before I get on, after I get off, and am considering purchasing one of those black light germ detectors they use on Dateline (or is that just for semen?)

5. I have discovered that there’s no need to save that cell phone conversation about your mother’s toe infection or what you got at Sam’s Club for the car, or home. You can have it at the gym! And really, I’m not a cell phone Nazi, as long as the volume is kept at a reasonable level. But, if you are louder than the 10 television sets playing 10 different shows, the deafening hum of the machines AND the blaring Alice in Chains on my ipod, then please shut up.