Sunday, November 20, 2011

583. I Work Out Four Hours A Day

... said my customer without a trace of irony. It took every bit of self-control I possessed to stop myself from walking around to her side of the counter to inspect her abs.

She had a coat on. She looked normal, not fat, not thin, not particularly in shape. I smiled at her normal face, and she smiled back at me. How did we get here?

She had made some sort of comment about the fact that she didn’t work, that she didn’t have time to work, seeing as how she is exercising so much. She was approximately my same age, so I couldn’t help but take this as somewhat of a personal affront. Did she mean to imply that I was a “lesser” person because I was working?

“Please go ahead and take off your coat so I can see if your biceps are worth it,” I wanted to say. What I did say: “I’m going to double bag this turkey gravy and pumpkin butter.”

I started to think about what I would do with four extra hours per day if I didn’t have a job. While I swiped the Work-Out Woman’s credit card through the machine and waited for her to sign, I made a mental list:
  1. Sleep, I could sleep more
  2. Catch up on my TiVo’d episodes of Top Chef and Project Runway
  3. Clean my house for once instead of expecting magic fairies to perform this service
  4. Bake cookies
  5. Call a friend (I could have a marathon conversation with my pal in California, might eat up the entire four hours)
  6. Finish reading that latest stack of library books
  7. Put three weeks' worth of laundry away
  8. Write my blog
  9. Read my friends’ blogs
  10. Go to Target and roam the aisles
Hmm, working out was not even rating in the top 10.

What was I supposed to do with this bit of Work-Out Woman’s personal trivia? Was I supposed to volley it right back to her: “Hey, you look great! Keep working out four hours, time well spent!” or “Gosh, I am so envious of you. If I didn’t have to work, I would totally exercise for four hours, too!” What is the proper etiquette in this situation? Would I be fired if I said, “Are you sure it was four hours? Because you don’t actually look like you spent four hours. Maybe it was 20 minutes and your clock is stuck on Daylight Savings time?”

Instead, I just smiled my normal I-am-pretending-I-am-listening-to-you-but-there-is-a-line-behind-you smile.

“Okay, well, thank you then! And be sure to check back in a few weeks—we’re starting to get all of our Christmas things in!”

She lifted her heavy bag with her pinkie and walked out.

The next woman in line approached me. She leaned in conspiratorially and whispered, “I don’t think she should be proud of that time spent.”

I nodded and handed my new best friend another sample of chocolate marshmallow fluff. We were smug in the satisfaction that we were superior to Work-Out Woman. Work-Out Woman wasted her precious time on stupid things.  I thought about Work-Out Woman again later that evening when I was watching Top Chef, and again the next day when I was putting laundry away. She doesn’t know what she’s missing!



  1. Remember what momma said, those who talk about the most do it the least. Sex, housekeeping, and now it seems working out.

  2. I switched from running my life on auto-pilot a long time ago. Now I'm on auto-copilot.

  3. Do you, too, have 3 weeks worth of laundry piled somewhere??? Holy shit. And extra marshmallow fluff is the equivalent to suckers from the bank, except for adults.

  4. nola--aha! you're right!

    esbboston--I love it, auto-copilot.

    marianne-- actually 6 weeks' worth of laundry, just didn't want to sound like a total loser on my blog (oops, too late!). Maybe we will just go out and buy new clothes at this point, it might be easier. And marshmallow fluff? if heaven had a flavor, that would be it.


  5. I think Work-Out Woman is a little insecure about her life choices, so she has to go out in public and tell strangers how awesome she is.

    When I went through a five-month period of not working, I told myself I was going to clean every single day. I think I cleaned one day each month. Okay, fine, one day bi-monthly. Numbers 1, 4, 6, 8, and 9 on your list became very high priorities for me.

  6. Hmmm, me thinks she doth worketh outeth her mouth too much.

  7. (conspiratorial whisper)
    We all work out constantly. Beating a heart and making organs work and breathing takes energy, you know. If you actually WALK AROUND and DO LAUNDRY and that kind of stuff, you're a frickin' hero. If you actually walk from HOUSE to MAILBOX and back again (oh my god, DID YOU GO FURTHER????) you are officially qualified for the Iditarod.
    (Which takes a shitload of endurance.)
    -Motaki, Awesome-Excuses-Person and Aspiring Falconer

  8. haley--you would make an awesome psychologist. Is that your super-power? And I am loving it that you approve of 1,4,6,8, and 9. You can be my new best friend.

    couse--me thinks you areth correct!

    taki--I am my own hero? good God.


  9. Very sad. Sounds like WOW has no friends to spend quality time with. There are much better ways to spend one's time. Working at high end kitchen store with MOV for one!

  10. AAHHHH! So she left without you seeing her abdomen?? Oh no! Oh no! Well, if you have four hours, feel free to spend 81 minutes of it watching the "I am Fish Head Movie" - currently it does not cost any money to watch it online. Sometimes I end up using infantile English with things like "CAN I SEE YOUR ABS?" popping out of my mouth.

  11. Thanks for sharing it dear, like it.. and i want to tell you that i am study about Psychology, and finding some relevant answers.



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