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:
- Sleep, I could sleep more
- Catch up on my TiVo’d episodes of Top Chef and Project Runway
- Clean my house for once instead of expecting magic fairies to perform this service
- Bake cookies
- Call a friend (I could have a marathon conversation with my pal in California, might eat up the entire four hours)
- Finish reading that latest stack of library books
- Put three weeks' worth of laundry away
- Write my blog
- Read my friends’ blogs
- Go to Target and roam the aisles
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!