Everyday Life, Family Life

Episode 54 – Ordinary People

Denny is changing into his gym clothes. He has his shirt off. He walks over to me and points to a spot just below his shoulder, “See that little bit? That’s new muscle.”


“See that?” He points to the other shoulder front, “That’s happened since I started going to the gym.”

“Pretty impressive.”

Denny hasn’t changed out of his jeans into his sweat pants yet.

“Is that little bit hanging over your belt new muscle too?”

Denny doesn’t look at me. This is not a good sign.

“Not even a little smile?”

Not even a little smile.

“I have a little bit there too and I’m hoping the gym will take care of it.”

Now I’m trying to patch things up now, but my efforts are failing. I have gained a little belly since Christmas and this week I finally signed up for the gym too. Not the same gym as Denny.

I checked out Denny’s gym at the Community Centre once. It’s a bit lacking in lower body exercise machines. Actually it’s lacking in machines, period.

Denny calls my gym the hardcore gym. He says it’s where all the major body builders go. I go there because it has a Ladies section.

I offered Denny one of three Free Ten Day Passes I received with my membership. He didn’t want it.

“Are there a lot of ordinary people there?”

“Yeah, quite a lot. Well, they probably aren’t the kind of guys you described from your gym that just play around with the weights,” Denny told me about an older man who just flexes a few light-weight barbells whenever he visits the gym.

Denny looks unconvinced. I try to entice him and tell him about all the equipment.

“Really you just need six basic stabilizing exercises.”

“I noticed a difference after just two visits,” I change the subject.

“That’s all it takes. I noticed a difference after one visit. And I find now that I don’t just plop down when I sit,” Denny demonstrates several graceful squats for me. Squats have been a big thing with him. The first time he did squats I heard about it for days. His quads were in serious pain.

“I notice that older people often don’t have the support around their joints and they don’t appear as graceful,” Denny continued.

I’ve lost some of that grace, I know.

“These are the six stabilizers: the squat, the dead lift, the pull down, rowing, the shoulder press, and the bench press,” Denny demonstrates each one.

“Free weights help for stabilization. I read about two guys who were in a competition. One had trained on machines and one with free weights. They had to do ordinary life-skill maneuvers, to test their skills, and the guy who worked with free weights had no problem but the other one suffered an injury.”

Sometimes when I listen to Denny I think he missed his calling. He really should have been a teacher. Teaching comes so naturally to him. I tell him this.

“I am teaching.”

“I mean teaching older people.”

“I’m doing what I want to be doing,” his words are clipped. I drop the subject.

We went for a walk on the weekend. It was a beautiful evening. I looked up at a condo with a large wrap-around balcony. The sun was setting and there was a glow on the sandstone stucco of the building. I turned to Denny and said, “I’ve sometimes thought that would be a great place to live. It came up for sale once. It has two bedrooms.”

“We’re not moving. We’ve been through this before. I don’t want you talking about this again.”

His voice was very clipped this time.

I had heard that tone before, recently, with someone else. A week ago I brought up the subject of the budget with my boss. My department had a huge budget cut. The people it affected thought I was responsible for the cut. I mentioned the fact that I had not been given any input when the decision was made. It had been bothering me for awhile and I finally had the courage to actually put it out there.

“I don’t want to talk about this subject again.”


I am not the boss. I get it.


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