I’ve hit up the in-building gym the last couple of days. And when I say gym I mean a room with a bench press, a pull-down machine that at one point doubled as a row machine before the cable snapped, and a stationary bike that is nearly as old as me. Couple that with the ceiling and walls made of wood that, minus the blue rubber floor, makes me feel like I am in the world’s largest sauna, and you’ve got probably the finest gym this side of the Atlantic.
But it works for what I’m doing. Which is just trying to be halfway active. As I walked in this evening I was surprised to see another person in there. I nodded and smiled as I walked in. And got no response. As I walked in closer, I even said hello and smiled again. This time I got a slight nod. I’d like to add that this guy wasn’t in the middle of any sort of heavy lifting. I wasn’t that guy.
Anyway, I turned on my iPod and got on the stationary bike and went about my business. After being in the same room together for just over 12 minutes and 19 seconds (the stationary bike keeps time) my fellow gym-goer decided it was time to go. At which point he smiled at me, said a few words and then goodbye. I was taken aback. And pleased of course. This was clearly a victory on my part. I had broken down the wall of silence. I had prevailed. Kind of. I mean we had been in a room for 12 minutes and 19 seconds without so much as a word spoken after my introductory “hejsan.”
Since everyone knows 12 minutes and 19 seconds on a stationary bike doesn’t really constitute a good workout I continued a bit. Then decided it was time to lift. So I did some lat pull downs and some shoulder and back stuff. With my iPod on. So it was with some confusion that I turned around to see a girl in the room with headphones in and saying a few words in my direction. I pulled out my headphones and asked her what she said. This being Sweden, you don’t turn down the opportunity to talk to someone willing to talk. She waved and I said hello. And that’s when I realized she sure as hell wasn’t speaking any language I understood. And that the headphones were just a part of her cell phone. Yup, this time I was that guy. She wasn’t talking to me.
I hate hands free cell phone technology.
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