Greekish, With A Nice Tongue
Eight years ago I found myself growing weary of City Life. The congestion of all that humanity, packed-in like sardines, left me gasping for space. Many people are invigorated by all of that condensed kinetic energy. Those are the lucky ones, I suppose. And I envy them. But I could not emulate them. I was already too old. Everything raced faster than my own untreated hypertension. So I slunk back to suburbia, where the only recurrent annoyances came from lawnmowers, leaf-blowers and bird droppings.
And then, like the irrepressible progeny of every cockroach I’ve ever crushed or poisoned, bits of my past crept back into view…
We worked out at the same gym. I don’t remember her name. I probably never knew it in high school. We never spoke. She wasn’t unattractive, but she wasn’t exactly my type. Back then, I was chubby and zity and exactly nobody’s type. I nevertheless had standards. My standards were unrealistically high. And they remain so to this day…
She had a big nose--for a woman--and I don’t like big noses--on women. I suppose if I had a big nose--a nose as large as hers--I would like big-nosed women. Women who have short, thinnish noses, like my own, appeal to me. Scarlett Johansson--now there’s a nose. What’s ironic is that I dislike the shape of my own nose. I would prefer to have a "straight" or Greek nose. This woman who was nameless to me, who I only knew in passing as a teenager, and who now worked out at my suburban gym, she had a Greek nose. I think it’d pass for Greek. It was Greekish. Perhaps it was Roman. Perhaps Greco-Roman. I do not know if she was of Greek or Roman heritage. Given the neighborhood, she was probably Jewish.
Between sets and reps and laps at the gym we would often make eye contact with each other. But I never opened my mouth--not even to say, “Hi.” Nor did I ever smile. Nor did she. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to. Aside from her big nose, she had blossomed into an attractive woman. But at the gym, and, quite often, whenever I find myself in a public place, I try not to acknowledge anyone’s existence. To me, everyone else is a stoplight, or a speed bump, or a gapers delay. And I fully understand that my presence is causing gridlock for somebody else. And I do not want to be anybody’s gridlock. All I ever wanted to do was sweat my buckets and get the hell out of there.
Anyway, it was a filthy gym. Oddly, the cleaning staff, if you ever saw them, wiped down and dusted off only those things that were never touched--the stairs of a StairMaster, for example, but they'd never clean its rails or the control panel.
I was jogging on a treadmill the last time I saw her, or, the last time I remember seeing her. The last time that mattered. She walked by and stuck her tongue out at me. But, I think, she did so in a playful way. A grown woman would not otherwise cast her tongue out at a fella, would she? I know, I know, the proper response would have been a tongue-jut of my own, but, to my mind, such things take years to manifest.
I quit the gym three or four years ago, but if I ever see her again, I promise, and may God strike me down if I don't, I will bare my tongue to her just as she bared hers to me!