Thursday, April 16, 2009

How Friends Are Made

Original post date- 2/08

I was on the treadmill today at the gym, getting into a groove when a BIG dude got on the one next to me. I smiled at him and noticed that underneath the belly there was definitely a lurking athlete. He probably played ball in college, but like me, is several years removed. So I was trodding along to "Bring Me to Life" when I looked around and noticed that all the shirt and tie crowd had commuted off to work, leaving me and the dad from "Family Matters."

Although it was like sitting next to a stranger in an empty theater, it didn't get awkward until our feet were obviously CLOMPING in sync. No biggie, let's just kick this baby up a notch. I increased the speed giving my much shorter legs a half step advantage. Before I knew it, we were pacing again. I looked over at him. Was that a smirk on his face? Alrighty, then. Kick it up again….

I was swinging my arms to will my legs to go a little faster, and I guess I let out a little giggle or snort or something because my buddy laughed apparently at me. (Now I know why deaf people make…unusual noises.) I turned down the volume on my ipod just in case, and noticed him increase his speed again to match me.

Oh, it was on like Donkey Kong! I let him sweat a little bit, and then smiling straight ahead increased my speed to an easy run. I use the term "easy" relatively because running hasn't been easy since Mr. Wooldridge's "soccer" camp in 2nd grade. He immediately said, "Oh, hayl!" and started to run too.

Now let me be clear, neither one of us had any business punishing those machines, and there was the definite sound of skin slappin' skin. Coulda been my thighs, although he had just a tad of man-boob…

I had my arms in front of me like a T-Rex, trying to copy Forrest Gump's easy lope. The only person I was fooling was myself! Have you ever tried to suck wind quietly, so no one else would notice how out of breath you are? I was dying!

Next thing I know, one of my arms decided not to play nicely and struck out at God knows what. It caught the cord of my ipod, launched it out of the holder and smacked me right in the face! This threw off my gait, stumbling backward…I braced for the brick column behind me.

Apparently, I was right about Buddy being an athlete because I've never seen such a big man move so quickly. He caught me from falling, and even saved me total humiliation by saying, "I'm so glad you did that, you're killing me!" We agreed that if we meet there every other day at 10 am, we'll be ready for 'Dancing With the Stars' in no time. I didn't know large black men watched that show!

Alas, a friend was made.