I go to the gym (fitness center, health club) every Sunday to work out. I should go more often, but . . . that’s another story. I park the car as close to the front door as I can manage except if there are snow banks in the way. Snow banks are hard to navigate with the walker. At The Gold Medal Fitness Center, the handicapped parking in the parking lot is my third choice. First choice is on the street in front of the gym; second choice is across the street. Now the street in question is only one lane in each direction, but it is a busy county thoroughfare. Regardless, I am fairly quick with the walker, even when I’m not wearing my brace. It is easier to work out without the brace.
This past Sunday was particularly cold, about 22o F. It was also windy with gusts up to fifty MPH. I parked across the street as the four spaces directly in front were taken. Drivers get nervous when they see a walker-guy crossing the street, so I zipped :) into the gym, waving thanks to the drivers who acceded the right-of-way and began my workout. The workout starts with 10 active minutes (with rest stops) on the cross trainer. Most of the other Sunday sweaters are used to seeing me haul myself up onto the cross trainer, but Laura has never had the courage to witness this special spectacle. Subsequent exercises on the various strength machines are more mundane. I try to finish the workout in the winter with 20-30 minutes on the hand bike. During the warmer months this exercise is strictly outdoors on my hand powered tricycle.
When I am ready to leave, I make my way to the front of the gym, sit at the juice bar, put on my jacket in the rare event that I am wearing one, and rest for a minute before going to the car. Today is definitely a day when even I am wearing a jacket. I proceed slowly to the street. After one to 1.5 hours of exercise I am moving a bit slower than I did on the way into the club. I peek out between the parked cars and wait for the traffic light up the street at the ShopRite to give me a break in the traffic. I cross to my car, again waving to the drivers who were either courteous enough, or nervous enough to stop and allow me passage.
I get to the car (sigh of relief), grab my keys and let go of the walker to open the door. Whoosh. Remember Sunday’s gusting wind? It knocks over the walker and sets it down by the rear wheel of the car. Well now, this is something new I think. Startling, but not a problem. It is especially not a problem because a fellow exerciser has followed me across the street, and jumps in to retrieve the walker. People are so eager to help. I think they are relieved when they discover an obvious way to lend a hand. “Thank you.” Did he just happen to be in the right place at the right time, or was he nervously following me across the street, just in case? People are kind, and as Blanche DuBois said, “Whoever you are, I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.”