Apr 27, 2011

The Y

Every Wednesday, I and my comrade-in-arms Jeff go to the YMCA, and he teaches me how to swim. We have a good thing going: right when school ends, we walk to his car, and drive to the Y, listening to the soothing ukulele music of Israel Kamikawiwo'ole along the way. Upon arriving, I make this pretty dumb joke about forgetting my goggles in the car, and then we swim from 3 to 4. We then relax in the sauna or the steam room for a while, at which point we depart and head over to the convenience store, where we get gummies, and he buys a $1 scratch card, and if he wins anything, he uses it to buy more $1 scratch cards. Finally, we head next door to meet his girlfriend at Starbucks, where we each get a panini, I get a tall hot chocolate, and he gets a venti iced skinny caramel macchiatto, and then he drives me home. Same deal every week. It's really cute.

The most noteworthy part of the trip, however, is in the locker room at the Y. Some people are concerned about the locker room in that they're uncomfortable with their body image or whatever. That's not my problem. My problem is the elderly gentlemen who are a bit too comfortable with their body image.

It's important to note that there are no teenagers, young adults, or even middle-aged gentlemen strutting around the locker room without a towel on. It's specifically the old men. I don't know what it is about old age that makes you think everyone wants to see what you have to show off, nor what the cutoff age is for wearing clothes in public places, but there's clearly some definite age at which you just stop caring altogether. My theory is that this was the standard seduction technique in the 1950s, and that these gentlemen never realized that times have changed, nor that there are no females in the men's locker room, nor that they're old. Whatever the reason, it's just a thing that happens.

Now, a gentleman walking from the shower to his locker is almost borderline understandable. He has a reason to be naked. There are, however, some men who seem to stand around solely to scar the poor children who wish to go for a swim. Today, however, I encountered the father of all inappropriate uses of no towels at all: a gentleman was shaving in the nude.

Now, I would like to inspect this man's thought process for a minute. First, he had to explicitly decide to bring his razor to the Y. For whatever reason, shaving at home was not an option. It had to be done here. His hair was completely dry, meaning that he hadn't yet gone swimming; in other words, he selected his locker, removed his pants, and before donning his swimming apparel, removed his razor and shaving cream from his pants pocket (or man-purse, or other peripheral carrying device), and moseyed over to the sink to shave.

I have no problem with men shaving at the Y. I have no problem with men shaving in the nude. I would do neither of those things, but hey, whatever floats old mens' boats. To do both at once, however, is outright objectionable.

To add onto this masterpiece of a shaving ritual, we proceeded to see this very same gentleman no more than half an hour later at Starbucks. Hair: dry. He didn't swim at all. He just went to the Y, got naked, shaved, and got dressed again.

I'm never growing old.


Apr 24, 2011

Bumper Cars

So a few weeks ago, my school's orchestra went on a trip to Virginia Beach. One day was spent at the Busch Gardens, an amusement park in the area. It was swell overall, but specifically, bumper cars were extra-swell. I and nine others pulled into the line at perhaps 6:00 in the evening, if not a hair later, and began waiting in line.

The queue took the form of an elongated S shape, such that you would pass by everyone twice in your wait. Logical solution when passing a few dozen strangers in relatively close quarters? High five them all.

So I did.

Most people were caught off-guard, and some refused to take their high fives, even when they clearly had several seconds of warning. Many people were quite happy to high five a stranger, though, and often smiled. I punctuated most high fives with a "YEAH!", and usually built up to it with some encouraging "Aww yeah, is this happening? I think so - whuh - whuh-oh - YEAH!" The rest of the group quickly caught on, and soon it was a high five train. Some others from outside of my group even joined in, and every time a family came through and was responsive to the high fiving, we all applauded them loudly.

Upon reaching the front of the line and high fiving the ride operator, we filed into our cars, and the ten of us just started driving an an oval. No traffic. No collisions. Just polite driving, obeying the rules of the road and signalling where appropriate. Others noticed and caught on, and joined in our train. There was a phenomenal sense of camaraderie.

After our three minutes of safe, controlled driving, the ride ended and we got back in line. Reinitiate the high five brigade. When we got near the front of the line, we began discussing our plan for next time. One suggestion was to create a barrier in the middle of the middle of the arena, dividing it in half, but we instead came up with a better idea. We walked past the attendant, high fived him, and loaded into our cars. He in fact started high fiving everyone else after us, which was pretty cool. And thus began our shenanigan.

The ride began. The first few seconds were totally natural. Then, this terrifying-looking guy from our group with piercings and tattoos abound lifted up his sunglasses and pointed at this one guy and said, "YOU!" The target was a 16-or-so-year-old with cheetah facepaint who was with several of his friends. They were basketball bros, and were going to do our driving-slowly thing. Well, not if we could help it.

After Cheetahface was singled out, we all rushed him. Everyone steered their cars straight in his direction, and we pushed him into a corner. And we just sat there. And that's it. That was the ride. We just sat and watched him.

Cheetahface was incredibly flustered, and didn't really know how to respond. He seemed resigned and disappointed by his immobilization as he realized he was powerless. When the ride ended, we all tried to shake his hand and thanked him for being such a good sport, but his hand was limp and he sort of awkwardly mad contact with our hands, and then walked on looking at the ground. We ran off into the night, proud of the greatest bumper cars ever.