It was cold enough outside this morning that I opted to go to the gym for my walk. There is a 200-meter indoor track that circles the main workout area. It’s different than walking outside because the scenery doesn’t change much as I walk around and around.
But still, there was plenty to see.
For instance, there was a man of eastern heritage who talked constantly with himself. Sometimes he would talk in low tones; sometimes he would be animated; and sometimes he would chuckle softly to himself. Perhaps he had schizophrenia. Or perhaps he was speaking with his ancestors, or with his God.
I passed another man on the track who was watching a video on his IPhone as he walked. As I neared him, I could hear him giggling to himself. And in the 100 or so meters that it took me to fully pass him, he went from giggles to full out laughter. I started laughing myself from the utter joy of it.
There was a young man with a cognitive disability who was holding hands with a guardian. He was in a joyful mood and bounced as he walked.
Another man walked backwards for about an hour, carrying a folded notebook that appeared to have prayers written in it. Occasionally, he would look down at a page and mumble to himself.
There were the two lively, talkative young moms jogging around the track while pushing their baby carriages. They talked about their husbands, their careers, maternity leave, and the troubles they were having finding adequate child care.
And there was the woman who, by her mere presence, was like fresh flowers on a sunny day.
There were people of all shapes and sizes, all age groups, and various skin colours. Some wore wedding bands and some were single. There were those in designer workout clothes and those in sneakers and tattered t-shirts. Some were walking; some were running; some were pumping weights; some were on the bicycle and rowing machines; and some were on the mats. Some eyes roamed to the more attractive people and some eyes stared straight at the floor. Some were speaking with others and some worked out in silence. Many were listening to music on their IPods or other electronic contraptions.
Some seemed happy, and some seemed miserable. Some made occasional entries in their workout logs.
Other than the fact that we all shared the same general three-dimensional space at the same time, there was nothing you could say that was common about us at the gym.
Except that we were all doing something, anything, to improve or maintain our physical condition.
We were a tribe of sorts, with a pretty good cause.