Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I have mentioned several times before (but not recently) that I workout at the Jewish Community Center in Washington DC. It is close to my house, they have lots of good programs there in addition to their stellar workout facilities, and it rarely gets crowded like the traditional gym. If I were to breakdown my usage of the JCC, I'd say 90% of the time I swim, 5% of the time I play basketball, and the other 5% of my time is spent doing yoga or fitness center--but its the pool that keeps me going there and playing the inflated membership fee.

Now usually I do my working out in the morning, but the cold weather has kept my ass planted in the bed, so yesterday I went to swim after work. As I walked into the JCC, I saw a gentleman that I knew in the lobby. He works with me at the Department of Justice, and while I won't say we are best friends, our paths used to cross a lot more a few years ago, so we still speak. This was the first time I had seen him at the JCC, and the conversation went as follows:

Him: Hey what's going on dude? You work out here
Me: Hey man what's up? Yeah I've been coming here since Jan of 2009
Him: Sweet man, Yeah I just lifted weights a bit, trying to keep my new year's resolution alive you know?
Me: I hear that man
Him: Are you here to play basketball?
Me: (hesitating a bit): Uh no, I'm here to swim for about 30-40 minutes
Him: Oh ok man cool, you know I've never been swimming here.

Now there was 30-45 more seconds of b.s. conversation, and we finally parted ways. I didn't know whether I should be offended at his basketball comment, or to just categorize it as harmless and not dwell on it. I chose the latter, I changed clothes, I hit the pool for 30 minutes, I showered, and then I got dressed.

As I stood in the mirror brushing my hair, I saw someone else I know coming out of the shower. I have actually seen this person at the JCC before (mainly in passing in the lobby), but I've also seen him around my neighborhood as well. I just said what's up to him, because he was in a towel, and talking to another man in that state violates my own personal man code. But he proceeded to be a bit chatty, so I had to give him at least a minute of my time:

Him: What's going on dude? Long time no see
Me: Yeah I usually try to workout in the morning, but I was too lazy
Him: Mornings? Really? I do mine after work, it helps me sleep better at night
Me: Maybe I should try that
Him: So were you up here playing basketball?
Me: (trying not to laugh at this point): No I just went swimming
Him: Oh ok, sounds good

Again, more b.s. conversation followed, but I can't remember what it was, but I do know it didn't last very long. I had a dinner date with my wife, and I left out and focused on that. But not before thinking that I had been the victim of some bullshit, borderline racial profiling. I mean everyone who works out at the damn JCC knows that on Mondays there is no pickup basketball. There is Krav Maga from 6-7:30, and then there are basketball leagues played from 7:30-10pm. I ran into the first dude I know at 6pm, which means he had to walk by the gym as he left, so he KNEW there was no basketball. The second guy I saw in the locker room I saw around 6:45, and he had just finished working out in the fitness center, which means he too walked by the gym and saw Krav Maga class. So why the hell would they both ask me about basketball? I'll tell you why...its the knee jerk "Oh the brother must be here to play ball".

Now I am quite sure I can run into both guys again this week, but I don't trust myself to be a class act about these things, so I won't. But perhaps next week I will allow myself to run into them, and I'll say something edgy, smart with a splash of sarcasm. I haven't decided yet..

Anyway, if you have 55 minutes to spare, check out the Stevie Wonder video below, its pretty good stuff


Jazzbrew said...

Wow. Sometimes stuff is so wrong you almost have to laugh at it. Kudos to you for letting it roll without comment.

You should have said, "Yeah I'm gonna play some hoops. Later I plan to chill with a bucket of chicken and some watermelon. But if you excuse I need to get running... my tap dancing lesson starts in about 15 minutes."

Is that too over the top? Too edgy?

rashad said...

A response to that effect crossed my mind, but I just didn't collect myself quickly enough

maxwellsmusze said...

not over the top at all @ jazzbrew! haha!

Next time just say, no I was getting my krav maga on.

Sab D said...

Sometimes even brothers are given pause when you say you swim. I'm at an old-timer, rehab type of gym so there isn't a basketball court and yet I still get the sideways when I say I'm swimming. But them basketball remarks make me feel like Martin in Boomerang - "it's racial man!!" (clawing my fingers together)
On another note, the type of gym I am at is extremely deficient in the eye candy category. I mean when the varicose vein society is doing group aqua yoga, the view can be unsettling. But then again, maybe the lack of eye candy allows a brother to focus on his workout - something that makes you go HMMMMMM....