Alfred Hitchcock and Steam
Gyms at 9:00 a.m. are interesting because every other schlub on a treadmill wonders if the other has a job. The equipment is available for use, the bass thump pumping throughout is not as overbearing, and the men's locker room is a few penises less populated. Mine in particular is filled with these gallavanting jaybirds, the guys who shoot you a quick glance when you're lathering up in the shower and who like to chat in the buff. Somewhere you find the strengh to push on.
The sauna this morning was still warming up so I opted for the tiled rival.
I entered the steam room and was greeted by hiss and mist and the figure of another person faintly visible through the fog. Gold-chain Italians in movies and business tycoons might talk in steam rooms and saunas, but I refrain, and not because it's considered strange or untoward, no far from that. I'm sitting in 140 degrees, my elbows on my knees, and I'm dripping with sweat and inhaling menthol-tinged damp air. It's just not conducive to discussion for me. I sit on the tile and the hiss begins anew.
I lean against the wall and close my eyes as heat envelopes me and think of my life and of words and of how I need to get better sleep, eat a bit better, renew my credit cards, mail resumes, upload my photos, and visit my grandmother in Jersey. She lives a bus ride away and is sleeping on the first floor now, can't make it up the stairs, we'll go get lunch, I say, and she says no, We'll eat cold cuts and talk about how she just doesn't get it anymore, these Koreans with the nail salon and the Russian lady she's paying to drive her to Shop-Rite. I asked her once why she has never told me she loved me and she said they didn't do that in Germany. We have the same face.
The heat becomes too much. I lift my head up off the wall and open my eyes. There before me stands a squatty silhouette, like Alfred Hitchcock's, except he's butt naked and locked like a guard with a fuzzy hat. Just standing there, in a state of naked Zen, his chest expanding wide. Al doesn't stay for the mist to clear and leaves as a shadow figure. I tell the guy sitting next to me that it was an awkward thing to see after snapping out of a daydream.
"Yep," he said. "That kind of shit can be pretty shocking."