Gym People: Mister Swing

March 24, 2010

Mister Swing: Mr. Swing carries a gigan-tastic gym bag. From the window, I’ve seen him haul it out of the passenger side of his minivan. It’s seriously the size of a St. Bernard.

Mr. Swing himself, however, more closely resembles a Pomeranian, with a classic “Class 3” underbite. He’s probably in his mid-50s, very compact, extremely flexible, and chews gum.

Mr. Swing arrives, stashes his huge bag in the locker room, fiddles around on a few weight machines, and then stretches on the treadmill for about 20 minutes while listening to something in his headphones.

After that, he just rocks it. He prances on the treadmill for a good hour, lip-syncing with feeling, hips swaying with every super-duper fast step, and appears to just have a ball. He’s fun to watch, but intimidating to be next to on the treadmill.

GYM PEOPLE UPDATE! Buongiornio: I went the the gym the other day alone, since my gal pal C had to move. I bumped into Buongiornio in the free weights, and she asked where my workout partner was.

I told her she was moving, and that she’d be back the next day. Buongiornio hesitated a moment before asking, “Now, is she from Italy?” I smiled, and replied, “Actually she’s from Colombia, South America.”

Buongiornio looked stricken, and in a small voice said, “I don’t know why, but I thought you two were speaking Italian.” Now I was the one who felt uncomfortable. I grinned and brightly said, “Awww, we were probably fooling around or something on the day you heard us, but generally we speak Spanish.”

She looked marginally relieved, and scurried away as soon as she finished her set. I felt almost guilty for telling her the truth – Poor Buongiornio!

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Gym people: Buongiorno!

March 12, 2010

You may know that I joined a new gym in December. I go most mornings with a friend of mine who lives nearby. We’ve been going for a few months, so these days my friend and I recognize a ton of other members. We don’t know any of their names, so we make up our own names for them based on some aspect of the personality or behavior each one displays in the gym.

Let’s see…Here are some of the people I saw just this morning: Buongiorno, La Chinita, El Viejito, Mr. Chatty, Kick-Your-Ass Lady, Luke’s Fake Brother (AKA The Grunter), Mr. Nut Jokes, Varicose Veins Man, Somebody’s Creepy Uncle, El Negrazo, Victor/Victoria, Escuelera, The Gorilla, Hair Extensions Barbie, The Botox Sisters, The Robot, El Loco, and Dead-in-the-Sauna Lady.

I thought it might be fun to tell you about some of these folks.

First up, Buongiorno:

My friend C and I nearly always work out at the gym together. She is a classic Colombian beauty, all flashing dark eyes and ebony hair. The two of us are friendly gals, and each day we smile and say “Good morning” to those we meet. Since my Spanish is much better than C’s English, she and I speak Spanish with each other, and we never really think much about it.

One day, one of the “regulars” spotted us from across the room, and absolutely beamed. As we neared, she waved energetically, and called out a sing-song “Buongiorno!” This tickled C and me, and we replied, “Buongiorno!” before continuing on to the FM machines.

And, ever since that day, when we see this lady, she tosses an always-enthusiastic “Buongiorno!” our direction.

Now, for those of you who have some Romance language confusion, it may be important to point out that “Buongiorno” means “Good morning” – in Italian.

C and I speak Spanish, not Italian.

So…our friend “Buongiorno” greets us effusively each morning…in Italian. C and I have discussed this at length – there are two possibilities. First, Buongiorno may think she is actually greeting us in Spanish, due to some general confusion or lack of linguistic prowess. Second, and most likely, we believe Buongiorno thinks we actually speak Italian instead of Spanish. This, in and of itself, is not tremendously unusual, surprisingly – Since I don’t look a thing like my gal C, who definitely resembles the “typical” Spanish speaker of our region, when folks hear me speak Spanish, they often presume it’s something other language.

Neither C nor I have the heart to correct Buongiorno, so instead we just smile and say “Good morning!”

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