This is not what I see at the gym

Overheard at the gym

This is not what I see at the gym
This is not what I see at the gym

It took not one, not two, but three friends pressuring inviting me to work out this morning for me to make it to the gym. Because I was planning an 8:40 departure I had 2 full hours to sit in my pee bed and ring myself with various devices in order to play plenty of candy crush. Some people pay for new lives, some people cheat and set the clock on their phone a month ahead. In the true spirit of excess I just use my six iPads to rotate from one to the other as get stuck on a level. If you don’t know what I am talking about consider yourself very lucky.

As I drive to the gym I see the gas light. I remember seeing it yesterday, and (is this right?) the day before. I switch the display to miles to empty and it reads 2, and as I wrap my brain around that it switches to 0.

My first thought is one of elation. NO WORK OUT! I could be literally out of gas.

But it is pouring . So the walk to the gas station would be as bad as the exercise class. Maybe.

During the class I barely make it through the 30 seconds exercise 30 seconds rest, and get to the stretch portion where the ladies loll around on foam rollers. Most twisting into different positions to stretch out glutes, hammys, and other adorably nicknamed large muscles. I sit in proximity to the roller.

To my right a friend and friendly acquaintance are chatting about parenting. First of all I have tuned in late and don’t know the context of their conversation, second of all I have been working out, so my internal monologue is crowding out most of my ability to hear. It sounds like this. PHEW thats done. Now we don’t EVER HAVE TO WORK OUT AGAIN. Wow, I smell bad. Why are all exercise bottoms black?

Back in the stretching circle I hear a bit about her daughter crying. Then she says. “I just can’t let her fail.”

Despite making eye contact with a friend across the way and miming the universal sign for zipped lip I chime in. “But if we are all guaranteed to have a set amount of failure in the world, wouldn’t you rather her go through it now, when it teaches resilience, then later when the stakes are higher?” Or thats what I would have said if I had been sorted out. Instead I said “Isn’t it better to fail now than later?” “no.” She answers me emphatically. No. I can’t let her fail.

So I turn away, back to my mimed stretching and think about it for a minute. I wonder why I believe in some sort of conservation of failure. Its not like we have this predestined amount of trial and tabulation, and we can just move through it early in life and coast later. But we all fail some time. Really lots of times, and it takes practice.

Limiting the scope creep of failure, knowing that we are still lovable even if a friend ditches us, or that we can still become experts at something if we struggle with foreign language, or there is a point to running even if we don’t win the race. (Well I actually don’t believe the last one, but you get the idea.) Its better to do that when the stakes are low. That is why we emphasize process and effort and things within our control, not outcomes to children. And still there are winners to races, and one kid picked for the lead in the play. And that is OK. It is OK not to be invited to a party.

[Tweet theme=”basic-white”]That is why we emphasize process and effort and things within our control, not outcomes to children. @annawritesstuff[/Tweet]

Just yesterday Leo told me that Oliver spent all of recess alone because his one closest friend wasn’t in school. I asked Oliver how he felt about it. He said fine, he just walked around. I remember eating lunch in the band room, hiding in bathroom stalls. Despite some vicious and lonely times I have more friends than I can effectively spend time with now. It is all temporary this life of ours.

So it is time to stop stretching. Or stop pretending to stretch, and three of us decide to go get $8 smoothies. Mine turns out to be an $11 juice and it is almost comical. It takes 25 minutes for the little juice dude to prep our three juices and we could have fed a family of four on what we paid. A first world snack stop.

We catch up, talking about philanthropy and social ventures, and then my blog. Which people read and talk about even if they DONT COMMENT. I tell them about my private emails numbering almost 100 after the money post. Seriously people. Start talking about money. You all want to. I joke about putting standard disclaimers at the bottom of each post. “I think about Syria [insert current important global issue], I just don’t write about it” and “I don’t edit, its part of what you love about me. Ignore grammatical errors or stop reading.”

We check in about our afternoons and I tell them I am going back to bed to play candy crush. They know me well enough to no I am not joking, but they only get disturbed when I reveal that my bed has been peed on. (Not by me) We talk about pet problems and how I think putting down the obese, snoring, bed wetting, lumbering one eared cat would send the wrong message to my kid who still does a bit of bed wetting himself. You pee you die.

And thats it. Workout and juice is over. A perfect morning in Shelburbia. Off to crush some candy. We leave with a wave, and she calls out to me. “Don’t get in the pee bed. Don’t do it.”



 I think about Syria [insert current important global issue], I just don’t write about it.

 I don’t edit, its part of what you love about me. Ignore grammatical errors or stop reading.

Oh, and if you want to tell me something I pretty much always want to hear it but I suck at secrets. So maybe use a pseudonym. Or something.



Published by

Anna Palmer

Anna Rosenblum Palmer is a freelance writer based in Denver, CO. She writes about sex, parenting, cat pee, bi-polar disorder and the NFL; all things inextricably intertwined with her mental health. In her free time she teaches her boys creative swear words, seeks the last missing puzzle piece and thinks deeply about how she is not exercising. Her writing can be found on Babble,, Great Moments in Parenting, Ravishly, Good Men Project, Sammiches and Psych Meds, Playpen, Crazy Good Parent, and YourTango. She also does a fair amount of navel gazing on her own blog at

2 thoughts on “Overheard at the gym”

  1. I love every one of these posts. I meant to comment on the money post, but something distracted me. I also meant to comment on the sex one, because it too, was great (though I hung out with a mutual friend a week later and we both had a good laugh. 3 to 5 times week. I giggle now, but it is a good idea.)

    Every part of this, the money, the parenting on (or off) track, the sex, the depression, the exercise, it’s all part of all of our everyday lives and it’s so damn hard to change gears. It’s somewhat easier to just make a coffee/wine date and talk about it. Talking about it, and really, laughing about it have kept me sane and buoyant over the last few years. Let’s talk about infertility next because I am just flat out sad at how many friends are struggling, and doing so silently. Then maybe step-parenting because, oh my god, it’s so emotionally complex. Then maybe religion, for a little lighthearted fun. Just keep writing about it and maybe accept text messages as replies. It’s all great. Don’t stop prodding.

    Also, it’s a good day in our house when the 17 year old dog doesn’t use the floor as a bathroom. And I am woefully behind on current events.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.