I think we can agree on the fact that going to the gym is among the stranger activities humankind engages in. The whole concept of going to a closed room to move and sweat and be physically active, in order to make up for the rest of the day spent in other closed rooms where you don’t move and don’t sweat and aren’t physically active is somewhat bewildering. But then there are two places in the world where going to the gym arguably exceeds this level of general weirdness.
That is Nob Hill in San Francisco, and Bielefeld in Germany. Attending a Zumba class at my gym in Nob Hill means dancing among a group of 70 year old women, decked out in heavy eyeliner, wigs, and diamonds. I once ended up in conversation with one particular gym goer, who would reliably color-coordinate the leopard print body suit she wore over her body-fitted cycling shorts. After a pleasant conversation, she handed me her business card, which below her name read “Art lover and Savoir vivre enthusiast,” which made me baffle in awe and conspire to have the same job description on my business card 50 years from now.
While all of this may be unusual in the real world, it is somehow befitting of San Francisco and not so strange after all. If you’re looking for something really weird, head to my hometown in Germany. Yesterday, I found myself doing jumping jacks, chassés, and a dance step, which the instructor tirelessly instructed by screaming the word “REPITAHHHH” at us. I assume this was something meant to be repeated.
Picture this against the backdrop of blasting techno pop from the past and a class of 5 middle-aged attendants, who luckily didn’t seem to understand the English lyrics of the song, powerfully reduced to the words “Shut The Fuck Up.” Or maybe, they just didn’t think this was strange.
In any case – the best thing to do may just be to keep on repeating the Repitah, however doubtful of an activity it may seem. At least you can say that you went to the gym.