Sitting in the steam room after my gym workout is my little reward to myself. As I’ve discussed previously on this site (in The Gym: A Real Person’s Guide to Getting There) it often serves as that dangling carrot, motivating me to even get there.
When the steam room is closed for repair, I’m crushed.
But yesterday there were no such road bumps, and I was thoroughly enjoying my steam session, when after about 5 minutes… it stopped. Now I can take the heat longer than most, and I’m not even close to being done after 5 minutes.
A water faucet and short hose is the crude mechanism in place for firing the steam generator back up. You cool down the temperature sensor near the ceiling by squirting water on it, and the steam kicks in again. So I stood there with the hose, squirting the sensor. And squirting. And squirting. No steam.
How can it be broken? It was just working fine a minute ago. I fight back a tear.
I’m not nearly saturated enough with heat yet. Suddenly the glass door to the steam room opens. And stays open. (Which, BTW, constitutes rude behavior in a steam room…)
I look over to see a fully clothed man, wearing a workers cap, just standing there holding the door open, staring at me. Just as it occurs to me that he is perhaps there in a repair capacity, he raises his arm out in my direction and starts waving me out with his hand.
Signalling me to exit the steam room.
I’m soaking wet, in a swimsuit. He’s bone dry, looking a little like one of the Mario Brothers.
It’s a mildly embarrassing situation, but more importantly… He’s not the boss of me. And I don’t WANT to exit the steam room, at that very moment. I’m not done yet.
I don’t care if it’s broken. Can I not be left alone in peace, for a few more precious minutes, to enjoy what little is left of the remaining steam?!? For the love.
Silence. We’re at a total standoff.
The two of us, just staring each other down… a mere 10 feet apart.
I’m not sure why he doesn’t say anything to me, he just keeps wordlessly beckoning to me. My annoyance growing at his come hither finger-wagging.
I’m not sure exactly what to say to him. The only thing that comes to mind, is “Close that stinkin’ door… you’re letting all the steam out!“ Of course, I didn’t say that. I talk a lot of smack in my head, but I’m typically too nice to say these things out loud.
It’s 6:15 a.m., and I’m really not in the mood for this kind of a confrontation.
Finally, I give in. I’m not happy about it. But that’s just the kind of people pleaser that I am.
So I walk out towards him. You know, dripping wet in my swim suit. Jerk.
Just when I reach the point of being completely outside the steam room, he points to the turn-dial timer mounted on the wall. Which had expired.
He states, “The timer ran out”, cranks it back up, and the steam instantly starts gushing once again in the room behind me. So yes, he did in fact have the ability to speak.
(A side note in my own defense over the timer ignorance: I’ve gone to this gym for over 5 years, and have never had this happen. Apparently up until now, the timer had been broken and stuck at 15 minutes, so it never ran out.)
Now why in heaven’s name he felt the need to make me come outside my steamy haven in order to demonstrate turning the timer back on, rather than just verbally relay this tidbit of information, I’ll never know. Chalk it up to one of those life mysteries which may never be solved.
At least Mario fixed the steam room for me. And for that I was grateful. Despite our little standoff.
*o* *o* *o*
Have you had any bizarre encounters with strangers lately?