This morning I went to the gym, just like I always often sometimes do of a morning. Now, when I go to the gym, I’m always weighed down with a collection of STUFF that is essential to my existence at said gym: stuff like my hoodie (yeah, yeah, I own a hoodie, settle down), water bottle, car keys, gym card, iPhone, etc. When I use the treadmill, most of this stuff fits onto the shelf below the display (Not the iPhone. I normally just throw it around the room. In fact,  a couple of weeks ago, I announced my arrival at a spin class by opening the door of the studio and basically just throwing the phone inside. No, I have no idea how I managed it: I think I must have tripped over my own feet in the doorway, and somehow managed to drop/throw the phone in my struggle to steady myself. What I do know is that this was the second time my phone had preceded me into a class at the gym, so it’s a miracle that thing is still working, seriously.). This time, however, I decided to use the elliptical. This was to prove a fatal mistake.

The elliptical doesn’t have a shelf for STUFF. A “Stuff Shelf”, if you will. Well, it does, but it’s only big enough for the phone and the water bottle, so I placed the rest of my STUFF in a neat little pile beside me on the floor and got on with my workout. (Aside: Bambi Girl was in the gym at the same time as me, obviously. She was doing this weird, suspended animation kind of running move, which involved the treadmill moving very fast, and her kind of skipping slowly above it, all Bambi like. It was pretty compelling stuff to watch, I’m telling you. She probably thinks I’m stalking her now, whereas as we all know, it’s the other way around. Anyway!) When I was done, I got off the machine, and gathered all my stuff off the floor, ready to leave.

It was only as I reached the main reception area of the gym that I realised I seemed to be carrying more stuff than I’d had when I arrived. Huh? How could this be? I glanced down at my arms, to reassure myself that I was just imagining things again, and there, cradled protectively against my bosom, along with my phone, membership card and water bottle, was this:

Exhibit A: bottle of detergent, with label reading “Please wipe down your machine, thank you.”

Oookkaaaay. Now, there are some people in my life who would describe me as a bit of a control freak. Put it this way: you know the episode of Friends where it’s revealed that Monica has a mini Hoover, which she uses to vacuum her main Hoover? I thought that was an excellent idea. BUT – and it’s rather a big “but” – I have to point out that I am not yet SO much of a neat freak that I carry my own bottle of detergent, complete with handy “please wipe down your machine” label with me every time I go to the gym. (Only some of the times. No, I’m kidding….) This, then, was clearly the GYM’S bottle of detergent. The fact that I had caught myself in the act of absconding with it meant that either:

a) It had been on the floor next to my stuff, and I had gathered it up along with said stuff.

b) The bottle of detergent is alive, hates living at the gym, and figured it would hitch a ride with me. “Let’s get outta this gym toniiiight, nothin’ but dust in the shaaadooowwws!” it would sing as we went.

c) I am a secret kleptomaniac (secret in that even I didn’t know about it, I mean), and have moments when I black out and steal things from gyms, and possibly other places. That would explain all of the shoes, actually. (“These? Oh gosh, no, I wasn’t STEALING these! They were just lying on the floor, and I must’ve, you know, dropped my coat on top of them, then when I picked it up they must’ve been inside, silly me, tee hee!*)

Whatever the explanation, I think I got off pretty lightly here. I mean, thank God I realised before I walked out with it! Can you even IMAGINE the embarrassment of being caught trying to “steal” a bottle of detergent from the gym? Or the humiliating phone call I’d have had to make to Terry. “Oh, hi, babe! Yeah, I’m at the police station. I bin stealin’ again. Yeah, detergent. Can you come and get me? And bring bail? They’re asking for £2.75…”

(I have no idea why I have a Southern accent in my little “caught stealing” fantasy. I just do.)

Anyway, needless to say, I returned the detergent to its rightful place, and escaped the gym without further incident. I expect the security cameras will have captured a nice little video clip for the staff Christmas party this year, though…

* Some of my readers have a tendency to take everything I write totally seriously. For those readers, I feel the need to point out that I have never stolen shoes, or, indeed, anything else. It’s just the bottles of detergent.

  1. Well, thats good of your gym to leave little bottles of cleaner around for people to use. I’m now wondering why my gym doesn’t do that.

    Probably because hardly anyone there actually works up a sweat so it’d be false investment.

    There should be more space for stuff on the machines, I totally agree. I usually have my iphone, my blackberry, my towel, an mp3 player, my locker key and some sort of drink with me. Occasionally I’ll have my kindle too and there is SO not enough room for all that.

    1. Maybe your gym is worried strange redheads will come along and steal them? 🙂

      More space would be great: I’m forever getting halfway down the stairs and then realising I’ve left something on the floor/window ledge beside the machine I’ve been using. That said, I’d probably forget my own head if it wasn’t screwed on…

  2. I bet you were in a panic. I remember how carefully you used to search your pencil case when you arrived home from school just in case you had inadvertently brought home a school pencil by mistake. The very thought of it used to freak you out.

    1. The thought of that still freaks me out. Aaargh! Notmypencil! I wonder if someone in my class had gotten in trouble for taking them home or something, and I was terrified I would do it by mistake? Or maybe it’s just my overly well-developed guilt complex? I know any time something bad happens, I always worry that I will be the one to be blamed for it, even if I was in a different country at the time, or otherwise totally unable to have done whatever it is…

    1. I think I was actually more mortifed when two people walked out of the studio and caught me taking a photo of the bottle of detergent on the stairs. I was going to try to explain myself, but then I realised that, “Oh, hi! This isn’t what it looks like! No, I’m just taking a photo of this bottle of detergent because I almost stole it! And I have this blog?” really wouldn’t make me seem any saner.

      I must admit, though, I did laugh all the way out to the car. Which proably didn’t make me seem any saner either, come to think of it…

  3. I used to do the phone thing! When I still went to the gym. I used to use my phone as an mp3 player, and the headphone wire would ALWAYS catch on my flailing arm, causing the phone to leap out of my pocket. This happened about three days after I just got a brand new phone while I was jogging TO the gym once (I wasn’t even there!) and the crack as it hit the asphalt was sickening.

    1. Lol, that’s exactly what happens to me too, when I throw it off the treadmill – it’s really embarrasing, because the phone always manages to achieve quite an impressive distance across the room. (And yes, the thud is always horrifying – I’ve dropped/thrown mine so many times now I really am amazed it’s still alive). Terry keeps telling me to get one of these arm bands for it, but I’m pretty sure I’d find a way to still throw it around with one of those, too…

  4. Now, if you just steal a treadmill and a spin cycle you won’t need to go to the gym at all!
    I give you kudos for being terrified but still doing something about it. I have to be honest, if it happened to me I would probably just leave it in the stairwell and sneak out, because of the embarrassment, and somebody could see me putting it back, and accuse me of stealing it and ban me for the gym or call the police! (yeah, my brain has a tendency to overdo things).
    I also have big trouble going back for something I lost too. I seem to have this idea that people are looking for a reason to find me weird and, well, I have no clue why it would be so bad that a random stranger find me weird, but it is!
    *Must act normally and not appear like I’m stupid*

    1. Oh, I would love to have a treadmill at home! It’s one of my “when I have a bigger house one day…” items: it would save me so much time, and I’d never have to come into contact with The Others again, which would be awesome. Also, I’d be able to sing along to my music quite happily without people staring at me.

      As for people finding me weird, I think that’s something I’ve just gotten used to 🙂

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