Many mornings, I find myself in the locker room of my gym getting ready for work. I’m usually there between 7 and 7:30 in the morning, and the creature of habit that I am, I routinely head for the same set of lockers. If locker number 360 is available, I take it. There are a few women who get ready around the same time I do in the same area. They chat, and I listen, not to eavesdrop but because I can’t help but listen. I’m practically standing in the middle of their conversation. They are animated and sometimes so funny that I find myself smiling at something they’ve said. I suspect they’ve seen me smile, but we’ve never spoken. Until today.
I walked in after my morning run with Kerry and Jenny. The women I regularly see were there, already showered. One of them was dressing. Another was doing her hair in front of the mirror within the set of lockers we all routinely occupy. The third woman wasn’t there today. I entered the space prepared to target locker number 360 when I heard a, “Hey, girl.”
I realized the woman at the mirror was talking to me.
“Did you run this morning? Wasn’t it raining?”
And with that simple greeting and those brief questions, I was suddenly participating in the conversation rather than observing it. I talked to them for a bit, went to shower and, when I returned from my shower, picked up in conversation with them again while I dressed and the others continued to get ready. It was lovely. I didn’t realize how badly I wanted to be a part of their morning unit until they invited me into it.
I’ve seen this set of cute little older guys at my gym who play raquetball together and then have breakfast in the gym’s cafe. I can imagine how many years these men have known one another and have been enjoying each other’s company over exercise and a cup of coffee and the occasional pastry. I’ve seen these women at my gym for at least a year, maybe two. I like that I experienced an inkling of community with them this morning.
I think tomorrow I’ll actually introduce myself and get their names.