Well I’m back after a bit of a hiatus. I really didn’t want to write this story again after originally writing it back in the late 90’s. After searching for it for this blog without any luck, I decided it was time for a re-write. Thank God I was blessed with a good memory. Now, on to the story.
When I moved to Atlanta back in 1998 I lived in a very nice high-rise condo building near Piedmont Park. Even though my condo was less than 800 square feet, I loved living there. I could walk to work, walk to restaurants, and even drop off my dry cleaning with the concierge. One of the other nice benefits of the building was the fitness center. It wasn’t very large, but it had just about everything you needed, including two treadmills. Even though I wished there were more treadmills, I usually managed to get one on my morning visits. On one particular morning I walked in and found that one of the treadmills was not working, and the other was being used. “No worries,” I thought. I’ll just lift some weights until the treadmill was free. Since there was only one working treadmill, I knew I had to keep a close eye on it to make sure I got on as soon as it was free. So I’m working out and listening to my Discman while trying to keep my eye on the treadmill when this cute elderly white couple managed to sneak in on me. To my dismay, the lady headed straight toward the treadmill! Despite her age, she was much closer to the treadmill so there was no way I could get to it before she did. I suppose I could have told her that I was waiting for the treadmill, but she was a cute little old lady, and I was taught to always respect the elderly. I will admit that I wasn’t really happy about it, but I figured that “Miss Daisy” wouldn’t be on for very long. As time passed, I found myself hovering around the treadmill, circling from time to time like a shark with its eye on some prey. With the passage of more time, my thoughts and actions continued to spiral down the path to hell. I started clearing my throat loudly, giving her the occasional evil eye, and calling her names under my breath.
My mood took a dramatic turn for the better when one of my favorite songs started playing, so I went back to the weights. I turned the volume down a little so I could hear what was going on around me to make sure that I didn’t miss the treadmill again. I was in the middle of a set of dumbbell curls when, out of nowhere, I heard this loud sneaker squeak (like the kind you hear on the basketball court) followed by an earth-shattering crash, combined with repeated cries of “oh God, oh God, oh dear God.” Yes, Miss Daisy had fallen and couldn’t get up! When I looked I couldn’t believe my eyes. Poor Miss Daisy was wedged up against the wall behind the treadmill in the most awkward, contorted position you can possibly imagine. She looked like she was playing Twister— lying on her neck, legs wide open, arms going in all directions, all while still mumbling “oh God, oh God, oh dear God.” The visual and the sound of her voice still haunt me to this day. I rushed over to her and I swear I almost blurted out in my best Morgan Freeman voice, “Is you alright Miss Daisy?” But no, I just did the right thing and made sure she was alright before helping her get up. Unfortunately, she couldn’t get up right away. She needed a couple of minutes to sit on the floor to gather herself and examine the various bumps and bruises. After gathering herself, she looked at me and said, “thank you so much, you are so sweet.” My eyes got as big as silver dollars as the guilt rushed in. All I could think was “if she only knew” as I shamefully mumbled a quick "thank you." I know that it really wasn't my fault that she fell, but deep down inside I felt responsible. Fortunately, she was not seriously injured. Needless to say, she did NOT get back on the treadmill. In fact, sadly, I never saw her in the gym again. I hope she wasn’t scarred for life. Oh, and yes, after she and her husband left you know I got on the treadmill and got my 30 minutes in, but it was a real struggle because I just could not stop laughing at what I had just witnessed.