Gym carnies: Miguel

Gym Carnies an irregular series about the curious characters and intriguing individuals that people my local gym. WARNING: this entry contains vivid recounts of bowels movements.

Miguel is my favorite gym carnie. Sure, he doesn't have the most interesting nickname, but one time I think I heard someone refer to him as Miguel and since then that is what I call him. I also respect Miguel and so have purposely not given him a funny nickname. He doesn't have a peculiar mannerism or curious trait. He doesn't embarrass himself by wearing a neon 80's track suit or grunting loudly while lifting weights. Actually, Miguel doesn't even workout at the gym. Miguel happens to be the janitor assigned to the men's locker room on weekday mornings.

I love Miguel. I have never spoken more than two words to him, but I love him none the less. He's at the gym often before the sun rises sweeping and mopping and moving towels around and putting up with the manager's crap--it's all pretty thankless. Then, on top of that, Miguel has to deal with me.

What, pray tell, does he have to deal with? Take Thursday of last week for example:

I go to the gym to run for 60 minutes with some inclines sprinkled in. By the time I get there the GU and gallon of water I had at home kick in and I take a pre-run bathroom visit. Great idea because it turns out that I had more waiting at the back door than I thought. I get out of the stall and guess who's there in the locker room collecting the dirty towels? That's right, Miguel. He makes immediate eye contact with me, says "Hello." I say "Buenas dias" (because I'm respectful of our mutual heritage that way) in return and walk out because I have a look of "I just did very dirty things to the toilet you're about to clean" written all over my face.

I hit the treadmill and start going. I feel great for the first 45 minutes of the run, but right after I finish a "hill" at mile five my stomach starts growling--it is not happy. It is not happy at all. I look at the timer, only 12 more minutes to go, I can
hold out...I can so hold out. But my stomach has a different idea.

I have to fart and it is not going to be a silent one. I can just tell. It's going to be loud and quiet possibly a little messy. But I only have ten minutes left! I keep pushing through, concentrating hard on making sure nothing comes out my rear. I feel extra sweat roll down my neck as I try to make it go away. And then it's gone. I won! I won! It's gone and I can take it easy for the rest of the way. Or so I thought.

A fierce tremor rips through my abdomen. If my shirt was off I would see the flesh move. The fart is gone, this is true. But now comes the poop. I have just five minutes to go--less than a mile!--and I will be off the machine. Just hold out sRod! So I'm buckling down trying to do everything to calm down my stomach: shorter strides, regular breathing, straight posture. But no matter what I try, the sensation doesn't get weaker: my stomach knows that this is the end of the run and it is not going to let a thing like public decency get in the way of poopication.

Five, four, three, two, one. I slam on the "stop" button and get the hell off that machine. I left my water and keys on the machine: I can come back for those, but this poop is coming fast. I'm hobbling over the empty treadmills, behind the ellipticals. Come on sphincter, down fail me now! I pass the first desk and round the corner, walking as nonchalantly as you can when you feel like a cantaloupe is about to fall out of your shorts.

I'm halfway down the hall when a big wave comes down from my stomach and I stop dead in my tracks. Oh no--I'm so close, just 30 feet away. I pretend that I got a "cramp" and that I need to "stretch" and look way too concerned to notice the people passing me. But really, if I take another step a cantaloupe will fall out of my

I stayed there stretching my "cramp" for about 30 seconds. The wave passes. Whew. Onward to the bathroom. I dash for the first stall I can find--I can feel another stomach wave building up, but I'm here! I've made it! I'm free and clear (and clean)!--and as I'm about to close the stall door someone says "it's wet." What's wet? Are my shorts wet? Did I lose the battle with my stomach???

It's Miguel. He's cleaning the stalls and hasn't finished the stall I ran into. I get out of the stall and he quickly jumps in and wipes the seat dry. He can tell I am a man on the verge of pooping his pants, he knows that no wet toilet seat can stop me, he knows that I just need a toilet. But he insists on it being a clean toilet. I thank Miguel and then rush in, lock the door, and...well...you know: test the plumbing, drop a deuce, release the hostages, drop the kids off at the pool, purge the cache, talk to a man about a horse, take the Browns to the Super Bowl.

I wrap up my business--and what business it was, thank God I made it!--and get out of the stall. I hate those "I know what you just did looks" when you come of out the stall, so I try to avoid eye contact with anyone. But who do I see first as I come out of the stall? Miguel. He looks at me and instead of steaming with resentment for facilitating the defacement of his work he flashes me a smile. A genuine, "thank you for pooping" smile. I kid you not. There was no hiding what I did in that stall. Even people in Alaska were waking-up from their sleep wonder what that sound and God-awful smell were. But here is the man entrusted with keeping this stall clean smiling at me as if I were his best friend.

So Miguel is my best friend, mostly because he puts up with my shit (pun intended). He keeps the bathroom clean, so that when I bust in the locker room ready to explode on the spot, I have a dry seat to sit on. Thank you Miguel--whatever your real name may be.


Moon said...

Oh, God bless Miguel! Wish my gym had one of him...but alas, what can you expect from a place that parks all of the treadmills ACROSS THE ENTIRE GYM AND UP A FLIGHT OF STAIRS FROM THE BATHROOMS. Talk about needing pauses for "cramp-stretch breaks".

Gym Carnies would be an awesome book. Or band name.

FLYERS26 said...

oh man, lucky you made it.
I think we've all been in your shoes before!

Laura said...

That was absolutely hilarious - I definitely needed that after a long day!

Kevin said...

So thats what I smelled!!

Marcy said...

Dude, I bet he was smiling because he snapped some pics of you on the throne from over/under the stall :P

CyclingDivas said...

We need to shout out "thank you" to all the Miguels of this world. That was great! Your abuelo is wondering what the hell I'm laughing at but I don't think I could ever translate that!

The Laminator said...

Dude, you should definitely collect all your gym carnies and pushing a book! That was hilarious.

Jess said...

Oh dude, i know this story all too well! I feel your pain, as well as Miguel's (because there's no immigrant janitor at home)!

Nitmos said...

That is my favorite irregular series on the net. I just wish it was regular (would Ex Lax help?)

God bless you, Miguel, for bravely standing at your post through the asault on your senses.

nwgdc said...

That, my friend, was hilarious. I believe this ongoing feature of your blog may be my favorite in blogdom.

Just so you know, from now on I'm telling everyone in the room that I'm "taking the Browns to the Super Bowl" whenever I leave to use the restroom.