Saying thank you for chance locker room encounters

LA pool

The Grateful Runner is, by definition, a runner. But she — OK, I — also go to the gym periodically. I don’t use the weights there, and only once in the last year or so have I used the stair climber — a few Saturdays ago, for 15 minutes, when I left my swimsuit in the car and the water class was about to start, thus, eliminating my lap swim. (If you didn’t quite follow that, no worries; I tend toward the tangents at times, like just now).

All this to say that basically the only reason I go to the gym is to swim, which I did the day after Christmas. As I was getting dressed afterward, I saw a familiar face I hadn’t seen in awhile. We said hi and, because neither of us was in our usual hurry, we lingered a bit.

“How was your swim?” she asked.

“Really good,” I told her. “The water has felt so nice lately. Did you swim today?”

“Oh, I hardly ever swim,” she said. “I practice taekwando and mainly come here for weights. How far do you go, a mile each time?”

“Oh, heavens no,” I said. “Not that I’m a creature of habit or anything, but I like to go a mile on Sunday. Other days, it varies from 48 to 60 lengths.”

“Well, how far is a mile?” she asked.

“Seventy-two,” I said.

“Oh, that’s close enough,” she said. “I’d say you go a mile every time.”

That made us both laugh. We talked a few more minutes; she told me (but only when I happened to ask) that she’s a third-degree — THIRD DEGREE!! — black belt. She also mentioned an odd muscle pull she’s had for awhile that hurts when she stretches. I gave her my email address and said I’d do a little digging and see if I could find someone to give her professional advice beyond my limited capabilities.

We finally learned each other’s names. Isn’t it funny how you can talk to someone time and again and never ask? She stood to leave, and I needed to dry my hair. As she walked out, another woman stopped her; turns out, that woman has seen me walking my dog and then we exchanged names, too (our own and our dogs’).

And that was that. But it was more, really. as these things tend to be.

So for arriving certain places at certain times and thus, for chance locker-room encounters, the Grateful Runner — on this final day of 2015 — says thank you.

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