The Search Continues

I just joined a gym -- the YMCA. It has a fitness center and pool and gym and classes and it's only five minutes away and I have no excuse for not joining sooner.

To properly participate in the fitness experience, one must have appropriate attire. I do not have a shred of sportswear. My last pair of sneakers are Reebok volleyball shoes I wore when playing volleyball with my old office mates in a steamy gym in the North End some eight years ago. The ones I mow the lawn with now.

Yesterday I went to the first store that came to mind when I thought of inexpensive gym wear: Target. I've never felt more self-conscious than when I entered the dressing room and, looking into the wavy mirror, I tried to imagine what the hell I would look like. Luckily the sportswear makers figure out that a major segment of its Olde Fart audience requires a pre-coordinated ensemble with sufficient variation to make it seem like they're "shopping."

I tried a dark navy T with a dark navy pair of shorts. No. I looked like an eggplant. So I went with tops in various shades of gray and blue and black shorts that promised to hide a multitude of sins.

I then went to a Foot Locker to buy shoes. First I went to Olympus Sports and asked the man to let me see what he had in a size 14. He smirked as he asked me what kind of shoe I wanted and rattled off a list of special-use shoes. I asked him "what is cross-training" just to see what he'd say. He ignored the question and went to the back to bring out what he'd thought would be a variety of great shoes for me to discover.

Idiot. You're lucky if you stock any size 13s; size 14s are like hen's teeth. After five minutes he came out with ONE box. That's it. Opened them up and we both winced: a pair of white Nikes trimmed in Halloween orange. Hideous. I passed.

I then tried Foot Locker, and at least this clerk caught on. She came out with three kinds of shoes, two of which were so aggressively hip-hop you could hear the back beat as you walked.

The third pair were, well, blue and grey and innocuously 21st Century in design, but low and light and they fit. Feet don't fail me now.


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