Missed Connection: To the elliptical I just got off (Erie Rec Center)

I burned 477 calories on you. You told me I averaged 136 beats per minute. For what it's worth I thought we looked good together. And now I can't get you out of my head.

We may not know each other well, but I know enough that I want to see you again. I know you're the type of machine that doesn't care if I'm always dressed my very best. You said I looked good in gym clothes. That makes a gym-bro like me happy.

Just know my heart is thankful for you (my lungs, too).

It all happened so fast. One second I was stretching, minding my own business. 30 minutes later, I'm covered in sweat. Endorphins and dopamine flooded my brain. I was spent, though you made it clear you had the stamina to keep going. But that day I didn't. Thursdays are legs and cardio. I needed to save myself for the squat rack.

So I dismounted, and like a gentleman, went to get you a wet wipe. And when I turned to find you, you were gone. How is that even possible? How could I fail to notice your location or distinguishing features? Were you next to the woman reading the magazine on a bike? Or perhaps the meathead doing calf raises on the stair-stepper?

I'm not sure why he makes his own cutoff t-shirts, either.

Anyway, I'm writing to you on these message boards because I didn't know how else to find you. And I want you to know: I didn't want to wipe you down at all. I wanted to claim you as my own. But I was peer pressured. You probably know by who: the fitness center's resident old man, of course. The one who doesn't work out, but hogs machines and stares at people judgingly. He gave me a look and I panicked.

I know I should've been braver. I should've stood up for myself. I should've said, “Hey old man, how about you focus on something else, like using the rower correctly for once?”

I don't use the rowers myself, but I did take high school physics. Whatever he's doing on (to?) that poor machine can't be right. He rows so slow the machine keeps turning itself off to preserve its batteries. Last week I watched him nod off in the whirlpool twice. I, nor the 16-year-old lifeguard on duty, had the courage to say something. This whole mess is his fault.

It hurts me to write this, but if I am unable to find you soon, I might just have to wipe down all the machines. I wish you didn't have to see me do that. But I knew the consequences of my actions when I took this wipe. It's my responsibility now.

There are benefits to doing this, you know. Maybe a new elliptical will catch my eye. Maybe it'll help me get over you. And maybe by the time I'm finished, the parade of old men that just went in the locker room will no longer be naked.

But deep down I know: it won't matter how many machines I wipe down. Because those machines aren't you. And even if I spend the whole afternoon cleaning the gym, those old men will definitely still be naked.

Anyway if you read this tell me which episode of The Joe Rogan Experience I was listening to. Then I'll know it's you. Fingers crossed you see this.

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