Yesterday, at around 5:15, I headed out to meet Toby at the NYSC on 14th and 6th Avenue. It was only after stepping out into the eerily warm New York air did I realize that I hadn’t left the house in over 48 hours. And 48 hours earlier I had gone to the grocery store to get the necessities for making us dinner.
As if someone knew about my lazy crime, a rush of excuses came to mind.
Yes, but I’ve been sick.
It’s been really rainy and gross out lately.
I’ve actually had work to do.
I’m saving money by staying in.
But no one was around. Instead, the street was quiet. It was just getting dark. The city’s outline, like a new sheet of black paper on a game of Lite Bright, began to slowly piece together. It felt good to be outside. It felt good to be listening to my iPod.
I walked up Graham Avenue to the L Train, snapping pictures along the way of hanging meat window displays and staggering drunk polish men. It always amazed me at how drunk they could get without dying. It’s like that game at a fairground where the object is to roll the bowling ball along that track and hope that it stays within the trough instead of bleeding over to the other side. Only, these men are human and should they accidentally go over that hump, it’s more than a quarter they might lose.
I felt a bit winded by walking so fast and it occurred to me how funny that was. I was leaving the house after 48 hours of not doing anything to join a gym. Lately, if it weren’t for t.v. shows about DNA, I would have no idea what day it was.
I got to NYSC at around 5:45 and sat down to wait for Toby. The gym was pretty busy. There was a very uncoordinated aerobics class taking place in Studio 1. The treadmills bounced on a platform built, I guessed, to keep the noise-level down. There was a guy working himself silly on the Pre-Core. I pictured him fainting.
A couple was helping one another lift free-weights. A triangular-shaped man watched from afar, and noticed everything someone did wrong and nodded at those spot on. A woman atop a still treadmill gabbed on the phone. There wasn’t anyway she’d get in shape that way. Will and Grace was on one t.v. Seinfeld, on the another.
I waited 45 minutes. Then, it occurred to me that Toby may have been downstairs waiting all that time. I got up to check. But he wasn’t there. I started to wonder if I was at the wrong gym. After all, there are hundreds of New York Sports Clubs in New York. Surely there was another one in or around 6th Avenue. I called 411. Nope. There was no other gym on sixth avenue, 7th and 8th, yes. But not 6th.
I waited outside and looked both ways along 14th street. I called and called his cell phone and it went straight to voicemail each time. I started to get annoyed.
I don’t like it when people are late. But Toby has told me time and time again, “When people are late, most of the time, it’s not because they are having fun it’s due to a problem. You must respect that and not get so angry all the time.”
But I do. Sometimes, I become enraged. Sometimes, I get so annoyed I actually start to pace back and forth, like some kind of hungry tiger. There have even been times I have actually talked, out loud, to myself. My frustration becomes more and more intense set to the rhythm of obscenities and huffs.
But my anger benefited no one. And more importantly, it never helped me.
And then, like any decent recovering Catholic might do, the anger turned into an ALAS, WOE IS ME type Martyrdom.
Holy shit. What if something happened to him. Your life will be over as you know it. You will never be able to go on and most of all you’ll NEVER forgive yourself for having your last thoughts about him be that of anger. You are a bad person. A BAD BAD PERSON. OH dear god, please don’t have let anything happen to him. I love him. I’m no longer mad.
I waited silently.
God dammit where is he.
About an hour into my waiting, Toby called. I stood there, for the brief few seconds thinking to myself, “Please be nice to him. He made a mistake. Don’t be a bitch. Be nice. Don’t do anything stupid. Be nice.”
Where are you?
At Urban Outfitters. I’m almost there.
What took you so long? I’ve been waiting for over an hour.
(White lie. 55 minutes.)
I went to Queens. I got on the wrong train.
(A mistake. Let it go.)
Beaner, you should pay attention.
(Bad. Worse with tone.)
After about a 10 minute argument outside the NYSC on 14th street, I realized that Toby was absolutely right. People aren’t usually late because they are having fun and disrespecting the other person. They are usually late because of a mistake or a problem.
Screw the gym. I need a membership to a club that can help me be a more understanding and patient person. That’s what I need. Is there something like that out there?
I thought my anger only flared up while waiting for food. Well, come to think of it, I was REALLY hungry.
(Must. Be. Nicer.)