Archive for December 17th, 2006

Tales from the Gym – Doctor Who’s Sauna

The sauna at the gym bears a striking resemblance to Doctor Who’s time and dimension-traveling Police Box.  It is, similarly, tiny on the outside but has a surprisingly capacious interior.  Complex “chameleon circuitry” allows the time machine to disguise its true nature, to appear sauna-like to all casual observers and thus blend in with the gym wall.  And, like the TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimension in Space), the sauna actually pilots its occupants through a dizzying array of dimensions without ever seeming to move at all. 

To whit:

The other day I was hanging out in the sauna, enjoying the 200 degree weather, perma-dusk lighting ambience, and the smell of baking cedar.  I decided to take a break and go stand in the little foyer just outside of the sauna which serves as a kind of crossroads for people going to and from the main gym, the pool, the showers, and the locker area.  As I settled onto a bench and admired my lobster-red skin, a woman in her 50’s wandered out of the shower area wrapping a towel around her head and demanded of the foyer in general: “do you think Snoop Dogg really is a pimp?”  Another woman, also in her 50’s, who was mopping the floors looked up and replied: “I don’t know, but that sure is what he’s telling Rolling Stone Magazine.  Though I don’t know how anybody who looks like he’s twelve years old can convince anybody else that he’s a ‘pimp’”  A third woman, this one in her 60’s or 70’s, was supine on a bench opposite me and appeared to be asleep until she added: “did you all hear what he’s doing now?  Dogg was arrested outside of Jay Leno’s for having a handgun and drugs; and that’s not even counting the stuff he tried to bring onto a plane last month!”  Amused, but with the odd feeling that I’d accidentally wandered onto a movie set, I hurried back to the sauna.

Ten minutes later I was ready for another break.  The foyer was empty of everyone from my last visit; there was a single woman sitting on the bench opposite the sauna door.  And she was already in mid-conversation with me, even though I’d just come out of the (largely soundproof and therefore not conducive to talking through walls) sauna.  “…nd and I got such a good deal at the garage sales this morning.  I bought some of those folding chairs; you know, the kinds that are good to take to the games?  Well, they were still wrapped in plastic they were that new.  Originally twenty dollars.  Got ‘em for five apiece.”  I smiled, as she was making very direct eye contact, but looked around discretely – sure she must be talking with someone else.  But there was no one else in sight.  As she started explaining her garage sale-ing methodology (“I make a little plan the night before, you know, with our route drawn out on a map?  Then we start at seven o’clock in the morning.  And we just drive by most of ‘em, you know?  Some people just throw all their junk out in the front yard and you can tell by driving by that there isn’t going to be anything good in that mess”) I scrutinized her ears for the tell-tale signs of Blueteeth – those disconcerting nearly invisible earpiece telephones that make it look like complete strangers are talking to you, or to themselves.  Alas, nary a Bluetooth in sight.  Totally unsure of how she’d started a conversation with me before I was even there, I congratulated her on a successful morning and shuffled quickly back into the sauna. 

The next time I came out of the sauna, the foyer was again emptied of all prior occupants.  Instead, there were three delightfully Rubenesque naked women sitting one right next to the other on a tiny bench, silently eating orange slices and chewing on ginger root.

And this is why I believe that the sauna is actually a TARDIS.

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