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Big Ideas

November 20, 2010

The locker room at the gym is always awkward.

First, you don’t know where to look when someone talks to you.

My stuff always seems to be on the bench right in front of the locker someone wants to use so I’m grabbing my dozens of loose articles and shuffling them around and dropping them while I am damp and naked.

I inevitably end up dropping my panties on the floor and having to contemplate which is worse: going home underwearless or wearing panties that have been befouled by the grotty germ-laden tile surface.

All bad.

I always bring a plastic bag, usually a nice big sturdy one, to put my wet swimsuit and towel into. You wouldn’t think this would be such a revolutionary idea, but a few weeks ago, the lady across from me commented.

“A plastic bag!” she exclaimed. “That is such a great idea! Why didn’t I ever think of that! I am gonna get me one and put my wet things in it.”

“Mmm hmmm,” I said. “It certainly does come in handy.”

“Yes,” she said. “I have been wrapping my swimsuit in my towel, but sometimes it still leaks in my car!”

This was all coveyed with a scary sort of enthusiastic airheadedness usually only seen on QVC, and one might hope that would be the end of the exchange. But, of course, no.

Now the woman and I have apparently become members of the Plastic Bag Appreciation Society, bonded in our clever knowledge that a barrier of plastic may keep dampness off of other articles.

“Hey, there you are with your plastic bag!” the woman will say. “You are so smart to do that.”

And one might think that the woman would have obtained her very own plastic bag by now, but you would be incorrect there, too.

“I got a plastic bag,” she tells me ever time she sees me. “But I just never seem to remember it.”

“Ah,” I answer. “Small steps.”

“But it’s a really great idea,” she says. “I think that every time I see you. I think “I gotta remember that bag.” But then I don’t.”

“Maybe next time,” I say.

But it has been three weeks. I’m wondering how long this plastic bag-based relationship can go on. It has already lasted longer than the last dating relationship I had. So there’s that.

  1. November 20, 2010 13:07

    Oh, isn’t that the worst? When some ridiculous thing is the ENTIRE basis for your relationship with a person? Maybe that’s why she’s not bringing the bag; she thinks it will be the end of your friendship.

    • November 20, 2010 13:43

      Oh, gosh, Stimey. You have introduced a new, horrible thing for me to worry about.

  2. November 21, 2010 10:21

    …small steps. LOL!

    I agree with Stimey. I think plastic bagless woman wants to be friends.

    • November 21, 2010 14:48

      Hm. Maybe I can find her ANOTHER friend. Someone who is not me.

  3. November 21, 2010 15:39

    I would make some snarky comment about how, geez, you don’t have to be Einstein to think aobut bringing a plastic bag for a wet swimsuit….except for the fact that I have never thought about that either, and have spent 56 years with wet swimsuits wrapped in leaky towels in the car. (Although my pool has those cool water extractor things.)

    Maybe you should introduce another more challenging subject and see if she can handle it?

    • November 21, 2010 16:20

      The swimsuit centrifuge thing is the best invention ever! I wish my gym had one, but they can’t even figure out how to have disinfectant available for the weight machines. Sigh.

      I think she has already demonstrated her inability to handle more challenging subjects, but maybe I’m being judgy. Probably not, though.

  4. November 21, 2010 21:59

    once, i had a forty five minute “conversation” with someone my brother was dating about her hair. i nearly choked her, and i spent A LOT of time praying that he wasn’t too attached to her because that as a sister-in-law was too terrible to contemplate. so, i relate. has she invited you to go plastic bag collecting with her yet?

    • November 22, 2010 06:06

      I feel your pain, Ericka. My 45-minute listen was to the ex’s cousin at a family party. He told me all about the banister selection and construction at his new home. Why do we listen? Why don’t we have the courage to say “Oh, gosh, I think I see an apparition of the Virgin Mary in the back yard, and I’ve always wanted to say hi to her” and walk off? Why? Why? Those are minutes of my life I will never, ever get back.

  5. November 23, 2010 14:33

    Okay, when your underpants touch the locker room floor, your underpants are done. Just walk away. Also, I think you should let plastic bag lady see you put on flip-flops before heading to the shower. The ingenuity should render her speechless.

    • November 23, 2010 15:40

      Really? Because I am 1) a big cheapskate and can’t imagine tossing underwear for the mere exposure to the horror of the locker room floor, no matter how horrible it is – and it IS horrible and 2) I hate going home without underwear due to the inevitability of being hit by a bus and having to go to the hospital underwearless, should I ever go underwearless.

      I suppose the only solution is to have an endless backup supply of clean underwear in ziplock bags in my gym bag…boy, is THAT gonna mess with the plastic bag lady.

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