I went to my favorite weight class tonight, but the instructor was late. We all milled around for a bit, then someone went to ask the front desk what the heck was up. A quick call to his home, and he was there five minutes later.
We gave him grief about it, good-naturedly of course, and set to working out. It did seem odd, though. Not like Pete.
About twenty minutes into the class I was doing a triceps press and Pete wandered over. I straightened up that extra millimeter you do when the trainer is watching, but for once he didn’t say anything about slowing down. He’s always telling me to slow down.
He leaned against a machine and gazed off somewhere. “I heard from a friend yesterday that an old friend of ours was in the hospital.” He made the universal bottle-tipping motion to indicate a heavy drinker. “He’s been messed up for a while…but I guess everything was just shutting down.” I couldn’t tell if he was talking to me or the guy on the other side of him. I’m not sure he was actually talking to either of us.
“So today I dropped my son off at a friend’s house to spend the night, and called my friend’s house to see if I could come see him. He just came home from the hospital last night. And you know what? They told me he’s dead. Just like that.” He shook his head and wandered off.
“I…sorry,” I said to his back. What do you say?
For the rest of the class Pete seemed fine. He moved us through the stations with usual irritating energy. He made us stop randomly and do push-ups. He cracked jokes and at the end of the hour wished everyone a happy new year. But for a brief moment when he faltered, I wouldn’t have known what actually ringing in his head.
I heard someone say once that you should never compare yourself to others, because you’re comparing your insides to their outsides. We really don’t know what’s going on with 99% if the people we interact with daily.
Unless, I suppose, they blog.