Tuesday, February 06, 2007

proof that american idol causes brain damage

"you did not just open the window," the girl said. "it's FREEZING outside!"

i turned around wearily, sweat-soaked. she was lying on the (one) pilates mat in front of the tv, wearing a sweater. sweat dripped from my forehead, and i motioned vaguely at the other girls around me - some on treadmills, some on ellipticals, some on bikes.

"there's 25 girls in here," i begged. "and no air-conditioning. i'm dying over here."

the girl next to her repeated, "you can't open the window. it's cold outside. we could catch a chill."

"you have the heater on high," i pointed out.

"no, i'm sorry," she said firmly. "you can't open the window. i could get sick."

i was frustrated and i was hot, but i went back to my place in front of the mirrors and attempted to continue my aerobics routine. i may have been uncomfortable, but they had a point, and in a public space like that you can't subject everyone to your set of rules. i turned the heater to low and was trying to channel my irritation into my kicks, just like my mother taught me, when one of the girls got up off the mat, walked over to me, and cleared her throat.

i paused my music. "hi," i said.

"hi," she said. she glanced at her friend, who was still sitting in front of the tv, and then looked back at me. "listen," she said, "do you think you could do that in your room?"

i blinked at her.

"do what?"

"your dancing," she said. "with the loud music."

"you want me to do this in my room," i repeated slowly.

she nodded. "yeah."

you have GOT to be kidding, i thought.

"do you want me to turn my music down?"

"well, i mean, since you're so hot and everything, maybe it would be better if you just did it in your room. then you could open the window."

in my head, a little picture of my room - roughly the shape of a cuticle, only smaller and occupied by two beds, a desk and a dresser - popped up. i laughed.

"you have GOT to be kidding," i said.

she turned defensive. "i don't think it's funny. you know, people come down to the gym to watch tv. your dancing and music shouldn't interfere with that."

"i'm perfectly ok with turning my--"

wait a minute.

"what did you say?" i squinted.

she crossed her arms, giving me a good long view of her engagement ring. "the reason people come to the gym is to watch tv," she explained impatiently. "because there's no other place to watch it. that's why it needs to be warm in the gym. your loud music and dancing interferes with people watching tv, and that's not fair. so i'm asking if you can go up to your room."

i found myself at a complete loss for words. had she said something like, "your music's too loud," or "your sweatshirt's on the weight table," i would have known how to respond. this, however, was so far beyond me it was like a distant star in the night sky.

first of all, there are many places, in my building alone, where you can watch tv. american idol, doubly so. there is the - get this! - TV LOUNGE, on the first floor, where the tv is RESERVED at 8:00 for american idol. in fact, everybody goes there specifically to watch american idol and eat reheated chinese, these being two excellent reasons why i don't do aerobics in the tv lounge. this is also failing to take into account the student lounge on the 19th floor, from which some of you may remember i stole a rather large television all those many months ago.

but none of that really matters, because there is a subtle yet extremely dense problem with this logic. follow me closely here, as what i am about to say may come as a complete shock to those of you who are not natural-born citizens of this star-system:


well, earthlings do, anyway.

unfortunately, when actually confronted with this girl's claim, i failed to produce a counterargument nearly as cohesive as the above. it was more like that scene in star trek where i think chekhov or spock or someone grins broadly and pretends to die, while the other tells the robot, "he died from too much happiness!", and the robot's head subsequently explodes.

what i came up with was, "huh?"

"your dancing is making it hard for me to hear american idol!" she said.

"yeah," interjected her friend, "that's why you should go up to your room."

i stared at both of them for a very long time, trying to follow their reasoning. i couldn't even find it in me to be angry. finally, abandoning my attempt to make the math line up, i did the only thing i could do:

i laughed.

and then, with much, much effort, i turned down my music a little, turned back to my mirror, and continued my aerobics routine.

somewhere out there, i thought, is a very lucky guy.


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