I’ve been almost sedentary for nearly 10 years. Note that I said almost. I work out, once in every blue moon.
So, lately I’ve been hitting the gym at my condo which has a gender based schedule. Women get Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.
As I sit here puffing and panting after 30 minutes on the treadmill, it’s pouring cats and dogs outside. So loud that I can barely hear Katy Perry “Roar”ing. Hey, don’t judge, my music was on shuffle.
Nobody uses the gym except for me and a Chinese aunty. Our first few encounters were minimally awkward, exchanging hellos and goodbyes. It progressed to complaining about the ancient gym equipment and it’s malfunctions. And lead to this question from her.
“You eat a lot of rice and meat wan ah, girl? Thas why yor body so big?”
I laughed. “I went to medical school la aunty. Stress lo.”
Her face lit up at my response. “Whaaaat? Ehhhh. You doctor!” I nodded. She got off her yoga mat and came to stand next to my treadmill. And waited for me to go from 5 to 2.
“Ehhhhh girl. You really doctor wan ah?”
Panting, all I could get out was a puff of air. She took that as a yes. She began asking questions about her fluctuating blood pressure. My brain’s lack of oxygen denied me any access to the medical database in my head. So I gave her standard answer. “That doesn’t seem right la aunty. You better go see a doctor.”
After ten minutes of contemplating, she agreed to it. I didn’t exactly know why I was negotiating as well, perhaps I just wanted her to go back to the yoga mat and do the downward dog and I could go back to running.
Then she said this. “My son aso le, he execise evli day. But his pressure also 172/85.”
Now, that’s moderate to severe hypertension. I punched the “Stop” button and got off the treadmill. “That’s very high aunty. Is he obese?”
“Ehhhhh, no la. He execise evli day wan. He is not as big as you, you are still bigger.”
I thought of a few words that were not pleasant to be used in an adult conversation but I held my tongue.
“Just check la aunty, ok? Better to be safe than sorry.” She nodded.
“I go clinic tomorrow,” she announced, full of determination.
I started going to the gym an hour early. We never crossed paths again, funnily.