It happened again, and this photograph of Bunny is the closest thing I have to depict today’s encounter.
I got my buttocks to the gym, all nine of them, for a romp on the treadmill. About 20 minutes into my 45 minute routine, a muscled, tattooed hombre got on the treadmill right next to mine.
He spent 5 minutes mounting and adjusting a gas mask onto his face, alternately tightening the straps around his skull and then swirling a little yellow dial where a mouth should be. I later learned this was to reduce his intake of oxygen. He did an excellent job of dehumanizing himself in public.
My thoughts flitted from a soldier preparing for what he’d encounter in Afghanistan to some autoerotic asphyxiation scenario. What was he jacking up his lung capacity for? Once he finished on the treadmill, I asked him.
“I’m a fighter.”
“MMA.” I looked perplexed. “Martial arts,” he explained.
“Not everyone has the opportunity to train in the mountains of Colorado, where the air is very thin. The mask reduces my oxygen. By the time I get in the ring, I have all the oxygen in the world.”
“20 minutes with the mask is like 60 minutes without,” he added.
“Jesus,” I said. Rain was pouring off his face.
And then, when he got a load of all 7 of my boobs and my generous hip mountains, he very quickly and politely wished me an enjoyable workout. Perhaps he thought I was chatting him up for girly reasons. It was actually freakish curiosity. Welcome to the Unusual Peoples Category, seňor.