It is a beautiful morning and I set out for the gym down the road, looking forward to a vigorous workout.
My first stop is the treadmill. I press the “quick start”, set the speed and get ready to do some brisk music-coordinated walking, thanks to the thumping beat from the speaker. I appreciate the glass walls that encompass my gym. It offers a clear view of the road for a good 50 meters. I am glad the gym makes a nice vantage point to watch, observe, think.
I particularly love the treadmill as I can set it and get a good cardio workout as my mind wanders quite happily. I can shift the focus away from myself.
It is a great time to just look.
And I spy…
An old man inspecting his face in a small handheld mirror. He has a lot of grey hair, so what is he trying to look at? Perhaps a wart on his forehead? Has something gone into his eye? Is he just wondering how the time has gone? Does he feel it has gone too soon?
A man with a backpack walking. Is he off to work? Why does he look so downcast? Is he unwell? Did he go to the doc? Did he not wake up happy? Did someone yell at him? Did he have to skip breakfast? Is he worried about a relationship? Is he married? Does he have kids? How old are they? What does his wife do? Is he carrying lunch? Will he eat at a restaurant? Does he walk to work? Is his workplace far away? What does he do? Is he carrying an umbrella?
A squirrel running across the wall to the tree, up the branch and back. It pauses. What is it eating? Does it live nearby? Does it have friends? How old is it? What does it do when it rains?
An elderly woman at the balcony, looking this way and that. Is she waiting for someone? The milkman, the newspaper, the vegetable vendor? The flower lady with the little garland packed in a leaf which she leaves on the wall near the gate? Is she waiting for someone to arrive from out of town? Is she wondering if the train is late? Has she had coffee? Does she live alone? Who else lives with her? What does she do all day?
A youngish plump woman walking briskly. Pulling at her top which is rather tight. Adjusting her hair. Carrying a small bag. Is she off to the market? What does she plan to buy? Does she have siblings? Does she go to college? What subjects might she choose?
A young man running his hand through his bedhead stepping out onto his balcony dressed in a vest and shorts. Yawns lazily. One hand moves to his crotch to scratch. Then he stretches. Places his hands on the railing and leans forward to look below. Ah, the tea shop. Calls out to someone. Has words. Laughs. Waves. Goes back in, presumably to get started with his day. How does his day look like? Where does he work? Does he drive a motorcycle? Does he dress jazzily or conservatively? Does he shave every day? Will he meet up with friends in the evening? Does he drink? Smoke? Does he stay out late?
A school girl hurrying to get ready for school, packs her bag on her porch as she waits for the school bus to pick her up. Mom’s busy finishing packing her lunch and rushes out to make sure she’s carrying it. After the girl puts her lunch box into her bag, Mom pulls her close, hugs and then adjusts her ribbons, gives her a kiss as they hear the school bus’s horn and laughing, the girls runs out to board it and waves to her Mom.
As my time on the treadmill draws to a close, I finally look ahead of me, at my reflection on the mirrored wall. I walk briskly in tune to the beat of the music playing on the speakers.
I feel gratitude to get a peek into others’ lives.
I feel grateful for mine.
I turn around to see my son busy working out at the cross trainers.
I wave at him to signal it is time to go home and he smiles back.
I know it will be another 10 minutes before he’s done.
I go stand by the balcony railing that spans the sides of the gym. I watch the children playing, running on the ground below as I stretch and flex.
Yes, life is good.
No wires attached. Yet, I am connected to life.
Another wonderful day is about to begin.
How’s your day going?