Sweaty Impulses & The One That Got Away

I’d never given much thought to the term ‘maxi pad’ *waves good-bye to a few male readers* until a trip to see my family in Minnesota. Between the altitude of the plane ride and the overabundance of estrogen in my largely female family, I should’ve known that a less-welcome guest, Aunt Flo, would join me. No big deal, right? One would think.

“Uh…Mom?” In the bathroom I’d found only shelves of towels, shampoo and bulk-size paper products—seriously, enough to mummify an army. “I thought you said you had girl stuff.”

[girl stuff: A Minnesota-polite term for maxi pads and tampons]

Wait. Those giant paper products were the girl stuff.

[maxi: A thing that is very large of its kind or a skirt reaching to the ankle]  —Dictionary.com

Not only were the pads—if you could call them that—large, but as sticky as dollar store band aids and as soft as styrofoam bricks. In fact “brick” is about the best description I can conjure. But like many Minnesotans, my family comes from sturdy Scandinavian stock. I could take it! And heck. A maxi-brick beats a toilet paper wad any day. *waves good-bye to a few more males* (Thanks for trying!) I could always buy more girl stuff during our errands-run later.

First, I decided to hit the local gym. Heating the body early in the day is often a must in MN. Others must agree, as the place was packed. I soon spotted another crowd attractor. Between the free weights and the ab-er-sizer machine stood a muscular trainer. Let’s call him Sven (Svelte + Norwegian). If I’d been in Hollywood, I would’ve assumed Sven was Arnold Schwarzenegger’s trainer, an actor who plays an athlete on TV or the latest gym infomercial fit model. Add to his physique wavy blond hair, turquoise eyes and a friendly smile and you can imagine the result—chick magnet extraordinaire.

Uff-da, Sven! Where are your pants???

But I wasn’t there to Sven-ogle. I wanted to sweat. (No, not that kind of sweat, you naughty-naughties.) So I hopped on a treadmill and started running to the beat of my workout tune mix.

Several songs in, I felt something. A subtle draft. Just more chill, I figured, and kept running. As the draft intensified, I sensed what was happening. I looked down in horror. *insert JAWS theme* The maxi-brick moved, seemingly in slow motion, out of my shorts and toward the treadmill belt, bounced off, flew through the air and landed—inches from svelte Sven’s feet and amidst a crowd of exercisers.

[impulse: a sudden wish or urge the prompts and unpremeditated act or feeling; an abrupt inclination] — Dictionary.com

If this were a romance tale, Sven would have prompted my sudden urge and wishes and been the one that got away. But I don’t write romance, and this real-life story is far from heartfelt. (Think horror, thriller and Seventeen magazine’s “Say Anything…”)

Without a thought, I leapt from the treadmill, grabbed the styro-brick, carried it back to the machine with total nonchalance and pretended it was one of those towels used to wipe sweat from the equipment. Yes, I “cleaned” the treadmill with styro-max. My cool facade lasted until I reached the brisk outdoor air, which, for once, felt GREAT. I laughed so hard I spilled tears and told no one until several years later.

To this day, I don’t know if Sven or others recognized what actually happened or if the double takes I perceived inspired nothing but inner-giggles and embarrassing thoughts. (“OMG! I actually thought she…!!!”) If anyone called my bluff, I’m sure a rendition of the story circulates somewhere. If you’re out there, bluff-callers…do I want to know?

Your turn! Any embarrassing tales to tell? Have your “impulses” surprised you? Have you fallen prey to a maxi-brick pitfall?