Eighteen minutes in, I heard it. Fwap, brrrrrrrawwwwwww, fwap. “What was that?”
It began like any other morning at the gym, towel in hand and walking around in search of a treadmill not in use. Although it was early, the place was getting busy and many of the good machines were quickly being taken. I am a little picky when it comes to gym equipment, for I always look for the high-end treadmills that have internet connectivity which allows me to race another simple Joe 2,000 miles away via Google Earth. You gotta love technologhy. Today’s Google Earth race map was Cape Town, South Africa. I like this one; it is an easy 3.5-mile stretch up and around the coast with a few hills thrown in to make things interesting. I really felt for the person on the other end of the treadmill this morning; I was in the mood to smoke someone’s ass in a good digital footrace. In the back of my mind, I saw Usain Bolt jumping on to an inFitness Treadmill at the Olympic Village at the exact moment as me, “Cape Town! My favorite 10 minute warm-up jog.” After five minutes of running, two garrulous young women found treadmills next to me, one on either side of me. I didn’t think anything about it until they began talking through me about their weight, what’s for lunch, last night’s ventures and how hot Jonathan looked at the Trailhead Pub the other day. Ask anyone that knows me, and they will tell you I am very good at tuning things out, from car alarms to gunfire but it was a challenge not to listen to these two. They were a hoot! It made me think if I was ever that way growing up, or more importantly, was my daughter that way…a father’s fear. I just smiled and kept on with my workout while watching one of the mounted 40” TV screens barraging me with constant flashy distractions. About 12 minutes in to the run, I realized that my digital competitor I had been racing had suddenly changed his/her pace from a run to a stroll, giving me a good ¼-mile lead. “Hell, if they’re walking I’m going to walk also.” I thought.
I quickly dropped my pace down to 4.1 and relaxed while taking in the view via Google Earth. All the while listening to the two twenty somethings next to me and how Jonathan screwed around with that Melissa girl at the party during July 4th weekend. I smiled and closed my eyes thinking how nice it would be if their shoelaces had suddenly came untied while they were running right now…bad Shannon. I needed an out and I needed it now before these two drove me nuts. Seconds later, I opened my eyes and noticed an attractive older woman had gotten on the treadmill directly in front of me. She was very athletic and built like a brick outhouse. She was the no nonsense gym type, goes to the gym for one thing, to workout. I respect that since I am the same way. With her earplugs in, she started her cardio routine like a gazelle being chased by cheetah. No warm up for her. Eighteen minutes in, I heard it. Fwap, brrrrrrrawwwwwww, fwap. “What was that?” I thought. I looked over to both of the girls beside me thinking an integral part of the treadmill has just broken off or one of the girls had actually tripped up due to a faulty shoelace. “Oh my God!” the girl to my right exclaimed. “Did you hear that?” she asked me. “Yes, I heard it. What was that?” I relied. The girl to my left answered, “Holy shit, that lady in front of you just farted sir. That is SO GROSS!” she yelled in hopes the woman would hear her. No luck, the beast kept on with her run. I shook my head, “No, that can’t be. I don’t think she wou”…then it hit me.
My eyes began to burn and in an ecstasy of fumbling; I looked up towards the woman in front of me to see her glancing back over her shoulder to check out the wake of destruction she had created. The girls were right; the woman in front of me had in fact farted. More like, blew out her colon. This was unlike anything I had ever experienced before. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a guy and I’ve had my share of humorous, and sometimes intentional, accidents and I grew up playing the locker room, fart game but this…this was inhuman and unholy on all accounts. What escaped from her bowels was pure, unadulterated death. Wiping tears from my eyes and feeling my throat close, I began to have flashes of what it was like for our boys and British soldiers in the WWI trenches at the Battle of Ypres. “GAS! The Germans are using Mustard Gas on us…run for your life.” I could only imagine. I was not going to die on a treadmill today. I quickly found the stop button and stumbled off to find cleaner air about five feet behind me. I looked at the two girls who were now holding their noses and walking. “Good luck ladies and take care.” I said. Each waved with a free hand while giggling and saying their goodbyes. I made my way back to the men’s locker room and showers to relax. I chuckled under my breath about what had just happened to me. “No home training,” I said to myself. Immediately after the gas attack, I had noticed a unfamiliar taste in my mouth, more like a film of some sort. Whatever it was, it was still lingering on my taste buds and throat. I went over to the bathroom mirror to inspect the inside of my mouth. “Holy Shit is right,” I said aloud while examining my throat and teeth. I had not seen my teeth that white in years; that woman burnt the plaque clean off my teeth. Now that is good stuff.