At about 9 AM this morning, a student asked me if I was colorblind. This is the same girl who school-shamed me for wearing socks with my Sperrys. I knew she didn’t really care if I could see colors. “No, I’m not” I told her. “Well, you’re wearing a teal sweater with some reddish-pink shirt underneath.”

I didn’t respond. I’m pretty comfortable with my fashion sense. I knew it was a B minus day. A lot of wrinkled options to choose from so I went with the B-wardrobe. Then she tried to comfort me by telling me her neighbor was colorblind like I was supposed to care about him. You mocked my outfit. Go back to class. Your backpack sucks.

Earlier tonight I ran off some  of that shame at Planet Fitness. It was crowded which was surprising because it wasn’t free pizza day and we haven’t even got to New Years. I didn’t actually run tonight. That was misleading. I ran yesterday. 1.34 miles in about 20 minutes. That’s the type of pace that’s so bad that you cover up the top part of the treadmill with a spare shirt.  I split the blame between Spotify, a lack of stamina, and podcasts. Nothing says “slow running pace” like This American Life podcast episodes.

But things were seemingly taking a turn for the better when I concluded my workout with a signature trip to the massage chair. As far as I can see, the massage chairs are only used by people over 60 and myself. There’s a certain amount of confidence (or lack of shame) that you need to have to sit in those chairs. You’re usually face-to-face with the TV on CNN and you can’t even hear it. If you’re wondering, you can’t hook up your headphones to the chair so you can hear the TV. Not at this P-Fit, anyways. Where the fuck is my 20$/month going to?

I always go with the maximum 2 coins that you are given at the front desk. Each token is good for 5 wonderful minutes where I play several games of chess on my phone. It’s the most unathletic thing you can do at a gym–play chess on your phone. Anyways, I look over and see that I have 45 seconds left on the massage. Time is running out and I blow through every app on my phone like it’s the final stretch of a big race. Then, as I see the 44th post on Facebook about Trump, I see the words “OFF.”


Usually this marks the end of my “workout” and I go home knowing that I burned off about 9 calories and improved my chess ranking. But for some reason–maybe divine intervention–the little midget in the back of the chair kept massaging my back.

And kept going…and going…until I realized I was operating on phantom coins. There was some sort of jam-up and it felt better than getting 6 chicken nuggets in your 4-piece. I started up a new game but really, I couldn’t focus. I looked around to see if the staff noticed I was stealing massage time. Nobody seemed to notice. They were working out on machines.

After my 20th minute on the chair, guilt took over and I decided to call it quits. But, there was a major issue. I was stuck. The leg massagers were clamped to my calves like a goddamn vice.


Those are my legs and they were in trouble.

I tried to lift them up and ironically, the move turned out to be the only abdominal exercise I did all night. I looked around again, still operating on free coins, but now curious to see if people noticed me struggling. They didn’t, because it’s a gym and people were doing gym-things. After what must have been 24 seconds, I wedged my calves free as the massage continued. I felt bad giving up what may be the first and last time I ever get a free massage. When I grabbed my keys and began to leave the building I looked around for signs for new promotions. Maybe black-card members got unlimited massages that I didn’t know about. Maybe they mistakenly gave me the unlimited coin. The Willy Wonka coin. These things I may never know. But the addict in me knows that I will continue to go back. And every time I do, I’m going to hope for that never-ending massage-chair ride. I may have had a B- clothes day but my massage game has never been better.