Monday, March 31, 2008

Use Your Illusion III

A couple times a week I try to go through the Strive circuit at the gym- a series of weight machines that provide a full body work out. Not too long ago I was making my way through the circuit when a person sat down at the machine next to me. I was immediately convinced that the person was Axl Rose. Now this wasn’t the Axl I’d seen most recently, with microbraids and a ruddy goatee. This was the Axl of my youth, with stringy blond hair under a bandanna, the glasses he wore in the “November Rain” video and dirty T-shirt with no sleeves. The one thing that was confusing was- I was also pretty certain that this person was a woman. I tried to slyly check out how much weight she/he/Axl was putting up on the chest press and it didn’t look like too much…maybe it was just a woman trying to keep her split ends out of her face. But then again, Axl wasn’t ever the picture they’d put in the dictionary under the phrase “bulging pectorals.”

Could it be? Could I really be getting my swell on with the front man of Guns N’ Roses?

I tried making eye contact- no luck, the bandanna really reduced peripheral vision. I started softly humming “Paradise City” to myself to see if that got Axl’s attention. Nothing. Then I figured it out- I’d wait until Axl got up to go to the next machine and then I would watch for any evidence of the sweet side to side shuffle dance move that would be a dead giveaway.

As I waited for this I started to think about how absurd this was. I mean, if any ‘80’s/early '90's rock star was going to be unmasked as a woman posing as a man, you’d have to assume it would be Bret Michaels, with his golden mane, pouty lips and stuffed crust jeans (you know there’s definitely a huge collection of mismatched socks in the Rock of Love mansion). But Bret wasn’t here, Axl was, I think, so I forgot about the unlikely nature of the situation and kept my eyes peeled for the shuffle.

Finally, the last set. I held my breath, not even pretending to do my bicep curls. Axl got up, flicked back some stray hair and moved on to the next machine. It was too close! The machines were right next to each other- pretty much anyone using them would have to do the Axl dance to go from one to the next. I was so let down. I left the gym that day still relatively sure that it had indeed been Axl- and not so sure about how I felt knowing that I was a lot stronger than a musical icon. I haven’t seen him/her/Axl since, but I always bring my copy of Appetite for Destruction and a Sharpie with me to the Y, just in case.

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