Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Soiled Sneaker

It rained in torrents on Monday, my regular gym day.

Usually, I wear my sneakers and change into my shorts and tee shirt when I get there. The YMCA is a 15 minute drive from my house.

I decided, in a rare flash of consideration for my fellow gymnasts, to pack my sneakers in a plastic bag because the shoes I was wearing were bound to get soaked and muddy up the Nautilus machines. Kathie was stunned to hear this, since my usual modus operandi is to come into the house from the rain and head right for the living room carpet. It always annoys me that my neighbor requires that we remove our shoes before entering her house. Where does she think she lives? Tokyo?

However, as the old cliché goes, no good deed goes unpunished. When I arrived at the locker room, I removed my shoes and took my sneakers from the bag. To my dismay, I discovered a generous helping of dog poop ground into the sole of my left sneaker. Now I was faced with a perplexing quandary: wet shoes or poopy shoes.

The trainer already had his eye on me from a previous encounter. We nautili are required to spray down each machine we have completed with disinfectant and finish with a wipe with a paper towel. I approach this in the same manner as washing my car: a good soaking always gets the job done. I gather he had some complaints from some gym prima donnas who took umbrage at sitting in a puddle and completing their work out with soggy bums. He felt compelled to take me by the ear and demonstrate proper clean-up technique.

He completed the demonstration by saying that he thought it a trifle OCD-ish to spray down the computer screens. Guys tap on those screens with their stinky fingers (yuck!) I was about to inform him but decided that, since he was one bulked up dude, I would let it slide.

I opted to have a go at cleaning up the poop. Anyone who has ever gotten dog dropping ground into the grooves of their sneakers knows how daunting a task it is to remove it. At home my usual technique is to take the sneakers out to the driveway, wedge them soles outward against the garage door, and blast away with my power washer. Voila, like new. (Those of you who have arrived at this blog by googling “cleaning dog poop from sneakers” have hit pay dirt (as it were) because this really works.)

The next best thing is to give them a hearty scrub with a tooth brush. I briefly thought of rifling through the unlocked lockers in search of same, but instead went to work with water and paper towel. I turned the tap on as high as it would go and scrubbed away with the towels. I kept one eye on the door for the trainer because the sight of me washing the soles of my sneakers would only confirm his OCD diagnosis.

At last I was relatively confident that the shoe was clean enough not to soil the machines. To be on the safe side, I decided to do all of my exercises on my heels with toes and insole pointed in the air.

“That’s NOT how I showed you how to do it,” the trainer harshly observed.
No good deed goes unpunished.

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