I’ve been getting ready for a new school year to start, and today, that included organizing and putting the books on the shelves in sixth grade. I happened across myriad Babysitters’ Club books, and I was still inordinately excited by them, like it was still 1994. I wanted to plop myself down on the floor of the classroom and lose myself in the adventures of the BSC, mostly to see what sort of insanity Claudia Kishi was wearing.
Is it just me or were the girls of the Babysitters’ Club serious ballers? Think about it—even though they are either thirteen or eleven (depending on the girl in question), they all have had boyfriends and other guys actively pursuing them. They travel constantly—Hawaii, southern California (where Jessi made several appearances on a popular television show), a random tropical island somehow off the coast of Connecticut, MANY haunted houses and mansions, crazy lighthouses, cross-country road trips, etc. They come and go as they please without the benefit of licenses or car ownership with little to no parent supervision. They have their own business with steady incomes. They’ve participated in boat races. They host radio shows. They randomly stumble upon Georgia O’Keefe sketches. They won the freaking LOTTERY.
Seriously—BALLER status. When I was in junior high, I had braces, no money, no charming fellows trying to pay me court, and I thought an occasional trip to the mall was super awesome.
Also, tell me this couldn’t basically be in one of the books:
“I looked around at all us girls gathered in Claudia’s room. We all really admired Claudia for her sometimes crazy but never boring fashion sense. For instance, today, she was wearing a baggy orange crop top and over that, a pair of overalls that she had cut down the middle and re-sewn, with one half inside-out. The overalls weren’t buckled. Insteads, the bib and straps hung around her hips and were held up with a pair of houndstooth suspenders. The cuffs were rolled up to show three layers of multi-colored day-glo scrunchie socks worn with purple sneakers. Her earrings were made out of repurposed house keys, and her hair was in a high side ponytail, decorated with polka dot scrunchies. She was currently eating five twinkies at once.
Maryanne was being quiet. She was happy because her super-strict dad, who was a widower until he married Dawn’s mom, let her start wearing pants last week.
Dawn had long blonde hair and a perfect golden tan. She looked like a surfer because she was from California and had moved to Stoneybrook.
Stacey was looking really fashionable, because she’s from New York, originally. She was wearing a slouchy emerald sweater over a lacy black skirt and patent leather boots, and they were obviously very expensive. She was drinking a diet soda because she has Diabetes.
Jessi was there too. She’s black. She’s pretty much the only black person in Stoneybrook. She’s a ballet dancer and will definitely call you out if you become anorexic.
Kristy was dressed like a really aggressive softball coach. She was even wearing a visor and a whistle!! (For no reason, now that I think about it.) She was currently being really loud and bossing everyone around, but somehow she’s still super nice and that’s not at all annoying. She says she has a boyfriend, but us girls are pretty sure she bats for the other team.
Mallory was not there. She was off being humiliated or contracting a terrible illness because she’s a ginger and everyone hates her. She has a ridiculously huge family. Seriously. HUGE. Maybe they’re really religious or something? But anyway, you basically need the entire BSC to babysit together for them. There’s that many kids.
Abby was the newest member. She’s a twin but we basically never talk about her sister. Abby’s Jewish and her dad’s dead.”
This is my third foray into having a gym membership and trying to force myself to go on a regular basis. I don’t know at what magical point working out suddenly becomes the BEST THING EVER and I become completely addicted to it like it’s freaking heroin, but I can tell you I’m not there yet. I do not love working out; I do, however, love food. To keep loving food, I must, therefore, burn some of it off.
Part of the problem is that I am a prissy little thing and the idea of sweating is completely abominable to me. Upon leaving the gym, I am no longer fit to be seen in public. Which means that I will continue to feel and look disgusting until I go through my whole in-depth showering/hair washing/hair drying/hair curling/makeup application process all over again. Which, okay, I realize that of all the problems one could have in the world, that is a sorry one to be complaining about, but still.
The gym does afford me multiple encounters with some unique characters though. From a comedic standpoint, the gym is a truly magical place.
-Old men working out in the underclothes (undershirt, boxer shorts, black dress socks, and wingtips).
-A boy who sat doing nothing on a mat for twenty minutes—he then proceeded to do eight half-hearted push-ups and leave. That was it.
-A man who clearly came to the gym just to stare slack-jawed at one of the televisions. He did this while standing NEAR (not on) a treadmill for a lengthy period of time, finally hopped on the treadmill (while still staring at the TV like he’d never seen one before and was riveted by a soft news piece on “Wacky Sports”), and walked at 0.01 miles per hour for one minute. Then he got off and left.
-Overly muscled fellow who kept glancing around the gym while flexing slightly and making a big show of pretending to get ready to cycle to see if anyone was noticing what a super hunk o’ man meat he was.
-Gentleman who was severely confused as to what a push-up was. Seemed to think “push-up” meant “consummate your marriage with the floor of 24 Hour Fitness.” After a time of defiling the ground and my soul, he flipped over and began his version of sit-ups and somehow it was even worse—he was now molesting the air. After each set/air-and-floor sex session, he would jump up abruptly and scream. No one else seemed to notice nor care. I died a little inside.
-Couple who proceeded to have a “nothing fight” right next to me on the treadmills. I had to keep staring straight ahead, pretending it wasn’t happening. I had my headphones on, which muffled them considerably (I was too worried they’d notice if I shut my music off and made an attempt to listen, even though I wanted to). My thought process: “Wow, this is SO awkward. Should…should I move? They might think that’s rude and that I’m obviously listening in. But…clearly, I have to be hearing this, right? They’re standing right next to me. I can’t look in their direction. That would be even worse. Just keep staring ahead at nothing. Act like you don’t notice. But that seems weird, too, right? How could I NOT notice? Why…why is this happening?” Every once in a while, they’d be loud enough that I could catch snippets: “I just want to work out!!”; “I wish you had a camera right now so you could SEE yourself!!” I kept wondering at what point I managed to wander into a Dane Cook stand-up routine and was waiting for some mention of jelly.
-(My father actually witnessed this one in the men’s locker room) A naked Asian man stood before a mirror, completely stone-faced, and then proceeded to embark upon a series of nude jumping jacks. Let me repeat that: NUDE JUMPING JACKS. Really fix that image in your mind.
I can’t say a visit to the gym is ever dull.