COLUMN: Rekindling A Plex Relationship

Dear Plex,

I’ll be the first to admit that I think we’ve been growing apart lately. We haven’t been seeing as much of each other as we used to. Gone are the days when we used to while away hours together first semester. Before exams, and homework, and exhaustion really hit, I felt like I could lie on the mats doing ab workouts (aka texting) forever.

But now, I feel like I spend more time in Bapst instead of in your hot, cramped arms. I won’t lie to you-I’ve spent time with your tiny little brother, the Hut. But this isn’t what I want from our relationship!

I remember when I saw you for the very first time. I was on a campus tour during my senior year of high school when I spotted you from the top of the Million Dollar Stairs. You looked like a distant mountain range, and I was immediately intrigued. I saw you and I remembered you. You seemed smelly and stuffy and not nearly as nice as my old gym back home, but your cinderblock walls and industrial ceiling held a certain appeal. You seemed like someone I wanted to get to know.
I was so scared the first time I went to work out by myself-just a little first-semester freshman. New places are definitely daunting at that point, especially when they’re filled with huge, hulking boys and upperclassmen girls in coordinated head-to-toe Lululemon. But then I started going to some spin classes and yoga classes and I felt more at home. I even started looking forward to coming to see you.

When I went home for the first time for Thanksgiving break, the unexpected happened. I had been so excited to go to my gym back at home, where attendants come around with towels when I first begin to sweat and the people at the front desk know my name, that I hadn’t realized I would actually miss you.

Working out just isn’t the same when I’m surrounded by hip, in-shape moms instead of people my own age. It’s not nearly as much fun trying to avoid my next-door neighbor as it is trying to make eye contact with the cute boy who may or may not be in my econ lecture.

There’s something particularly charming about your smell and sweat and overwhelming number of perfectly fit students. There’s something you have that a lot of other gyms don’t-at the Plex, we’re all in this together. Unfortunately, the basketball court is filled with boys trying to impress the girls on the way to spin class instead of Troy Bolton and his crew, but the general attitude still applies. We’re all working on our fitness together.

The Plex is maybe the only place on campus (besides, like, the Mods) where you get to see students from all grades and all majors sweaty and often vaguely unhappy-looking. No one’s ever smiling on the treadmill, because truth be told, Plex, the treadmill sucks.

Working out isn’t always fun. But what makes it more fun is that every Plex-goer on campus is doing it together. Often, it’s a little too close for comfort, considering the limited number of mats.

But one thing I’ve noticed-everyone at the Plex always looks a little stressed. I mean, I get it. I should probably be doing my history reading on the elliptical instead of watching HBO’s Girls, but the beauty of working out is that we can feel accomplished without having to study. Plex, you provide an environment to let loose for a little bit and escape the depths of Bapst, O’Neill, or the Hardey study lounge.

So, I wanted to thank you for that. Thanks for always being there and for thanks for keeping the freshman 15 at bay. As much as I complain and whine and moan about walking down the Million Dollar Stairs to hang out with you, I never regret it once I get there.

I don’t think we really had the best first impression of each other. I was a little scared and intimidated at first. Also, it took me until last week to find the water fountain, so I might still need to work on some things. But for the most part, I’ve really grown to care about you.

I’ll be honest-I missed you over Thanksgiving break and Christmas break. I might just go into withdrawal during my upcoming Appa trip. But I know you’ll always be there to welcome me back into your often-putrid, but loving arms.

February 2, 2014