I usually awake at 6 in the morning. This is true even on my days off as I generally have a laundry list of things I need to accomplish. Unfortunately, this also seems to hold true on vacations, unless I find myself out carousing until the wee hours of the night. It was raining, intermittently. This was forecast and expected. As the day was supposed to continue cool and wet we decided we would embark on a quest. My partner ha suggested, after her performance on the Oscars, that we needed to have a Shirley Bassey CD in our musical library. I decided that this would be a great idea for his Easter Basket this year. We engaged in some online research and came with several possibilities for places in Phoenix where we could obtain one. We also planned to go to the gym. As the majority of places seem to be located near it we decided we will shower there, as opposed to before leaving the house.
One of the convenient parts of these visits is that my hosts and I hold memberships to the same gym chain. My gym at home is rather working class in nature. It is clean and functionable but has not been remodeled or updated in a number of years. Their gym, by comparison, is modern and upscale almost to a fault. It is large, with separate rooms for cardio and weight training. The white weight machines are so new and clean that they almost gleam in the ample light. At home the gym is lit by bare florescent bulbs and modified schoolhouse fixtures. At my home gym in Chicago form decidedly follows function.
I find weight training to be an excellent form of stress relief. It is, for me, almost meditative in nature. I will also admit that, as a gay man, there is a certain prurient element to being among men in sleeveless shirts and shorts with buff bodies picking heavy things up and putting them down again. It seemed the inhabitants of the Phoenix gym on that late weekday morning were pushing 30 or pushing 70 with not alot of variants in between. There was a reasonable amount of eye candy, which, after years spent in gyms, I have learned to consume discretely. I am not certain that it was any better or worse that my gym sugar diet at home, just different, therefore novel.
Outside it was gray, cool and rainy. Showers popped up and disappeared. It was excellent weather for CD shopping as that is generally an indoor activity. A brief search was conducted at Target, essentially because it was in the same strip mall as the gym. Target, I've discovered over several visits there, has a fairly sizable CD assortment. I procured a CD titled "Etta James Greatest Hits", basically because it was $5. My host suggested that outside of "At Last", he would be hard pressed to name another song made famous by the singer and wondered what then would constitute "Greatest Hits"? We visited 2 other stores before scoring a used version of "Shirley Bassey's Greatest Hits" ( Yes,I see a pattern developing). The used CD/vinyl/book stores resembled the shops along Telegraph Avenue outside of UC Berkeley I use to peruse in my youth. They were manned by young people with a romantic vision of the 60's and early 70's, adopting the hair and fashion of that era. It was somewhat sobering to realize that they, and most probably their parents, were not yet born during my long haired, tye dyed, patched jeans teen years.
The showers came and went, then came again. By the time we returned to the house there were torrents of rain. Water poured off the eaves of the tiled roof and collected in pools in the yard. For the first time in my visits there I saw water rushing down the rock lined arroyos.