A Letter to the Other Guy in This Steam Room

Looks like it's just you and me.

Relaxing in a Steam Room Photo via Shutterstock/Volt Collection

Relaxing in a Steam Room Photo via Shutterstock/Volt Collection

Dear Other Guy in This Steam Room,

How are you? Looks like it’s just you and me. Could’ve picked the sauna next door and had it to yourself, but you were adamant about the steam room. Hey, great minds think alike.

How was your workout? Sounds like it was exhausting. Sure is hot in here, isn’t it? I know this because I’ve counted all your grunts and grumbles over the last minute and used them to calculate the temperature, just as you would a cricket’s chirp. By my calculations, it’s about 110 degrees. Do you make different sounds for Celsius?

You see, Other Guy, I just had a hell of a workout. I blasted my lats, decimated my delts, and obliterated my obliques, all to reverse whatever damage I’ve done to my body sitting at a desk the last eight hours (tons, I’ve heard). So after all this #fitfluential flogging, I enjoy a couple minutes of quiet reflection in the steam room.

Hold on, did you just spit?

Listen: Under most circumstances, I would gladly cede the steam room to you, Other Guy. I’m not the confrontational type. But I’m unsure you’re aware how important it is. Without this steam bath drawing a quart of sweat out me—and with it, a menagerie of toxins—I can’t make room for the new toxins. And then I’ll start smelling like bourbon at work again.

You’re stretching now? That’s cool. Wouldn’t want your hamstrings tightening up on your walk home. When you get there, perhaps you could bring a towel large enough to cover the ol’ cajones, compadre. You know—for next time.

Tell me, are you afraid of silence, Other Guy? I assure you, if a few moments pass uninterrupted by a snort or wheeze, your skin will not cleave from your body and go terrorize an Austrian village. If ten seconds pass without even the faintest buhhh directed at no one in particular, I promise you, the Dow Jones will not crash. It does that on its own.

Wait. You’ve settled down. Can you hear my thoughts, Other Guy? Maybe you’re not so bad after all. Maybe we could be friends and share secrets. Here, I’ll go first. Sometimes, when I use the gym shower, I like to use obscene amounts of the free shampoo and body wash and pretend I’m John Henry, to whom money is of zero consequence. It’s like I’m…

Oh, you’re leaving? So soon? By all means, fling the door wide open and take the steam with you, Other Guy.

Neurotically yours,