Slim woman: Hi, there! Remember me?
Chana: Ummmm …?
Slim: It’s hard getting back in shape, isn’t it?
Chana (breathing hard after only half an hour): I’m sorry, you do look familiar, but …
Slim (nudging Chana slightly aside to check the treadmill monitor): Oh, I see that you’re doing 3.5 miles an hour. So far, so good, but if you increase the incline, you’ll get more bang for your buck.
Chana (intensely out of breath): Actually, this is the best I can do.
Slim: Well, it’s a start. Just keep at it, and you’ll lose some of that belly fat.
Chana (panting): You’ll have to remind me (more panting); how do we know each other?
Slim: Our kids went to school together!
Chana (stepping off the treadmill while tightening belly): They did? How old are your kids?
Slim: Remember my twins? They’re already in college.
Chana: I’m pretty sure our kids didn’t go to school together.
Slim: Oh, I remember your son very well.
Chana: I think you’ve got me mixed up with somebody else. I have two daughters.
Slim: Are you sure?
Chana (resetting the machine): Let me think for a minute. Yes, I’m positive I have two daughters.
Slim: Well, did they go to Lakeside High School?
Chana: They both spent four years at a place called Yeshiva High School. But that’s not all …
Slim: I knew you’d remember! You do have a son, right?
Chana: What I was about to say is that my daughters are in their 40s. Are your twins in their 40s?
Slim: Of course not. Do I look like somebody whose children are in their 40s? They’re 19.
Chana (stepping back on the treadmill): Well, it was lovely meeting you. Gotta get back to work!
Slim: This is really confusing. See, Lynn, I remember you from some place.
Chana (relieved): Oh, I’m not Lynn!
Slim: What’s it a nickname for? Something Southern like Mary Lynn I bet! Everybody always called you Lynn!
Chana: My name is Chana. I’m absolutely sure you’re thinking of somebody else.
Slim: Oh, whatever! What kind of a name is Kahn-na, anyway?
Chana: It’s Hebrew.
Slim: Are you from Israel?
Chana (desperate to get back to exercise, fingering the control panel): No, I’m a full-blooded American with a Hebrew name.
Slim: How unusual! I wonder why your parents did that?
Chana: I promise you that they had a good reason, but I have to get back on the treadmill. I’m going to start now if that’s OK with you.
Slim: Do you mind if I give you one little piece of advice?
Chana (resolutely resetting the monitor): Go for it!
Slim: You’ll have better results if you get some real exercise clothes. That T-shirt does hide your upper arms, which is smart, but it’s got to be too hot. And those pants are kind of floppy. Get workout tights, and don’t worry about tights showing how big your bottom is because it’s nobody’s business.
Chana (starting to walk again): I appreciate your observation.
Slim: Just one more thing, OK? You should probably put your hair into a ponytail. It’s all over the place. Doesn’t that bother you?
Chana (succumbing to sarcasm, which is never a good idea): Your expertise is amazingly helpful and well-intentioned. Perhaps you’d do me a big favor and critique my shoes.
Slim: Well, since you ask. How long have you had them?
Chana (breathing erratically): Three or four years, why?
Slim (appalled): No wonder you’re leaning toward the left. You’ve got to get better shoes, and don’t buy another pair of cheap ones.
Chana (controlling herself before becoming violent, feigning amity): Well, I see that I’ve been here for a long time, so I’ve got to go. Tuesdays are my treadmill days, but unfortunately I didn’t walk as much as I’d planned.
Slim (cheery and elated): Now that I know when you come, I’ll try to show up at the same time! We can do more catching-up next week. Won’t that be great?