This afternoon, I sat on the exam table at my regular skin cancer check, with my new dermatologist.
She ran her fingertips over my arms and then arrived at the palm of my hands, startled.
"Oh, my! Why do you have such hard callouses on your hands?"
"I'm a weightlifter. I do CrossFit."
"Oh! I have heard of that! I attended a wedding over New Year's where the bride and groom and everyone at the reception were CrossFitters. That's how the bride and groom got together, in fact. What makes it different from any other workout?"
"Well, for me the main difference is the tightly knit community. If you are gone for even a couple of days you start to get messages from your CrossFit friends in your class saying, 'Hey, where are you?'"
"Class, like a time slot? You mean you show up at a specific time for a class? I thought it was just a free for all."
"Well, it might kinda get that way during open gym hours, but almost everybody regularly attends a designated class, like at 5 o'clock or 6 o'clock. I have been working out with some of the same people for as long as two or three years in our morning class slot. It's been a very positive experience for me. When I began, I was heading toward 220 lb. and sedentary. I could not climb stairs without getting winded!"
"You started CrossFit in THAT kind of shape?"
"It's OK to question my sanity. But I started with baby versions of the stuff I do now and worked my way up over a year, two years."
"People at that wedding were talking to me about it, but I thought it wasn't for someone my age."
"Well, we just celebrated the birthday of our box's oldest lady athlete, who is 60, and our oldest male athlete is 64, if I'm not mistaken."
She paused a moment to appreciate that.
"Where do you go to CrossFit?"
"I go to a box up north by the courthouse. But now there are, like, 5 or 6 boxes just in our immediate area."
"What did you call it? A box? Why a box?"
"We call it a box because the space is mostly empty, and we bring out our weights and organize them when it's time to work out. We do stuff without weights, too, like pushups and pullups."
"What about burpees? I hate burpees. And mountain climbers."
"Well, I hate them, too. And I hate running. But I kind of think of those as the broccoli of my workout."
"Do you run a lot?"
"Not great distances. Usually a quarter or half mile at a time, then we do some other stuff, then we'll run another quarter or half mile."
She returned to the task of my skin exam in earnest, but soon apologized for not properly introducing herself to me as I was a new patient.
"And I have just one more question. Did anybody push you into doing CrossFit, encourage you to do it? Tell you do to it? Or did you decide to do it by yourself?"
"Well, I kind of came into it backwards. I was cleaning up my diet and while I was doing that research online, I kept running into people talking about CrossFit, and I thought to myself, 'Maybe this is exactly what I need to get myself back in shape.'"
"Well, I have to hand it to you, that is really something else."
The above conversation had earlier today has been replicated as best as my memory can serve while composed to still make sense to my readers.