I’ll set the scene for you: The time was 9:24am on Saturday and I’m standing about two feet away from a girl my age, holding up muy thai pads while she works a jab, cross, hook combo. It’s time to sweat out my Friday night at my new gym and I’m in my element at a great martial arts class, having a good time sparring with an equal partner.
We’re halfway through her round and I can see her starting to fatigue a bit. She smiles after a halfhearted combo and says, puffing an exasperated sigh:
“It’s not even halfway through the class, I can’t already be hypoglycemic!”
“Oh, are you diabetic?” I say in complete seriousness, with a touch of worry. But as I say it, I realize already from her expression that she’s making a joke. She’ s not diabetic or hypoglycemic or even actually tired at all. She re-ups on the next combo, striking with more force.
“Psssshhh no!” she says, laughing and scoffing a bit at the notion of her actually being diabetic, because in her mind, that does not equate with physical fitness or with being in a kickboxing class, or for a couple of gals our age. It was the look that says “duh dude, NO, I don’t have diabetes, I’m currently kicking ass so clearly I couldn’t have a disease that only overweight, elderly people have.”
I lower the pads for a moment and look her right in the eye.
“Oh, ok. I have diabetes and I was going to say that I have some quick-acting sugar if you were actually getting a hypo. Glad you’re ok.”
“Oh. Thanks.” she returns, a slightly confused look on her face. “I was just kidding.”
I raise the pads for her again and call off the combo. “Jab, cross, hook!”
When it was her turn to hold the pads for me, I really let it rip. I threw those crosses and hooks like I was fighting for my life in a dark alley. She kept up with me, complimenting me on a nice roundhouse and a killer uppercut. I didn’t turn it up to hurt her or impress her. I didn’t do it because I thought she meant her comment in a hurtful way. I didn’t do it because I was offended or upset, it was an honest joke from a nice person who just didn’t know anyone with diabetes that also kicks ass and works out and favors sweating in the gym on a Saturday morning to coffee on the couch. I turned it up so that now, she does know someone with diabetes that’s just as badass as she is.