So, last night I was feeling brave. Finally, I have reached a point with this flu where I don't feel like coughing up a lung every time I walk up the stairs and so, pumped up with much bravado, I headed to the gym.
I did my usual tour of the machines, building myself up into the usual lovely, sweaty, exhausted, somewhat over-gymmed mess. It wasn't pretty.
Now I'm a guy who showers at the gym. In the UK, this is considered normal behaviour - you work out, you get sweaty, you shower, you go home. In France it's not always the case, and probably 50% of people just change out of their gym clothes back into their street clothes - with a bit of a towel down to remove excess sweat in between. Vile.
Thus, post workout finds me getting ready to take a shower. The gym is fairly basic and the lockers require that you bring your own padlock (cadenas in French, for anyone interested). The lockers are battered, bruised but, having been built in the 1950's, are incredibly strong. This fact didn't help me last night.
So, I undress and pack my things away, ready to shower. I have my 'gel douche' at the ready, and I'm covering my decency with the smallest of small gym-issued towels. It's tiny.
It's at this point that I realise my error - stupidly I still have my glasses on, and obviously don't want to be showering in my specs.
Turning to put them in my locker, I realise the true, real, massive, horrible mistake that I have made.
I've locked everything that I own inside the locker - including the key to the padlock.
I'm stuck, naked but for a facecloth-sized-towel, with no access to my clothes.
I try not to panic. I try not to laugh hysterically. I try to keep breathing.
What to do? It's not like I can march through the gym, downstairs to the reception desk and ask for assistance. I need to involve someone else. Someone dressed.
I ask the guy next to me - who has just walked in and is in street clothing - if he'd go back downstairs and ask reception for help. He laughs (a lot) but agrees. Trust me, when I was learning French all those years ago, never, ever did I think I'd be so grateful for it as I was last night.
The boy from reception arrives, with the biggest pair of metal cutters you've ever seen. Obviously this draws considerable attention, and a crowd soon gathers to see the small boy use his big tool.
Two clips later and I have a broken padlock, but an open locker. I shake his hand to thank him and realise that, to all intents and purposes, I am completely starkers.
It's been a long time since I was the naked centre of attention in a room of sweaty men.
I'd like to say it was enjoyable. It wasn't.