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editpaperA Place I Hate: Using the Senses (Descriptive Writing)

In the exercise below, I write of a place I really hate: the weight room at my local community centre. In each section I emphasize a different sense to try and find all the details needed to write a good descriptive paragraph. With a wealth of detail, writing a descriptive paragraph is much easier.



A place I really hate is the weight room at my local community center. Full of sweaty people, the room is small but brightly lit. Chromed metal machines gleam in the centre, with various handles and grips. On one side are the treadmills where people run nowhere. Amazingly, lineups form to get on them! Another interesting device is the reclining bicycle. On it you sit back and pedal furiously. Again, you go nowhere. Often, people will spray disinfectant on the vinyl seats and wipe off the someone else’s sweat, although you are supposed to do that yourself. Large mirrors line one wall so everyone can look at him or herself and admire muscles. Or, sometimes, you can sneak a look at another person. It is no place for the self conscious.


The guys with the free weights like to grunt when lifting something heavy. Then, they blow out the air from their lungs in a big rush. Also, the noises from the bikes and treadmills is very loud, so loud you cannot speak to anyone without shouting. A stereo provides even more noise: usually it is tuned to a younger person’s rock station like Z95. It is often turned up very loud as well. The door opens and closes repeatedly and bangs shut each time. From time to time, someone exits via the emergency door and sets off an ear-splittingly loud bell.


I smell armpits of course of the many sweaty people. But not only the smell of sweat bothers me in there. Dirty sport socks and the smells coming from feet is really strong as well. Because the room is next to the pool, the smell of chlorine is strong, especially whenever someone opens the door in that direction. A sauna is also nearby, so the smell of hot cedar comes into the room from there.


Everything there is smooth and easy to clean. The grips on the weight machines are coated in foam to cushion the hands. On the bikes, we find clips to hold our feet in place. Often, because the room is small and crowded, we bump into each other.


The sweat from my head running into my mouth.


(February 13, 2005)

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