Now that I’ve settled into the new place, I’ve started taking advantage of the amenities. Namely, the gym. Though I’m by no means an athlete (or even an “athlete”), I do try to spend enough time on the treadmill each day to get through an episode of QI. Exercising the mind and body, blah blah blah. And America’s rapid decline into obesity means I rarely encounter anyone else.
Until I do.
As with any environment, the gym has its mores. Its social constructs. The rules we all agree to abide by as we put the needs of the many over the needs of the few.* Unless you want to buy your own exercise equipment, and use it only in the confines of your own home, you gotta play by the rules.
Don’t put your junk on the equipment unless you’re using it. I keep walking up to treadmills that appear not to be in use, but that are festooned—FESTOONED—with keys, iPhones, lanyards, and other detritus. Don’t “hold” the machine with your junk, people. Hire a child to sit on the machine until you’re ready to use it, like a civilized person.
Speaking of junk, don’t put your junk on the equipment even if you are using it. And by “junk,” I mean…you know what I mean. Let’s keep everything covered, sheathed, tucked in, and strapped down, okay? This goes for both ladies and gents. Do not subject us to your jiggle.
Keep mirror staring to a minimum. I don’t understand the people who spend more time staring at themselves in the mirrors than actually exercising. Are they searching for a sense of self-worth, or…? Anyway, it freaks me out because it makes me think it’s actually one-way glass and not a mirror and that we’re being observed as part of some social experiment. WHAT DO YOU KNOW? WHAT HAVE YOU HEARD? WHAT DO THEY WANT FROM US?
Also keep chatting to a minimum. As little as I enjoy making small talk with people on elevators, in queues, and at family gatherings, I do it in the name of social acceptability. But when I’m exerting physical effort? It’s not going to happen. I’m wearing earphones for a reason, and that reason is mostly to discourage you from trying to communicate with me verbally. If I could work out with blinders on, I’d do that too. But I don’t have enough inner ear balance for that.
If you want it wiped, wipe it. Though I’m one of the most obsessive-compulsive people I know, I’m not big on wiping the machines before, during, or after use. (Nor do I wash my hands repeatedly or worry about eating food off the floor.) My philosophy: If you want the machine completely germ free before you touch it, douse it and yourself in Lysol.
*Maybe Communism gets it right some times, is all I’m saying.
**Exercisor? My Latin is rusty, by which I mean non-existent.