Sunday, December 2, 2007

Gym Rats

After a long hiatus, I've recently started frequenting the gym again. And suddenly I remember why I stopped going in the first place: There are a lot of people out there who do not follow proper gym etiquette and/or are just plain weird. I usually try to go either early in the morning or an hour before closing so as to avoid the large crowds, but it seems those are the precise hours that the weird people come out. I also get embarrassed by the excessive amount of sweat that pours off me when I work out. If I so much as lift a finger, sweat goes flying across the room. That and my face breaks out into red and white stripes, causing me to look like I'm going to pass out from a stroke at any second. After a while you just get tired of people coming up to you and saying, "Excuse me, but it looks like you're going to pass out. A tight ass is not worth dying over." Really? Because I thought the whole point of getting healthy was to keel over and die. Nice try, but you're not getting this machine.

This, however, is not as bad as hearing an over-abundance of grunting coming from the person working out next to you. When it is so loud that it drowns out Kelly Clarkson's infectious tunes, it is way too loud.

Of course, even this is not as bad as the person who brings their cell phone to the gym with them. The following conversations are loud and obnoxious and interspersed with many huffs and puffs. I can't even imagine being the person at the other end of that call: "Wait, why are you breathing so hard? Are you watching porn, dude? What? You're working out? Do you want me to call back later?" To which the annoying gym rat cell phone answerer responds, "No! (Huff.) Don't be silly. (Puff.) This is a perfect time to call. Burns more calories this way. Now let's talk about something really personal and private in really loud voices so we can annoy this girl working out next to me. (Grunt.)"

Yesterday, I was on the elliptical machine and a girl jumped on the one next to me. We were the only two people in the gym. Rows and rows of unused ellipticals, far, far away from me were there for her taking, but she chose to plant herself next to me. I am firmly convinced that this was a strategic maneuver so that she could further annoy me by not using the machine properly. I'm not sure what she was doing, but it involved much turning of the pages of the novel she was trying to read, the dropping off the novel she was trying to read, and abrupt stops and starts on the machine. At no time was she in constant motion. I wanted to give her a good push--you know, to get her going, but restrained myself for fear she would then start grunting loudly.

The worst is when you get to the gym and there are no open machines. I usually kill some time doing free weights as I keep a watchful eye on things. Of course, these are the days when everyone has filled up on Red Bull and run for hours. I then face the choice of either continuing with the free weights until my arms fall off, or looking like a jerk and confronting one of the exercisers about their ellipticial-hogging ways. Needless to say, I always end up going the jerk route. I figure if you're going to look like a jerk, might as well look like a jerk with a tight ass.