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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

You Know This Gym Character

Living in a condominium has many advantages, and one in particular that I have been using quite often is the gym provided for the owners and tenants. It is by no means a "complete" gym (having all the machines and apparatus of full-scale ones) but it had the basics covered so I was quite satisfied, not really being a nitpicky person when it comes to this.

I dropped by this morning and found two tenants, a mother-daughter tandem also working out. I should change that to "working out", in quotes, because the middle aged daughter was on the treadmill, doing a cross between sleepwalking and limping, with all the windows shut and with no ventilation (the air conditioning unit was turned off). The senior mother was half walking-half light jogging around the entire gym floor, in snakelike fashion - where the free weights are, where the inclined bench was, etc.

Since the other treadmill was under repair, I decided to warm up on the stepper, and proceeded to turn on the air conditioning unit, in order to get some ventilation going.

"Could you not turn on the aircon on?" the daughter hollered while holding on to the treadmill handles, but looking my direction.

"Why not?" I asked.

"The aircon is near me and I want to sweat."

"I'm going to work out and I need the ventilation. Besides, I didn't place that airconditioning unit there, it's obviously meant to be used while working out, otherwise it wouldn't be here in the first place."

At this point, the mother probably felt she should defend her middle aged daughter, so she quipped (while passing machines and weights in a zigzag fashion, using the entire gym floor as her "running path"): "Maybe you should try to be considerate."

"Actually, it is you who needs to be considerate. You don't own this gym, other people will be using this facility as well, and when I'm working out, I need the ventilation, especially since all the windows are boarded up."

The grizzly mama - not more than 5 feet tall - looked me up and down as if wanting to challenge me to a duel. I had to resist the urge to roll on the floor to cackle maniacally and just commented "You know, you shouldn't be running around the gym area, making it into some kind of personal jogging path."

It was the proverbial needle that broke this penguin's back: "REALLY? Where is the rule that says I can't run around here?"

"Uh, it's common sense. What if other people want to do their workout with the free weights, how can they do that with you running all around them?"

"Common sense? COMMON SENSE?!?" (I think she popped a blood vessel or two.)

I mustered my best Mona Lisa smile and said "Yes. Common sense."

She faltered for about a second, and then (while still doing her idiot run) tried to back up into her previous "argument": "Just show me the rule that says I can't run here! I'll stop if you can show it to me!"

"So...You need rules to do the right thing?"

That stunned her for about all of 5 seconds. The penguin's daughter was mum the whole time, probably realizing what fools they have presented themselves to be. But Mama Penguin, being a paragon of wisdom because of her age, pressed on the attack, I'm guessing for her "honor" and "pride".

"Wow, you must know all about the right things!"

"Yes, I do." (With a syrupy smile.)

"What a man you are."

I look at my crotch, and give her an even more infuriating smile. "Yes, I am."

"Basta. There's no rule that says I can't run."

"OK. I guess I should let the management handle this."

I proceeded to the building administrator (luckily they open their office very early) and asked them to intervene, since I felt that with every second I spent with the penguins, my IQ level was slowly being impaired. He asked me to describe the penguins and when I did, everyone in the office looked at each other knowingly and he said, "ay, si Mrs. ________ 'yan..." apparently signaling some kind of internal joke or understanding about the penguins, making me think that this is not the first time that someone has complained about them. 

In 10 minutes, the gym was cleared of all wild animals with no manners.

As I was running, I was suddenly hit by a wave of l'esprit de escalier, or the spirit of the stairway. I began listing the things I should have retorted to Mama Penguin, like:

"Have you considered running for Congress? You'd be a natural fit, they way you cling to legalities to justify all the wrong things you do."

"There's also no sign that says you can't defecate here...can I shoot a video of you doing it?"

"I guess it's true, what they say about short people."

It's amazing to me that whichever gym I go to, there is this particular strain of gym goer: the kind who only thinks of herself, who thinks he owns the gymnasium, who use their phones on machines while others are in line, who think that certain machines and places "belong" to them, who have no concept of the words "communal" or "public spaces", and, even though they know that what they're doing is wrong, will insist on it to protect their "pride", and will even act haughty, defiant, and worst of all, as if they have some kind of moral high ground to do so.

Admit it. You know this person.
(Courtesy of

Who knew kicking out idiots could be this much fun?

1 comment:

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