Waiting for My Real Life to Begin

The life and times of a girl named Swishy.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Gym issues

I'm a friendly girl. I mean, I'm not going to ask the lady in line next to me at the grocery store for her life story or anything, but I'll say hello or smile at people when I walk by. If someone strikes up a conversation while I'm waiting somewhere, I'll play along. I'll ask people questions about themselves. That kind of thing.

But when I go to the gym, I don't want to have a conversation. I just don't. I'm there with a purpose, and that purpose is getting in and out as quickly as possible. "Hello"--that's conversation enough for me. Other examples of acceptable conversation include:

"I'm finished reading this magazine. Would you like it?"
"Are you done with those weights?"
"Do you mind if we change the channel to the Jazz-Warriors game?"
"You have the shiniest, sparkliest eyes I've ever seen!" (Someone really said that to me. Hello, random, right? But it was very nice. Any compliments, no matter how random, are acceptable.)

All other conversations, I could do without. I understand that going to the gym is a very social thing for many people. However, I am not one of those people. I seriously look like crap when I work out. Not like those girls who say that but in reality look all, I don't know, girly. I really do. I wear crappy old T-shirts with holes in them and no makeup and my hair's everywhere. I don't want to win friends and influence people. All I want to do is read my People magazine, listen to my music and try to burn off the chocolate-covered Oreos I just ate.

But people insist on making conversation anyway. First, the borderline annoying kind. Most of the people at the front desk are very nice, like this one lady who totally noticed when I wasn't there for a few days and asked me where I'd been and if everything was OK. Which made me feel a little guilty for not going, but was nice.

But this other woman? She wears stickers on her face, like clown stickers and crap. For real. Which isn't really relevant except to give you a mental image. Anyway, whenever she's there, she either says: "You're late tonight" or "You're early tonight." (Curiously, I'm never "on time.") So then I feel like I have to explain myself. Like, "Yeah, I got home, ate dinner and then got sucked into this America's Next Top Model marathon on VH1. Have you ever seen that show? Every season they have an episode where they do crazy shit to all the girls' hair, like chop it all off or dye it a totally random color or something, and someone cries, and it's, like, high drama. So, yeah, I totally got sucked into it, because I had to see this one girl's meltdown after they hacked off her hair, but then they went to commercial, and by the time it came back, I was all comfy on my couch anyway, and then the phone rang and ..." I don't want to get into all that! I also feel like it's a passive-aggressive dig at the fact that I often show up exactly 45 minutes before close. It all feels very judgmental.

Slightly more annoying: The guy who comes up next to the treadmill or elliptical and asks me about random stuff like auto racing. While I'm running. With headphones on. So then I have to take off the headphones, slow down my pace, and pretend that I care. Like trying to run on the treadmill isn't hard enough.

But then there's the most annoying of all: middle-aged men, in particular, one middle-aged man, who apparently has altered his workout schedule to better fit mine. It's the most maddening thing ever. Every night, he comes up to me and launches into a monologue about one of the following things: baseball, his bitch of an ex-wife, his dog, his boat, his kid or the fact that he irons his T-shirts before he works out in them (seriously). Oh, yeah, and that he plans to go tanning when he's done working out. Every Friday and/or Saturday we have the same conversation:

Him: So what are you doing tonight?
Me: Umm ... you know. Hanging out.
Him: My friends are in this band. It's a cover band. They play everything, you name it. They're really good. I'm gonna go watch them play.
Me: That's good. Have fun!
Him: You should come.
Me: Yeah ... well, you know, I'm sure you'll have a great time, but I kinda have plans.
Him: I'm serious. You should stop by. They're really good.
Me: Yeah ... you know, I don't think I'll be able to.
Him: I'll even buy you a drink.
Me: Um ...
Him (leering grin): We could have a really good time.
Me: Yeah ... thanks, but I just don't think I'll be able to.
Him: I mean it. You really need to come. I'll have a drink waiting for you just in case.

Every time, same exact conversation.

The problem is, I don't know how to get away from him. I won't go back to the weights while he's there because he tries to play personal trainer and "show" me (kind of like how a guy "shows" a girl how to swing a golf club) how to do it better. If I'm on the elliptical or whatever, he'll come up and stand by the machine. Last week, he cornered me in the parking lot. And once he gets me trapped, HE WON'T SHUT UP. A response from me is not required. He just goes on and on and ON and I can't get away and it makes me want to bash his skull in with a 30-pound weight.

So, as if I needed an excuse not to go to the gym, I'm finding myself absolutely dreading going lately just because I DON'T WANT TO HAVE A CONVERSATION! If it's not the tan, creepy dude, it's the front-desk girl. Or whatever. I wear headphones! I stare intently at the pictures of Gwen Stefani and Kingston in US Weekly! I don't know what else to do.

The funny thing is, people usually can't get me to shut up. I suppose that's what they call irony.


At 8:00 AM, Blogger Karen said...

I am so with you on this one. I wish the gym were empty when I was there. I HATE making small talk. It annoys me to no end. I have no advice on this except to somehow offend these people so they leave you alone. Good luck with that. Ugh.

At 8:06 AM, Blogger Kari Lee Townsend said...

Oh man, that goes way beyond being social. He's being creepy and pushy. Not sure what you can do short of just telling him you're not interested. Or just telling him, nothing personal, but you don't want to talk to anyone when you work out, you just want to exercise.

I don't like to talk either. I usually try to catch up on my reading. But people really are blind. Same thing when I'm at one of my kids practices for sports. I'll bring my laptop and write, but people still interrupt, even though I'm typing away. To me that's just rude. Good luck.

At 8:55 AM, Blogger Manic Mom said...

I totally needed my Swishy fix and if you could hear me laughing right now, you'd laugh along with me. Tukey's sleeping so I'm laughing quietly, like that low-hahahaha-but-I-want-to-laugh-louder-cuz-it's-so-dang-funny kinda laugh.


And you are one of the most friendliest people/persons(?) I know, and don't you and I just have so much fun together, making friends everywhere we go--I NEED A SWISHY FIX!

And, your eyes are totally the most beautiful, shiniest, sparkliest, most greenest green eyes I've ever seen on anyone.

Boy, this is an I-LOVE-SWISHY fest!

Anyway, you had me at GYM. xo

At 9:09 AM, Blogger Trish Ryan said...

You're hysterical. That guy is creepy. Here in Cambridge the all-womens' gym charges like $100 more a month than anyplace else, and people pay it to avoid that guy. Ugh!

I was on the treadmill the other day, attempting a sprint, when the older gentleman strolling next to me began to fart. I'm desperate for air, and there's none to be had - honestly Al Gore would've declared our area an environmental disaster. Ugh again!

The good news is, none of this will be a problem once we're both super-rich and have our fancy at-home gyms :)

At 10:17 AM, Blogger cubmommy said...

You should just mention to the guy you have a boyfriend, a very big boyfriend, waitng at home for you so you are not interested.

I hate when people try to talk to me at the gym. I just turn up my music louder and ignore them.

Good luck with the creepy guy. Don't let him keep you from the gym.

At 11:19 AM, Blogger Mike said...

How about going in the morning? I know that getting out of bed early is tough, but the people I've dealt with at the gym before work aren't usually in a chipper mood...they all want to be back in bed, asleep. The gym (ok, my gym) in the morning is all business.

At 11:51 AM, Anonymous Kristabella said...

Oh man, this is my nightmare! I've been lucky enough to avoid those people in the gym. But I would be the EXACT same if creepy guy came up to me.

I think I have a real bitchy face when I work out. Because I'm obviously not happy to be there. I like to think this turns off potential creepy guys/people.

If someone has headphones on, don't talk to them. Unwritten rule. This would be enough for me not to go to the gym. So kudos to you for keeping it up!

At 12:23 PM, Blogger Beth said...

he is creepy! REALLY creepy. You are going to have go Swishy on his ass and tell him to get lost!!

But come on, at least he has good taste, right? ;)

and Kingston has to be THE cutest little guy in Hollywood!!!!

At 2:49 PM, Blogger Andie said...

go get yourself one of those big fat cubic zirconia rings and put it on your ring finger. at least that way the creepy dude will get the hint!

That would be all the reason I needed to not go to the gym!

At 2:56 PM, Blogger Frannie Farmer said...

Since I don't go to the gym - I never get that sort of fabulous experience ... I can only imagine how ticked I would be though. If I were anywhere wtihout children the last thing I would want to do is chit-chat about crap I don't really care about.
Could you have one of the personal trainers at the gym tell him to bug off? Just a thought.

At 4:12 PM, Blogger Swishy said...

THANK YOU! I'm like, I'm not anti-social, I'm not rude, I just want to have 45 minutes where I don't have to talk to anyone!

OK, I have a gym farter too. He's this old guy who always ends up on the elliptical by me and he lets them rip like you would not believe. He also burps, loudly. Like, full-on "brrrrrrrrrp" belches.

(P.S. Manic, I KNOW how you like the gym. Hahahahaha.)

At 4:56 PM, Blogger Jess Riley said...

Oh, that gym guy sounds like a grade A Creep!! This really makes me not miss the gym. But it also made me laugh.

At 5:30 PM, Blogger Senor Beavis said...

One of my old swim coaches once said, "If you can talk between sets, it means you're not working hard enough."

Does he think he knows you? Does he know your name? Wow, there are very few moments I can thank my lucky stars that I'm ugly, but I think you just gave me one. Thanks! :)

At 5:59 PM, Blogger Senor Beavis said...

You know who could totally solve this problem for you? JESSIE SPANO!


At 11:34 PM, Blogger Golightly said...

A-men! There are 2 places where strangers should not speak to you: the gym and airplanes!

At 2:32 PM, Blogger flea said...

totally agree, they should have a sign up stating "no talking allowed" like in a libary or something, it's just akward and so wrong...

perhaps you should just mouth something to him and let on you have permanent laringitis (i apologize for the spelling..), just a thought

At 11:40 PM, Blogger Manic Mom said...

OMG! I can't believe you said that! Is nothing sacred girlfriend?!?!?!

You know what I'm talkin' about!

At 11:57 PM, Blogger Swishy said...

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha HA HA HA!

At 12:30 AM, Blogger XYZinn said...

So why don't people know "gym etiquette." I just dont' get that. If you are on the treadmill and listening to your ipod, it means you don't want to talk to anyone. I hate when people talk to me at the gym (unless it was in my single days when the cute worker guy would strike up a conversation). Hey Swishy, remember Gold's gym by those apartments. That was such a joke...as in how people would go there to "work out" but instead try to hook up.

At 12:33 AM, Blogger Swishy said...

Dude! Do you remember my roommates Liz and Kari? They wouldn't even WORK OUT. They would go there, but then they would come home totally not sweaty, not a hair out of place, but always talking about the guy they met. I was like, you guys are crazy.

At 1:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had a guy that did this to me at the park where I used to run every saturday AM. He wore very short shorts and was 20 years older than me. I tried to ditch him by going in the restroom and coming out the other side... he was waiting by the back door!

A little freaky to be followed around by strange man when you're running on wooded trails. Fastest I ever ran that course though!

I agree... drop the hint about a boyfriend, or better yet, a husband. Or get bitchy, you only have to do it once!

At 9:41 AM, Anonymous Aditya said...

Only if i could afford a personal gym.....!
Empty Gym = Heavenly!


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