I went to the Y this morning—do I have to confess I haven't been very disciplined about that, or can you just assume?
There were the usual people there who I don't know but recognize as being regulars, and then there was a man I had never seen before. He had a smart-ass face and red hair, and he carried a weight-lifter's belt around with him like he was a serious weight lifter. The funny thing is, his waist line didn't really accommodate that belt, not like the waist line of men who wear those things for a purpose. Maybe that's why he carried it instead of trying to cinch it around his mid-section radial.
So, this man, this peacock, settled in on the leg press machine and moved the pin way down so he was pushing lots of weight. And he huffed and puffed and pushed and then let it drop. You really aren't supposed to do that because you could break the weights. Plus, it's startling to people around you who jump when they hear the sound of weights being slammed against each other. Then the guy would lean back, put his arms behind his head, close his eyes and rest.
Now, I'm no exercise expert, but everything I've read suggests you need maybe 30 seconds of rest between sets, not fives minutes of meditation. This display went on for a while as I used other machines waiting my turn on the leg press. I was patient, although annoyed, but when the man got up to get a drink of water and didn't wipe his accumulated sweat off the machine, I decided to pass. The thing was ruined for me.
He trashed the leg lift machine, too. I noticed another woman had found similar machines on the other side of the room so as not to have to deal with the peacock who left traces of himself on everything.
I'm not the type to confront a person like that, not even to politely ask that he wash the machine with the disinfectant spray, but if I were, I would have told him that the Y, especially in the morning when the only people there are old men and middle-aged women, is not the place to strut. It is especially not the place to strut when your tail feathers are half plucked and looking a little dodgy—they don't make that great of an impression to begin with, and when you throw in obnoxious and selfish machine-hogging behavior, you don't add shine to your plumage. You just make a spectacle of yourself, and you make people wish you had joined the fitness center on the other side of town instead of the Y where we all go just to keep our hearts ticking and to stave off things like osteoporosis and Alzheimer's and the ravages of poor circulation.
The fitness room isn't very glamorous when you put it in those terms. But I'm hoping that by taking the desire for showmanship out of the community's exercise arena, maybe we'll actually get some work done. And maybe we'll all be less focused on what other people think of us when we should just be trying to improve our health.