Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Life is not the way its suppose to be, it’s the way it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference.

I’ve been going to the gym for about six and half months now, and I’ve found one of the most boring things you could do is the elliptical machine. I do it, because honestly, I need a good bought of cardio if I want to lose weight. And being a larger fellow, I found it’s easiest on the knees. But I digress. I’m stuck on the torture device for about a half hour at a time, with nothing to really stare it. Well, I guess they have multitudes of TVs on different stations to mesmerize you, but you need a set of headphones to actually listen to them. I’m not a fan of having something covering my ears like that when I’m exercising.
So, at some point, I’ve come to enjoy a little something I call Gym Watching. I find it rather a rather interesting implement of observation. If you go to a certain place long enough and just watch your surroundings, like I have with the gym, you start to recognize the people who come and go on a regular bases, who they come in with, what they like to work out on, and a few of their idiosyncrasies. I think it’s fascinating to see how people create their own little bubbles to make themselves comfortable amidst strangers. I do realize that one stares at someone to long, it can be determined as rather creepy and weird, so I don’t observe for any long durations.
But I’ve come to find out that peoples personal little bubble fields extend only so far. For a few weeks, I tried to randomize which elliptical machine I used. I found that, unless it’s really busy and they don’t have a choice, when multiple people use the same type of exercise machine, they usually place themselves on every other machine to as far apart as they can get. I don’t know if it’s an ingrained sense of don’t talk to strangers that your parents whipped into you when you were young, or that people have a natural deep dark fear of that unknown stranger at the gym.
Don’t get me wrong. People at the gym, more often than not, are really quite nice and courteous. I have more than once witnessed people help others. There are the occasional gym rat douches that are just trying way too hard, but that’s not the norm. I’m just noticing that in large groups, people revert to an inner caution, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But that shouldn’t stop you from letting go.


bluefish said...

I've noticed the same thing in college classrooms. On the first day, students invariably sit in every other chair, even when they know that every chair is going to be filled. I do think it's out of a sense of courtesy--we don't want to seem like we're invading other peoples' personal space.

When you put monkeys into a tight space, they will space themselves out almost exactly evenly, no matter how much actual space there is between them. Also, they'll look up, which might explain why humans watch the numbers in an elevator. Food for thought?

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