Saturday, May 14, 2011

National Douchebg Day

194.6 lbs. Okay, I’m ready to make like the Tasmanian Devil and swallow dynamite.

Today’s blog post is dedicated to the denizens of L.A. and those who indulge their utter self-absorption even in shared spaces. CROWDED shared spaces.

Let me explain the concept of a “license”, especially as it concerns property law, and in this instance, gym memberships (which are licenses): “The permission granted by competent authority to exercise a certain privilege that, without such authorization, would constitute an illegal act.”  

So, Campers, this is not ownership. This is permission to use something.

We’re on a roll, let’s get another definition. Say, “courtesy”: The showing of politeness in one's attitude and behavior toward others.”

What the hell, 3’s a magic number (School House Rock told me so). Totally at random, I’ll take, hmmm, how about “respect”:  3 a: high or special regard : esteem b: the quality or state of being esteemed cplural: expressions of high or special regard or deference <paid our respects.”

Suffice to say, I experienced use (and abuse) of the premises above and beyond the license granted, a notable absence of courtesy and certainly a dearth of respect for others.

Nobody told me that today was Day of the Douchebag at the gym. I guess a female douchebag would be a hose bag and I encountered one of them, too.

I’m not even talking about the odorous, sweating Grunt Brothers, although they were out in force. For the record, Boys, no damage is done to your manhood by applying soap, water and deodorant. In fact, the girls you’re trying to hit on, would probably not run away with eyes watering if you should do so. New rule: if your belly is bigger than your chest and shoulders, you are ineligible for wife beaters with tiny little straps. This is not an episode of “Cops.” And Guys, dropping the weights is not manly. It’s selfish and bone-headed, particularly since they’re NOT YOUR WEIGHTS!!!! You want to damage your own property and treat it like crap, buy a set, take ‘em home and have at it. However, the contents of the gym belong to the proprietors of the gym (or the finance company, in some cases). Other people use the weights, machines, towels, assorted mats and equipment, too. And, according to TWO damned good personal trainers, if you’re dropping or clunking the weights, you are not in control of them and are in danger of harming yourself with the excess weight. If you’re not Vasiliy Alexeyev with 190 kg (Legendary super heavy weight lifter of the Soviet Union’s Olympic Team. Gold medals in 1972 and 1976 Summer Olympics and a pantsload at other competitions. 80 world records), dropping the weight is not acceptable.

Douchebag #1 hopped onto the elliptical next to me and gave me the “Fat Bitch” stink eye when he hopped off, 5 minutes later. Dear Person Who Presumably Has Male Genitalia Although Your Actions Are Hardly Those of an Adult Male (notice I didn’t say “mature”): that 5 minutes of Level 10 resistance pounding you think made you so superior to me was something I did 5 times during the course of my 1 hour workout that was set to equal resistance. And I hit the weight machines afterwards. If you feel you need to best a middle-aged woman to feel good about yourself, you should probably see a therapist about that self-esteem issue. I’m only competing with my previous hour on the elliptical and yes, I outdid Wednesday’s workout. I am building endurance.

Douchebag #2, enter and sign in, please: I don’t think it comes as a news flash to anyone that Saturday morning at a gym, particularly a national franchise, is very busy.  One guy was dividing his time between two of the more popular machines (there aren’t duplicates or similar machines: obliques and low back) and while he was doing a set on one, he had a towel draped over the other to “reserve” it. I don’t have kids. If I did, they’d be about this guy’s age. I have to question a lot of the parents of my generation: why in hell didn’t you teach your kids how to share? Or to be courteous or polite? Was it because your parents hammered the point home so hard that you decided “I’m not doing that to my kids.” My parents were so focused on teaching sharing, honesty and courtesy that the most memorable beating I ever took was over a bag of potato chips that I didn’t want to share. My parents had a different view on the subject, hence the ferocious backhand to my face that bounced me off the refrigerator. I got the point. My father was fond of calling me a “dog in the manger” (read your Aesop’s) when I didn’t want to share. Without Scotty and  a Heisenberg Compensator, you cannot be in two places at once and it is RUDE to hog equipment in a shared facility.

Finally, today’s big winner, Douchebag #3, or more accurately, Hosebag #1: After I was done with the tough stuff. I figured I had earned a session in the steam room. I had no sooner gotten in and settled in a corner than the Hosebag came in and dumped a bottle of peppermint oil on the steam mechanism. Why is this a douche move? Simple: THIS IS A SHARED SPACE, NOT YOUR HOME. NOT EVERYBODY IN A SHARED SPACE WANTS OR CAN TOLERATE A ROOMFUL OF OIL-INFUSED STEAM. My eyes were burning. Had she elected to dump lavender oil rather than peppermint, I would have been in trouble because I have a lavender allergy (as do a lot of people, according to various sources). I called her on it and got a “Whatever, it’s only peppermint oil. Don’t you tell me what to do.” What does she care? Somebody slips in the oil and injures himself, it’s on the club. The steam mechanism is damaged and the room is unavailable for days, the club pays for the repairs. Where, oh where is the mechanism in this broad’s head that says, “You know, this isn’t a good idea”? Why didn’t the wolves who raised her teach her  what is and what is not acceptable behavior? She challenged me to tell the manager and I did. I didn’t even have to tell them the issue because they could smell the peppermint oil on me.

And afterwards, I had another run-in with the quasi-picketers outside of Fresh & Easy.  They were alternating between harassing shoppers and yakking about some bar they’d been to the night before. As one approached, I held up a hand and barked, “DON’T!” He backed off and called me a bitch (I heard a lot of that today, actually).

You know, I’m a kind person on the whole. I have learned to work and play well with others. Along with the nosedive that spelling, grammar and intellectual curiosity have taken over the past few years, courtesy and respect have been added to the endangered species list as well. The international borders aren’t the only ones in need of reinforcement; the personal boundaries that make for a calm, well-ordered society have been ground practically out of existence by the self-absorbed and inappropriately competitive. The generation above mine raised us with notions of fair play, personal responsibility and awareness and respect (until proven unearned) to those around us as well as respect of self (well, there were some gaps in my upbringing). There were just certain things you didn’t do. With few exceptions, this degree of personal restraint and appropriate community behavior has gone by the wayside.

You know, up until the Hosebag in the steam room, it had been a great day. Like I said, I had an endurance breakthrough with “cardio blasting”: I was able to sustain a faster pace for 6 minutes (high resistance) on the elliptical and repeated this at least twice during the hour workout (During each segment of 10 minutes, I would perform one of these blasts. Last week, they were one and one half to two minutes. Today, the shortest was three and a half). With the weights, I was able to focus and truly isolate the muscles I wanted to work, including the abdominals and obliques which are my weakest muscles. I even made THEM work and contract at my will. There was a guy walking around with a great T shirt that said, “Billionaire in Training” and another guy with a T shirt of Calvin and Hobbes as Han Solo and Chewbacca.

Here endeth the lesson.

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