Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Will you just GO AWAY!!

I don’t know if it’s a sign of getting older (probably is – everything else seems to be…), but the amount of personal space I require seems to increase as the years go by.  Maybe I have always been like this, but I feel that I am getting more and more intolerant of people encroaching on MY space.  The alternative, and a more likely possibility, I feel, is that people are just getting ruder, and feel more inclined to step into other people’s space and just, generally, try to take up far more than their fair share of personal space.  

This is particularly prevalent in the gym.  Not that I go as often as I should, but I try to go at least once a week at lunchtime, which appears to be the quietest time (in terms of number of people rather than volume of the blasted racket they play…). My first stop is the treadmill, where I do a 15 minute jog/fast walk whilst watching Loose Women.  I have a strategy for choosing my treadmill out of the bank of 15 or so:  If there is no-one on one of the ends, and no-one on the one next to the end, it’s a no-brainer, and I go for the end one.  If not, I will try to pick the one which has no-one either side.  Should this not be possible, I will choose the one where I will be next to a woman rather than a man, as there is less chance of grunting noises punctuating the thudding sound of ginormous feet smacking the treadmill with 15 stones of force (less chance, but no guarantee…).  On a REALLY good day, there is pretty well no-one using the treadmills, and I happily (!) jump on to the end spot for my 15 minutes.  Well, this contented feeling doesn’t last!  What happens next defies all reason and laws of probability.  If I was young, fit and attractive, I might be able to understand why the treadmill right next to me is ALWAYS the one that is chosen by the next man coming for his run.  Women don’t do it!  They, like me, will walk to the far end and chose a treadmill with some space around them.  Not men – oh no!  They obviously have the need to be as close as they possibly can to another body – perhaps they are reverting back to childhood, and it’s a sub-conscious mother/son thing.   [WARNING - Digression coming up] They do it on the train too – whilst the majority of ladies sit with their thighs and knees welded together, trying as hard as possible to take up the minimum of space, the same cannot be said of most men!  They squash their large backsides and thighs into the small seat next to you and open their legs W—I—D—E!!!  Whilst you shrivel to the far corner of your seat, pressing your thighs even closer together, matey boy presses his copious mounds of thigh flesh against your thighs.  You suppress feelings of revulsion and try to read your book whilst balancing on one thigh and leaning at an uncomfortable angle.  Meanwhile matey boy has opened his broadsheet paper right across his lap and yours.  He noisily flicks through a few pages before lolling back, eye’s closed, tongue protruding, and snoring like a wart hog with a bad cold. [End of digression].

Back to the treadmill!  WHY do men get on the treadmill next to me when there are 14 other empty ones?  I have no idea!  I just know, that I find it EXTREMELY frustrating!  Why can they not just £$*& OFF to a treadmill a bit further away!  I often contemplating breaking wind very loudly to see if that will have the desired effect.  I would say that it’s my manners that stop me, but it’s actually the worry that it might be so loud that EVERYONE in the gym hears.  I try to sneak out a sneaky silent one in the hope that Puffing Billy next door will notice, but he obviously has no sense of smell as well as being a social Neanderthal.   I finish my treadmill workout and move to the cross trainer where, once again, I go through the same routine and experiences as the treadmill.  I finally move over to the free weight area.  Now there are two free weight areas in our gym – one which contains all the great big weights and bars that all the big macho men use, as well as some handheld weights.  The other area, which is where I use, has hand weights, kettle bells, medicine balls, gym balls, light bar weights, a couple of steps, etc.  Sometimes I just randomly pick up a few weights and wave them around a bit and other times, such as today, I try to follow a more structured routine using an app on my iPhone that shows me what to do and logs my progress.  Unfortunately there are usually at least two men exercising in the area when I go there, taking over an area in which twelve ladies could comfortably exercise and forcing me to try and exercise in about 1 meter square space on the corner of the matting.  Today, however, there was no-one there!  Hoorah!  I put down my water bottle, my headphones, my iPhone and my towel on a handily placed box and started to pick up some dumb bells.  I must have started to give off some sort of irresistible smell, because within SECONDS, a man came rushing over and started to drag one of the benches across the floor until he was almost pressed up against me!  He picked up one of the bar weights and took it back to his bench, where he started pushing it up and down and grunting in a most unattractive way (he probably thought it was a mating call!).  I couldn't even get to my phone and water without having to keep walking around him.  I pointedly walked all...the...way... around his grunting form in order to pick up my bits and pieces, but he was oblivious!  I guess I just have to face it - I must be IRRESISTIBLE!!