posted on July 19, 2010 09:51
I don’t get engrossed in a lot of chit-chat at the gym. Usually I’m pretty business-like, focused on getting in some quality cardio, strengths-training and flexibility exercises during the precious window I carve out.
What it entertaining, though, is to notice people’s behaviors.
There’s the guy who is lifting way too much weight and straining his back in all kind of funky positions. There’s the lady who is pumping the tiny dumbbells back and forth way too fast. The dudes who stand—or sit—around gabbing for about 13 minutes in between reps. The people who wear the exact same outfits every single time—not a stitch of difference. And who can forget the woman who talks incessantly on her cell phone while walking on the treadmill?
And then I wonder what people are thinking about me. And how much neither of us really knows the other.
I’m the guy who always has his nose in a book. Am I the reading snob? I wear running shorts—not quite Richard Simmons-esque, but they definitely end above the knee. Am I the legs guy? I spend 15 minutes on the mat doing a cool-down stretch with core-impacting exercises. Am I the stretch man?
I usually join a gym and stick with it until we move to another city. It’s interesting how I can work out in the same small free weights room with people for years and years and never get to know them. I can only speculate about them for a few fleeting seconds while multitasking between a book, a recumbent bike and a set of dumbbells. I might pass them in the store or somewhere else, and there’s this awkward recognition but no true knowing.
Working out can often feel like a task, even thought I enjoy it and it has countless benefits. Life, perhaps, is learning to stop and say hello to people in the midst of all the tasks. And to gradually recognize that the tasks are merely supposed to set the context for going deeper with people in general.