The closest thing I have to palimony from my first (and thus far, only) marriage is something resembling a lifetime membership to one of Las Vegas’ big chain health clubs. On and off throughout the years I’ve been steadily a gym-goer, though my focus in the last few years has shifted from trying to add weight to trying to lose it (thanks 30s!). It’s hard to balance the physical stuff with the massive, desk-bound workload I tend to carry, but I prefer a) not to be a fat-ass and b) not to die of a heart attack before 40, so I try to make cardio and weight runs at least a few times a week.
Of course, while public gym membership has its benefits — variety of equipment, unspoken peer pressure motivation, watching guilty pleasures on TV without anyone knowing — it definitely has its drawbacks as well. Anyone who knows me should be well aware my tolerance for pet peeves is low. And if there’s one place where those pet peeves abound, it’s the gym. So I’m going to review, in no particular order, my top five gym annoyances. Maybe getting this out there will help me from crowning someone with a barbell one day.*
- People who drop weights – It’s something that has annoyed enough people that the gym actually posts a sign that says “DO NOT DROP WEIGHTS.” But people do it all the time. Usually men. Usually not using a lot of weight. To compensate for their lack of strength, they toss down the pulley or free weight, causing a loud clatter, usually accompanied by a grunt, all to prove their machismo. Of course, not only is it rude and annoying, it’s also counter-productive to a good workout, as most any reasonable adult can tell you, you get the most benefit from a rep as you slowly set weights down.
- People using the elevator instead of the stairs - If you are in a wheelchair, have knee problems or are attached to an oxygen tank, this doesn’t apply to you. But if you’re one of those people I just saw come off a treadmill after an hour and then you’re standing waiting for the elevator TO GO DOWN, you missed the point.
- The old guy strutting naked in the locker room – Ladies, do you have this same problem? Does it seem like there’s always some saggy, old person walking around butt naked in the locker room, drying off herself while flashing her girly bits for all the world to see? No? Well, f*ck, because there sure is that guy in the men’s locker room all the time. Look, pal, I don’t know how things were done back during the Great Depression or The Big One or whatever the hell, but here in my locker room in 2009, you at least have the courtesy of wrapping a towel around you as you strut from the shower to the locker. No one needs to see your saggy nutsack, grandpa.
- Vending machine prices - It’s like being trapped at the airport and forced to pay exhorbitant prices should you, perish the thought, forget to bring your own water or beverage. $3 for the same Vitamin Water I can get around the corner at Smith’s for 50 cents? Eff you.
- Cellular phone usage - To be fair, I guess not everyone comes to the gym to get away and spend some quality “me” time like I do. When I work out, I shut out the world, plug in my iPod (or sometimes, watch the tube while doing cardio), and focus on improving my body while taking a mental holiday from work, social media, etc. And for those of you with separation anxiety or needy family, I understand the need to have a cell phone on your person. But you people texting, twittering or even chatting on the phone while lazily lounging on the stepper or blocking those of us with real dedication while you chill on a weight machine? I hope you get accosted by saggy balls guy.
* Probably not.