So I was at the gym today (oh don’t look so surprised) because I’ve instituted a new workout routine. Yes, Gilmo’s gotten a little pudgy around the edges, so I figured it was time to get back in shape. Since it’s Thursday that means it was arms day. So at 3 0’clock I grabbed my stuff and headed to the Rec Center, went upstairs and picked out my favorite rowing machine. Everything was going fine, I grabbed a swig of water and just went HAM. Overall I can’t complain, my arms were a little sore from the last arm day, but I had a nice view of the Atlanta skyline so it was all good. But as I was finished up, and got ready for my warm-down lap, some guy just had to come over and start talking to me.
So I said to myself, “Ugh alright fine, I guess I was due for another awkward conversation anyways.” Ordinarily I wouldn’t have cared, I’ve braved plenty of weird encounters before (as evidenced by my blog), but this guy just had to go an criticize my form. From that moment on it was just a matter of containing my raw hatred for this guy’s very existence. Now I could stop here, but it gets better because after explaining how awful my form was and how it was going to destroy my back he then went on to say (and I’m paraphrasing here), “yeah I’m on the rowing team, so I know what I’m talking about”. WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY!?
Excuse me fine sir, but I have been rowing my entire life! I was kayaking before I could walk! * I single handedly brought my entire high school rowing team from worst to slightly better than worst! Now I have been using this technique for years, so either everything your saying is wrong or I just have a really strong back.
Now I respect what it is you’re trying to do, but why don’t you go and crawl back inside whatever self-afirming hole it is that you crawled out of! I don’t want to see, talk, or even hear of you ever again. So please take you hello kitty water bottle and leave.
Whew, ok I need to take a breath. I should mention that I didn’t actually say any of that, instead I just nodded my head, responded to everything semi-sarcastically, and tried to tell him to piss-off in the most polite way possible. But why was it that I got so angry at him, well because he was treating me like a newbie, and telling me what to do. Here was this scrawny little kid, probably a freshman of the look of him talking to me, a veteran rower, like I was a little kid trying to figure out how to throw a baseball. Now before I continue bashing this kid I should say he did the right thing. He was genuinely worried that I was going to hurt myself and so he said something. I should also say that he very may be right, the setup of that particular machine is very different from what I’m used to (what with it not being a boat and all). And so I commend him for doing the right thing and saying something, but that doesn’t make me any less angry.
There are two reasons why this was a dumb idea, one is systemic, the other is personal. The first reason is that when you approach someone like that you naturally make a few assumptions. You assume that this person has no idea what they are doing and/or is helpless. You assume that you know better then them. And you are in a better position to judge them. To which I say, go suck a duck, because in all three instances you my good friend are wrong, and how dare you. It’s incredibly condescending, I don’t want to be patronized so that you can go pat yourself on the back for being a good person. Sorry I know my body better than you and I’m not going to be lectured to by a little punk. Yes I recognized that the instructions for the machine seemed to indicate you weren’t supposed to lean back, but I ignored them in lieu of what I know about rowing.
Like I said the second reason is personal. I do things on my own, that’s just how it is. If I want help, I will seek it out, however I do not however accept unsolicited help. If I hurt my back, good, now I know what I’m doing is wrong, I will make mistakes, I will learn from them, and I and I alone will accept the consequences. When I go to exercise, it’s alone time, I am at peace with my thoughts, it’s almost serene, but here you are barging into my space, telling me what to do, acting like I’m a newbie, and going after a point of personal pride (my rowing ability). You have just crossed three lines that I don’t take lightly, so excuse me if I seem overly combative, but I am currently calculating the force required to propel my fist through your face.
Who that was a long post. Well if you want to read more stuff like this then you’re in the right place, because it’s August Month of Madness bringing you a new article everyday of the month! But if you aren’t satisfied just reading about the stuff I do then you can contribute! Send you’re comments, questions, concerns, suggestions, and errant dog photos to GilmosWorld@gmail.com! We hold a special place in our hearts (and coincidentally our spleen) for our contributors.