Thursday, February 19, 2009

do I LOOK like a people person?

I was at the gym the other night (the only thing keeping me sane right now) for the first time in a few days as I was pretty sick last weekend and i was enjoying myself. It was quite weird, I had expected it to be horrible, but evidently some degree of fitness had stuck and I was doing more than usual without feeling too tired.

I go at roughly the same time most days and so I've got to know the people who do the same. I don't know too much about them except the names I've allocated to them (The BFFs, old headband guy, rugby guy who looks like a certain cricket player but not, cool dreadlocks guy, the bodybuilder, the entourage, momkins and Tompkins and so on) but as a rule we don't try to get to know each other. I wear my headphones in the universal signal of "Leave me alone!" and most people get the message. I have nursing some new shiny blisters on my palms from the rowing machine so I went off to the circuit to finish up when along came little yellow t-shirt guy. He went straight to the middle of the circuit while I was about a third of the way through, which annoyed me but I ignored it.

Then he put WAAAAY too many weights on a machine, strained to lift the bar and let them clank back down- so loudly that I heard it clearly over my music. He repeated this several times until I looked up in confusion. He looked back and smiled and I smiled noncommittally and looked away. He started thumping and clanging weights again and I looked up in annoyance to find him staring again. I tried a sympathetic smile in the hope that it would make him go away. Instead he started talking to me.

I shrugged- the universal signal for "You moron I have headphones in and can't hear you and would gesticulate wildly but I'm currently moving weights around in a smooth and controlled manner as is says on the instruction board!" but he just kept talking. I shrugged again. Finally I pulled out one of the earphones and said
"how's gym going for you today?"

You have GOT to be kidding me.

Finally after raising an eyebrow which made him repeat himself twice I decided on the polite route in the hope that it would make him leave me alone.
"It's OK, I'm having a good session thanks." he carried on chattering away and I left one ear open as if I was listening when actually I was just sending exasperated looks to Momkins who happened to be in the area, she nodded sympathetically and shrugged in the "rather you than me" gesture. Eventually I caught something vaguely interesting and asked him to repeat himself.

"I said I'm gymming to hard and you aren't working out hard enough!"
"Look at me, I'm all sweaty, you aren't!" I sighed.
"Well I'm wearing black, it's not exactly going to show up, now is it?" I didn't mention that his oh-so clingy polyester outfit was totally not breathable and that I was wearing a Nike magic-dry shirt, but I figured why extend a conversation when I was already adjusting my routine around him as he was still on his first machine and still unable to move the small scrap-yard's worth of weights he'd chosen. He smiles
"I'll bear that in mind... hmmm... wear dark colours..."

I moved to the weird oblique sit-up-but-not station (I'm sure it has a name) and the unthinkable happened. He asked me what I did and all about random stuff. When he asked if I cut up dead frogs I told him that I worked on lizards, which lead to him telling me all about how awesome anacondas are. I'm sure buddy. Moving on. When he asked what year I said "PhD" as shortly as possible. this guy was really not taking a hint!
"Oh! What's your thesis on?"
"Oh really?" yes really, it's only the third time I've mentioned them. "Wow, not many girls like lizards."
"Well I do, and my friends are learning to like them too." at this he nodded seriously
"I bet you have a lot of friends!"
And no folks, don't think of this as me, with the sarcasm behind every second sentence - he was being sincere. I freaked out.

Well, freaked out in that I shrugged, replaced my earphones and turned to face the other way which is usual on that machine-thingy, so I wasn't being entirely rude).

Does anyone have any bright ideas on how I can get people to leave me alone at the gym? they would be greatly appreciated (ad not showering aLa Shield ads is totally out of the question)!


Athena said...

The only times I ever had to deal with this was on the cardio equipment, and I only used this equipment at 5 'clock in the morning, which is when I was 'multitasking' by jogging / cycling / stepping while watching my favourite screen presence, Anderson Cooper, on the TV screen. And if a guy still interrupted me, I would just start commenting to them about how blue Anderson's eyes were or how much I liked his smile and I would then innocently ask what they thought of Anderson, and that would freak them out enough to leave me alone for a VERY long time - it seems straight men don't like oogling other men, especially in the gym, and particularly when asked by a girl they are trying to chat up (strange that ;) )... So maybe give that a try? Good luck with the crazy gym-goers!

PS - I am so coming around to lizards - they are actually pretty cute, and I quite enjoy watching them sunning themselves on the rocks or scuttling around :)

Kath Lockett said...

I always found that 'morning breath' worked a treat. As in get up, get dressed and don't clean your teeth. One annoyed exhalation later and he'll be dust.

Thomas said...

Wowo that's pretty lame, the only thing I can suggest is being (or appearing) bigger than the guy that's trying to chat to you - so hit those weights:)

SuvvyGirl said...

Just simply tell them they're throwing off your groove. :)

Anonymous said...

I would have thought Lizards would have worked. We have bunches here. Most are terrified of them. I love them and especially the little ones that squeak at night.

Maybe squeaking like a Lizard would work.

(I'm off to get a big ol'round hair brush!)

sarah said...

thats a great story :)

erm... what would i do... what would i do... i would probably just do the same thing. put my ipod in, avoid eye contact and not reply to him