There's a certain element of comraderie at the gym. Maybe it's the whole getting-sweaty-together thing...or the unspoken "Atta-boys" for pushing oneself and doing something good for one's body. Or maybe it's just that we all show up at generally the same time on the same days and after enough time of doing that we sorta half-way know one another. Oh, not that we've exchanged names or anything...well, at least not on my part, but still I *know* them.
Like the guy who chews gum. He's always going to turn the television on to the Price Is Right and turn the volume up loud...then leave without wiping down his machine. Ewww! Or the gray-haired guy who likes the treadmill at the end. He asked one day if he could turn the television off, saying his head would explode if he had to listen to The View. Fine by me; that's why I have my music and headphones and an exploding head sounded like a messy situation. We have an understanding now: Last one in turns off any TV the first one is enduring when someone else finished their machine and left it on.
Then there's the Marine. Well, technically he's an ex-Marine since he's past retirement age but from his haircut to the bumper sticker on his car, he's still Marine through and through. Not that there's anything wrong with that; he just wears it proudly. He's a bit of an odd duck with his multiple sweat bands on his head and oversized headphones on his ears. I think they must have come from a stereo set he bought in the 80's. As he does his workout on both the eliptical and the treadmill, he keeps his head down and his eye closed, turning his head from side to side with each step. If I did that, I'd be so dizzy I'd fall off the machine after the first few minutes...but apparently it works for him.
When he walks into the cardio room, he immediately puts that military training to work, scanning the recesses between the treadmills and eliptical machines for the single small fan alloted to the cardio room. It's on a short little stand so it takes keen eyes to spot it if many of the machines are occupied but he's good at recon. And when his search portion of his mission is successful, he bulldozes his way between the machines for the recovery part without so much as an excuse me to those on them. His prize captured, he then hoists overhead and takes back to his base of operation. Woe be it to anyone daring to be using it at the time for they are the enemy. Like a skilled marksman, he fires a constant barrage of dirty looks at the offender until the fan is surrendered. I know; I've been that offender.
I don't use the fan all that often but there are times it feels pretty darn good...especially since I've already done yoga and strength class before hitting the treadmill. I'm hot before I start. And sometimes the person who was on the treadmill before me was using the fan and just left it on. If the universe wants me to have an extra burst of cool air, who am I to argue?
The first few times I got the Marine death-stare, I just ignored him, keeping my short little legs churning on towards the four-mile mark. And when I got there, I told him I was finished with the fan...to which he replied with some low mutterings. I'm not exactly sure what he was saying but none of it sounded like thank you. And one time I offered up the fan when he first walked in the cardio room, even though I still had most of a mile to go. I'd finished the hardest part of my workout and figured I could do the rest without the fan. That offer did garner a somewhat begrudged thank you but after he set up the fan at his machine, he left the room and spent the next fifteen minutes socializing in the weight room. Hrmpf, I thought, I could have finished my workout *with* the fan if I'd have known he was going to do that!
Then a funny thing happened...Mr. Marine became my new best friend. Suddenly he wanted to talk to me about the shoes I was wearing and the merits of Treadmill #4 vs. Treadmill #5. Mr. Gumpypants had done an about-face. In fact, he even brought his fan over and set it up to blow on me while he went out to work in the weight room...unsolicited, I might add. He smiles and wave at me in the mirror when he comes in the room now and wishes me a good day when I leave before him.
Why the change in attitude I have no idea. And before you go concluding he's somehow making moves on me, think again...his wife usually comes to the gym with him. No, it's either a case of runner's high (assuming you can attain that walking on a treadmill) or that being nice to people really does pay off in the end. Whatever the reason, the new and improved Marine is much easier to be around. Now to figure out how to get Mr. Gum-Chewer to wipe his sweat off his machine when he finishes.