I was at the gym this morning suffering through yet another date with the elliptical machine. As I pounded away, I watched people in the row in front of me vie for a piece of the treadmill action. In my gym, as in most, there are strict rules about usage of popular things like treadmills, elliptical machines, etc., and those rules are there for a reason. It’s because people (mostly) suck.
Admit it. If left to our own devices, we are often totally selfish and self-absorbed. Thus, there signs posted on each machine, signs in front of each machine and signs on practically every possible spot throughout the gym, reminding people that there’s a 30 minute time limit, especially when others are waiting, so they should get on, get going and then get off.
So there I was, watching impatient people mill about, awaiting a turn on their particular torture machine of choice, anxious to begin their year of living the fit life. And I watched others who were apparently oblivious to the rules, to the people waiting or to anything or anyone but themselves, and their apparent fitness needs. I wondered if there was a particular level of fatness that made people think they were more entitled to additional time that someone else might be. But then, as my scientific observation continued, I saw even skinny people hogging treadmill time, so I realized it wasn’t necessarily the fatness factor at work but, instead, just plain selfishness.
Here’s the thing. This time of year, we’re ALL fat. Or at least we think we are. We’re focused on the future, anxious to get a new start and trying to come out of the gate strong. And that dedication – on the part of anyone trying to make a fresh start, I dunno, it just seems as if it’s only right that it should be respected. By all of us. I mean, for Pete’s sake, none of us want to end up looking like this poor woman, now do we?
So as we all begin the new year focused on making our butts tighter and our waistlines smaller, not to mention all the goals unrelated to fitness, but just to life in general, I’m wondering if it’s not also possible for us to focus on being kind and generous to our fellow friends. Whether they be fat friends or skinny ones. Or maybe even focusing on being kind and generous to others just on general principle. Even when we’re not at the gym. Wouldn’t that be cool?
Call me ridiculously optimistic, but I’m hoping that people can manage this. Surely we can. In fact, I know we can. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve gotta get off this elliptical machine so that someone else can climb on.
*Thanks to the folks at Bountiful Productions for this fantastic image – what a way to make a point!