Macho Man

So I haven’t been a member at the gym for very long, but I think I have an idea of what is proper gym etiquette and what isn’t.

Now, I’m going to tell you a little story about my encounter with Macho Man today.

I hopped on the elliptical and started my typical routine. About three minutes in, Macho Man comes out of nowhere and gets on the one right next to me. Uhh.

First of all: these machines are entirely too close to one another for comfort and whoever made the decision  to space them with so little space a apart should rethink it.

Second,  there were three other machines available further down, but he chose the one at my side. Great. This to me, is an example of improper gym etiquette.

My heart rate increases, and it’s not due to the workout.

I size him up immediately, as much as I can without turning my head or making eye contact. He looked something like this:

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For those of you who don’t follow WWE, this is John Cena. The only reason I know who this guy is may in fact be due to a brief and unfortunate time in my life where I dated a guy who was really into wrestling. Now, that being said, I cannot deny that I find John Cena attractive, ya know, in that totally macho, douchebagish, kind of way.

Meanwhile John Cena look-alike is also sizing me up. And he’s not trying to be discreet about it, either. Another example of improper etiquette — staring.

I keep going, trying to ignore him and focus on the rock music video in front of me, but it’s hard because I forgot my earphones so it’s just a bunch of silent guys with their mouths open, and weird images of statues with burning heads.

I note that Macho Cena is barely moving. If he were on the ground, he’d be in a slow motion walk or something. I’m not sure what that was about. He continues to glance my way, I continue to run in place for about eight minutes.

Then suddenly, he’s getting off. Done already? He’s only been here eight minutes. And it occurs to me. Oh. He doesn’t use these machines, except maybe to hit on women. He was hoping…

I hear him say, “Have a great workout.”

Shit. I have to acknowledge him now. 

I look at him quickly, but long enough to notice his super white teeth and altogether nice smile…

Improper etiquette is speaking to someone after the fact, having not said hello or having any other conversation prior, when clearly I am ignoring you and don’t want to be bothered. I mean, come on man.

“Yeah,” I say, smile back, and that’s that.

He’s gone, and I continued my workout in solitude. Phew. I successfully sidestepped that one.

Not only have I now witnessed an example of bad gym etiquette, but I have learned something about myself. I am not ready to start talking to other men. I am not ready to even acknowledge that other men are out there. I would much rather stare straight ahead no matter what is in front of me than potentially have a conversation with a potentially nice guy, even if he is John Cena’s doppelganger.

Even now as I’m writing this, I’m wondering if maybe he wasn’t being rude at all and I was just using that as my excuse for not speaking with him. He was intimidating. The fact that we were at the gym makes it even more intimidating. He was obviously interested. I’m just not there yet. I don’t know if or when I will ever be at the place where I can think about other guys. I’ve considered it a few times…I’ve been asked on a few dates, but I’m just. not. interested.

Yet.

Peter Pan and Laura Ingalls

Somewhere at my Mom and Dad’s house there is an old VHS sitting in a stack of other home videos, covered in dust, of one of my birthday parties. Not sure, but I’m just turning one of the ages between 2 and 5. All of my family is gathered around the dining room table watching me open presents. Birthdays are a big deal when you’re little. Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, and Grandparents all come to celebrate with your parents, watch you make a mess of cake, and open gifts. Everyone laughs and gives you kisses on the cheek. At this particular birthday my Meemaw had given me a card and put  $5 in it. Mom helped me open it and gave me the card. When I saw the green bill my eyes opened wide, my tiny jaw dropped, and I exclaimed with a gasp, “Fifty dollars!?”

If only, while growing up, we could see life the way I saw that five dollar bill. To me, getting five dollars felt like fifty. I was overwhelmed at the gift, having no experience with money, and nothing else to compare it to. Of course, it was probably spent on Barbies, or something but that’s not the point.

What I’m NOT saying is that we should pretend we have more money than we actually do, no, that’s just living in a fantasy and could get you into a lot of trouble. Live within your means, people. What I’m saying is…

This past week was all about Thankfulness. We took a day to realize what we have is actually more. Most of us spent the day with families, eating lots of food, watching football, and then drove home uncomfortably full. But isn’t Thanksgiving more than that? Didn’t you feel a small sense of wonder and gratefulness at what you’ve been given? Wasn’t there a prayer in your heart of Thanksgiving to God for your loved ones, and all that delicious stuffing? Did you not think of others who may have so much less, who were alone and hungry? Didn’t your 5 dollar bill feel like 50?

I certainly hope so.

Peter Pan didn’t want to grow up. I get it, believe me. But, I think he missed an important element. Growing up doesn’t mean losing your childlike wonder, enthusiasm,  simplicity, or optimistic  outlook on life….it means, not spending your five dollars on toys. It means realizing the value of your five dollars, and how it could quite easily turn into fifty. It means realizing that others would kill for your five dollars.

Do you get what I’m saying?

What does your five dollars look like? What do you have to be grateful for? What are you going to do with it? Are you going to sit on it and let it go to waste? I hope not. Are you going to invest it in a life that you can look back on at the end and say, “I really lived.” Are you going to share it?

This past month, I’ve done a lot of growing up. I’m finding that balance between the child in me, and the woman. We never stop growing up. That’s a good thing. Keep on moving on. Take leaps, make big decisions, face your fears, use what you have wisely, learn from your mistakes, have faith….but don’t forget to grab the hand of the little one inside you to remind you…

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