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LAist Rants: Blood on the Gym Floor

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I almost got in a fight with a 60-year-old woman at the gym the other day. It was over a treadmill. It was 7pm and not a Monday night so there weren't that many people at the Spectrum in Santa Monica. But nevertheless when I had hit 30 minutes on the treadmill, I looked around to make sure there wasn't a line of people waiting. Gym rule is that there's a 30-minute limit for the cardio machines when people are waiting. Fortunately there wasn't a line and there were even some treadmills available. So I increased the speed on the treadmill and was just running full throttle to get my Fartlek training in.

Suddenly I felt a tap on my shoulder and turned my head to see this old woman, who I'll call "Bitchy Face," looking at me, and a man of equal age looking at me from over her shoulder. I slowed the treadmill down and ripped one of the ear buds out of my ear as she was talking to me. "There's a 30-minute limit when people are waiting," she said. Sure enough, as I looked around, all the other treadmills were taken. "Oh, I'm sorry!" I said genuinely. "I didn't see you there." She smiled and walked away to jump on another treadmill two spaces down, leaving her dude standing there waiting for me to get off.

"I just have to cool down for a bit," I said to him. "OK," he replied, smiling. Considering that I had been running at full speed, I was cooling down a lot faster than I'm used to -- 2 minutes instead of 5. But next thing I know I hear Bitchy Face talking to someone about the 30-minute limit on cardio machines and then she calls out to her man standing behind me. "Is she going to get off?" "Yes, she is. She's just..." "Cuz I'll MAKE her get off," Bitchy Face interrupts him. I guess she didn't realize that even though the ear buds were in my ears I had already turned my iPod off.

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"I can HEAR you," I say to her over the two treadmillers between us. Flustered I then sort of stuttered out, "I-I'm just trying to c-c-cool down." And then she gave me that face people usually give to those they think are crazy -- the hands up, eyes wide and almost rolling, and bottom lip sticking out. I'm supposed to be the crazy one? "How are you going to MAKE me get off the treadmill?" I wanted to scream at her. "I can TAKE you, old lady!" You kidding me? I don't understand why she had to be like that when I was as nice as pie about the whole thing. Made me not want to be nice to people ever again if I'm going to just get treated like that.

Instead, I got off the treadmill and mumbled under my breath to the man, after he thanked me, "You didn't have to be so mean about it." Yeah, I know, it wasn't his fault. But in retrospect, I should have just reset the treadmill clock as soon as I got that tap on my shoulder.

Photo by Owen B.

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