in my last post, i said something about wanting to write about how i notice i’m becoming a little more tolerant in the gym. I’m not, really. But i wanted to write about this experience i just had a couple of days ago.
So, there I was, in the gym. I had warmed up on the bike, and I noticed that ACROSS THE ROOM from me was a young woman with one of those mp3 player things in her ears, and I could HEAR THE FUCKING LYRICS. I hate those things. really a lot. Especially when i can hear them across the room, and they are plugged firmly into someone else’s head.
When i’m on the bus, or in coffee shops, I wear earplugs. I call them my “homicide prevention kit”. But in the gym, I don’t wear earplugs. I like to listen to the clank of iron on barbell and stuff–and i kinda feel more present when i’m not wearing earplugs. When i’m working out, i like best to be completely there, attentive to all of what my senses might tell me.
But people wear these fucking ‘personal’ music player things, and then crank the volume so everyone in the fucking gym can hear the crap they’re listening to.
I become distracted and cranky. Sometimes i ask people to turn it down. Everytime that i do this, however, it costs me even more of my tenuous peace of mind…will they do as I ask? how can they not know it’s too loud? can they hear normal sounds? what are those little cilia in their ears doing? poor li’l buggers…
A few days earlier, I’d asked a few young men to please turn their music down, or “AT LEAST could you all listen to the same friggin’ shit, ’cause the cacophony is exponentially more annoying than just one penis rock guitar solo”. and they just stared at me with their mouths open. I mouthed to them, “you’re gonna be deaf by the time you’re twenty, honey–and you’re not even gonna get a dog”, and one of ’em took his headphones off and said, “huh?” and I mouthed to him, “never mind” and smiled.
They said, “she’s crazy” to each other as I walked away. and I was so bothered, i left the gym then. dammit. I let them get under my skin. And they don’t even know me, nor I them. I know that if I knew their stories, I would love them. But they were dismissive of me, an old woman to them, all stodgy and unhip, what business is it of mine how loud their music is? bah.
anyhow. so, i just ignored sister, and did my thing, went somewhere else and cranked out a bunch of deadlifts. that was fun. and somewhere along the way it occurred to me that when i ask someone to do something, I must not be attached to the outcome. Because I cannot control the behaviour of someone else. I can use my voice, and act on my own behalf, but if they are not willing to see the reasonable thing and do what I ask there is nothing I can do. I can ask someone with some authority to make another rule and enforce it, or I can kick the offending person in the shin, or I can pout and stamp my feet, but I have to consider the consequences of all those things. I cannot change someone’s behaviour. I can only change my own. And consider, too, that when others see me confronting someone whose behaviour is offending me, they might be encouraged to do the same sometime. But whatever, I must act, and I must say something, but I must not be attached to the outcome. Breathe…
Anyhow, so a little later on, sister who’s deafening herself, sits down at a machine near me and I ask her, I say, “can you please turn your music down?” and she says, “really? you can hear it? are you sure it’s not the TV?” i assure her i’ve been listening, unwillingly, to her music for the whole time i’ve been there, and the TV bugs me too. I should have thanked her for the idea, ’cause once she turned her music down, (none too graciously, i might add, but she did it anyhow), i jumped onto a counter and turned the tv off. that was satisfying.
Then, i was doing some dumbbell flies and there was this guy next to me who had ‘penis rock’ blasting into one ear and out the other. it was awful. so i politely asked him to turn it down. he looked at me as though i was crazy. He said, “What? my music?” and I said, “yes please, it’s really loud”. he just shook his head and did some bench presses. with VERY poor form and a weight that was too heavy for him. He did not turn his music down. His hearing is likely already impaired and his brain might be damaged from the repeated ramming of penis rock right into the inside of his skull. what a disgusting image.
Anyhow. I carried on with my workout, and I was amazed by how peaceful I felt. You know, i often ask men to turn their music down, and when they react with rudeness (which they most often do, bless them), I get all rattled and distracted and try to take them on. But that time, because i’d had that little talk with myself about attachment, I did not let him win. I stayed in the gym, and had a lovely workout and his crappy brain-churning noise did not distract me.
I must extend this analysis to activism…I am very attached to the Glorious revolution, but I must also be patient. Act when I can, tell the truth, reflect, think, act again, but don’t be attached to each outcome. just understand that somehow, somewhere, it’s gonna all shake out the way it ought to.
i’m really much too easily riled to do that all the time. but if ya live long enough, anything can happen.
Keep the faith.