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I’m at work now, but not for work, but to use the free gym we have here. It’s OK, but small, and gets very crowded at peak hours. Which are before work, during lunch, and after work every weekday. Except for Friday, when people head to the pub or home straight away. I must exercise more, especially in advance of summer, when I’m going to meet up with old school friends, all of whom were working out when I last saw them and aren’t the kind of people to let things slip as I have. It has been a long time, though.

I do quite a bit of walking – just last weekend I did about eight kilometres across University College Dublin, to the coast, then along into the city centre. So I’m not averse to exercise in general, but I don’t like using a gym, for various reasons.

  • It’s boring; but today I’ll have a book to read at least.
  • I’ll have good music on the stereo today (Dancing by Beer for Dolphins), but at most times they turn on a dance radio station, and I hate techno music.
  • Gyms have that whole Y.M.C.A. association, with men “spotting” for other men and the whole “buddy system”. As I’ve commented before, there’s something ineffably gay and narcissistic about focusing on one’s own body, or another man’s. Helping another man work out is a nightmare job, frankly – I tried it when I first started working out with friends.
  • It’s public: bad enough around strangers, but if it’s your work colleagues, you know they’re going to be commenting about any mistakes you make, or just how stupid you look in general.

Regarding the last item above, some amateur psychologists say that, if you are concerned about the way people see you, that indicates something about you, such as:

  • insecurity, feelings of inadequacy, etc.
  • a tendency to do to others what you think they will do to you.

To which I reply: bullshit. I have to work with these people, and I know well enough that they form and hold impressions of others that have little to do with reality. It’s not just that I am in a fairly senior position here, and have an image to uphold; they are not my friends, and they will use any available weapon against their colleagues, if threatened. Which doesn’t tell you anything about me and what I would do in the same position.

The fact that I’m bothered by people watching me doesn’t mean that I’m watching them. Seeing myself pedalling away like a hamster in a wheel is bad enough, and I certainly have no interest in seeing others exercise. All of which explains my trips on weekends and late in the evenings, when I have some control over the gym environment. Enough typing, Mister, get exercising.

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Written by brian t

March 2, 2003 at 2:31 pm

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