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At the gym

Two gym things.

When I walk past a gym and, through the windows, I see people running and lifting I think, “So sad, trapped in their sweaty glass box! They should be outside in the fresh air!”

When I’m inside the gym, pumping irons, looking out through the windows, and I see people walking past, I think, “So sad, those unfit weaklings, merely walking along!”

Neither of these is a good thought.

In the gym I divide people into four categories depending on how they deal with unused loose equipment — weights, mats, platforms, etc.:

  1. People who not only put their own equipment away after use, but who will sometimes tidy away other equipment that’s lying around.

  2. People who put their own equipment away after use.

  3. People who don’t use any loose equipment.

  4. People who leave equipment lying around after using it.

Those in category (1) are obviously saints and should receive some kind of award, maybe MBEs or similar. (2) are great but it’s nothing to be proud of; that’s the minimum standard, like a stereotype-husband helping with household chores. Well done, but there are no prizes. (3) are a mystery whose true nature cannot yet be determined. (4) are clearly criminals who should be sent to a penal colony.

An added wrinkle, omitted above so as not to confuse this simple classification system, are those who do put back their equipment, but in the wrong place. For example, putting dumbbells back on the rack but in a place marked with a different weight. Whatever their punishment should be it’s probably the same as that for people who, when a cinema has assigned seating, purposely sit in seats not assigned to them.

The other day I realised that there’s a fifth category below (4). I saw a man looking for a foam roller in a big chest. In order to open the chest’s lid he had to move a ball and an “ab wheel” that were placed on it. He almost threw them to the ground, letting the ball roll across the floor, and leaving it where it came to a halt in the middle of the floor. Later I noticed he’d left out his roller, plus a mat and other equipment, after he’d finished with them.

I, Philip Gyford MBE, have yet to determine the appropriate punishment for group (5).

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