And just like that, we’re back to bitchy… Last week I had a passive aggressive episode in the gym that got me thinking. My life is so crazy that it takes having a membership at two different gyms to make my commitment to training actually workable. Half the week I’m at THE GYM (queue angels singing) and the other I’m at the fitness center at work. Luckily I have both, but the mix of people at work is… well, somewhat different. There are a lot of people who only use it for 15 minute increments while on their break and still in their work clothes. I understand that it IS better than nothing but it is a very different commitment level than those who make time to do a full workout including sweating enough we need to change clothes. I mean, it’s one thing to go for a walk during your break but to have an entire fitness center on the premises and not utilize it fully? What a waste!
I admit I get a bit of entertainment watching them come and go on the treadmills and elliptical machines and there’s one… um… girl… in particular who stands out among the rest. Why? Because she comes in every day, dressed in her skirts and knee-high boots AND jacket or blazer – crazy enough by itself. But what’s more crazy is the choice of television while she’s at it. At a glance I’d say she’s in her twenties – early to middle – and yet she’s watching TV that my nine year old likes. We’re talking Nickelodeon and ABC Family and even the Disney Channel. Laughable really and at times I find it hard not to do so out loud.
So back to last week’s episode… I’m on the treadmill sweating like a pig, jamming to some Marilyn Manson doing intervals: two minutes of “normal” running followed by a minute of sprinting. Because I have my iPod and there were only iPod-ers there when we started I turned the television off (yes, people, there’s an off switch on those things!) and dropped the remote into the cup holder on my left. Half an hour into my workout, teeny bop girl walks in and climbs on the treadmill to my immediate right and starts looking around for the remote for the TV hanging directly above my treadmill. I’m watching out of the corner of my eye and I know exactly when she finds it. Even if I hadn’t been watching, I would have known because at that point she started STARING at me. Like craning your neck and staring at me from just within my peripheral vision is the same as asking for the fucking remote? Seriously, it was creepy and it went on for the entire time she worked out. I kept thinking she would ask me and after a while it became apparent that she wasn’t going to and I thought ‘Oh, you think I can’t outlast your childish stare down? You are wrong chicky!’
Like clockwork, ten minutes later she turned off her treadmill and headed back to her time-clock punching job (God I’m glad I don’t have to do that!) until the next day. I’m sure she was totally pissed that she’d missed out on her tween show while she went for her leisurely stroll but here’s the kicker – I would have gladly given her the remote if she’d just opened her mouth and asked me for it. I even gave her an opening when one of my friends got finished with her cardio and headed for the locker room as I turned and said goodbye – after she’d gotten my attention from my tunes that is.
The snotty bitch in me gloated that I had outlasted the childish stare down after I got over how creepy it all was. But then I started thinking about the greater tragedy of the whole thing. You see, that girl is in her twenties and still doesn’t know how to ask for what she wants. Not the remote in the gym, probably not with her job, most likely not even with her friends – and God knows how unhappy she probably is in the sack! Tragic, really but until she learns that life lesson she will continue to be frustrated everywhere she turns. Unable to voice her own desires, she will continue to be thwarted in all she does – usually by bitches like me who know exactly what we want and aren’t afraid to ask – no, DEMAND – what we want both in action and in words.
I made sure to rush home and work this life lesson into a conversation with Big Sister so she hears at an early age how important it is to stand up and ask for whatever it is that you want most. This is something big enough not to be left to that old ‘lead by example’ bullshit. There’s too much objectivity in that approach to be trusted implicitly in all things. Although, I have no fear she will see it enforced daily through my actions. Later she will thank me when she has a life that she wants and everything as she likes it with her husband and her own children. And if I see the Disney chick attempting the stare down again, I might just tell her “it serves you right for not asking!”