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August 15, 2007 at 12:45 am (rants)

While at the gym this afternoon, I was reminded of one of my top 5 pet-peeves:  people that talk on their cell phones while they are working out.  And I use the term “working out” loosely because when people are on their phones, they are either half-assing some cardio or occupying a weight machine, keeping it from use by people who actually there to work up a sweat.  I was next to a woman the other day on the elliptical machine and she was on her cell phone the whole time she was on there.  She was barely moving fast enough to keep the machine from re-setting itself.  I later saw her doing sit-ups, you guessed it, holding her phone to her ear.  I’ve even been in a step-aerobics class where a woman was talking on the phone while stepping.  Not only is this obnoxious because she was talking over the instructor, but its also dangerous.  Why even bother coming to the gym if that’s what you’re going to do?  I don’t know why I let this bother me so much, but I do.

I think more than the annoyance of them taking up space at the gym I am bothered by the self-importance of it.  The fact that they are talking during their work-out says to me “I’m too important to be unavailable for even the hour that I’m at the gym”.  Doesn’t anyone want to be unavailable anymore?  I certainly do!  Between stress in the lab, running errands, cooking, cleaning, all the obligatory crap we endure throughout our days, I think an hour at the gym with just my thoughts and my music is the least I can do for myself.  It reminds me of those ridiculous news stories that came out a while back about people going to hotels or resorts that would take their cell phone or blackberry away from them and lock it up in a vault for the duration of their trip.  People laughed about it, but I thought it was pathetic.  How sad that people have to pay other people to keep them from using their cell phone?  I hate that in our society, we are expected to be available 24/7.  People say, “why didn’t you have your phone on?” – well, maybe I wanted a few hours to myself, that’s why.

I realize that I am teetering on the brink of being a complete loner.  I fit into all those stereotypes about scientists being bookish and anti-social.  I am bookish, I only reserve smiles for people I actually like, and I find small-talk nearly unbearable.  I like going to movies and restaurants by myself or just reading quietly at home.  And although I’m clearly on one extreme of the spectrum, I think more people could do with a little less yapping about complete nonsense with each other, and a little more times with their own thoughts, even if there aren’t an abundance of them.



  1. Minal said,

    Re: Annoying people.

    Last month I went for a swim in the common swimming pool of our apartment complex. There were a few people in the pool including a kid wearing a diaper! Then the kid’s mom decided that it would be a great idea to multitask. So now she started eating an ice-cream IN the pool and her friend who was in regular clothes (not swim suit) decided to enjoy her ice-cream standing (knee deep) in the swimming pool as well. Gross, gross, gross! I haven’t gone back to the pool since then.

  2. mysterybea said,

    Eww, gross. People need to ask themselves: “is what I’m doing possibly annoying, disruptive or disgusting to anyone else?” – if the answer is yes, there’s a good indication that you should probably not do it. Unfortunately, too few people have this inner dialogue going on, as evidenced by the jerks that have phone conversations DURING movies.

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