This month I joined another Mega Commercial Chain Gym (MCCG). I've previously gotten on my E-Soapbox about MCCGs, so I'll spare you my long-winded thoughts, but I joined this one to add more weights training during the off-season whilst still "ballin' on a budget." (It's only $10 a month.) The gym bills itself as "judgment-free-gym-for-all" and even has "alarms" that supposedly sound when muscleheads grunt while overexerting themselves. So I'm thinking it could be an improvement over my previous MCCG's.
I stroll up in there for the first time to train arms this week, and there's a sign that says "no headgear except baseball hats." I ask the guy, "Does that include bandannas?"
"Yeah," he says.
"Well, why? Because of gang colors?"
(Here I am being extra intimidating - all 4'11 of me.)
What, like baseball hats, which shade your entire face and can be worn at ridiculous angles reminiscent of gang members are not intimidating?
I'm baffled, but I put on a visor. My friend who went with me is also unassuming, despite being an accomplished body builder (he's not even the type to wear muscle shirts.) We go to a pulldown machine, and there are two guys there, bulging arms, hats on backwards, scowls, the whole nine. Guy #1 is pulling down literally the entire stack of weights, grunting and heaving; Guy #2 is pacing, fists clenched, grimacing/scowling. As I'm thinking, where's this so-called "lunk" alarm?, a generically "pretty" guy walks up and says my friend can't work out with me because he looks too much like a personal trainer.
I walked in the next morning and cancelled my membership. As I've said many times, you can't beat the Y. My Y group is friendly, helpful, tri-minded and, despite the sacrifices I need to make to afford the more expensive membership, blessedly judgment free.
And they don't have to advertise that.
Afterward, I got to thinking. I consider myself a pretty unassuming figure. I'm little. I'm smiley. I'm friendly. I'm extremely goofy. How could anyone find me intimidating?
My drill run on Monday popped into my head all of a sudden.
I'm warming up, when I come up on this little lady walking. She's about my parents' age, in jeans and sneakers; as I get closer, I see that she's clapping. Not like you clap for a band, not like you quickly clap dust off, but a rhythmic, nonstop, repetitive CRACK! CRACK! CRACK! I don't know if she is doing this to keep her energy up, measure how fast she's walking, or what, because she isn't dressed in workout clothes. We smile and say good morning, and her smile and nod are as effusively joyful as her applause.
She is really nice, but I have to admit . . . it looked pretty crazy.
On my way back, I pass her again. This time, the warmup is over, and I am doing my drills: happy feet, high knees, butt kicks, grapevines, and strides. I get a little self-conscious . . . I don't like doing this front of passing cars because I look . . . well, crazy.
Huh. Maybe she thought I was the nutty one.
I've said many times before that I am terrible at realizing how people perceive me; I never know if I'm saying or doing something offensive unless it's massively obvious; I try hard to communicate my thoughts diplomatically but often come off as indirect or rude, or I just get completely misunderstood.
But, if people are going to judge you regardless, completely on their own perceptions, then as long as you're not purposely hurting others, should we really even care how we come off?
I'm done thinking for today . . . I may hurt myself if I don't stop.
PS: here you can go sign the Google petition to stop SOPA.
PPS: go donate to the American Diabetes Association for me, so maybe someday my mom and I don't have to be diabetic AND wacky. http://main.diabetes.org/goto/megganann
(OK, I'm really seriously off the sopabox now.) Sad as it makes me to give up the extra height.