Every now and then, I like to look back on some of my favorite and most well-received blog posts. Here’s one from about 5 years ago about a terrible guy I met at the gym: Cheesesteak. I still think about him from time to time. Of course, I’m sure we all wish him the best. Probably.
The other day, like most days, I went to the fitness center at work. (Cause I’m super fit and whatnot.) It was roughly 10AM, so there weren’t many people working out – exactly what I wanted. Other than myself, there was a girl running on a treadmill, a guy on a stationary bike, and another guy casually chatting with the trainer at her desk. I walked in, set my stuff down and jumped on an open treadmill.
So, I’m running my little heart out, flipping through a magazine. Over the hum of the treadmill, I can hear the guy at the trainer’s desk describing to her, in detail, the three different cheesesteak sandwiches he had eaten over the weekend. “Why is he even in here?” I wonder to myself.
I’m running, running, running. The guy from the bike jumps on the treadmill to my right and starts to walk. I’m about 2 minutes into my run, though my lungs feel like it’s been 25 minutes, and all of a sudden, Cheesesteak is standing in front of my treadmill yelling.
“HEY! You took my treadmill!”
“Me?” I ask shocked.
“Yeah, you.” He replies. “That’s my treadmill!”
“Um, sorry. I didn’t know you were using it,” I say, still running (cause my endurance is so high I can totally talk while running.)
He keeps glaring at me from the other side of the treadmill. I stare back at him.
At this point, I’m getting kind of pissed. I’ve never seen this kid before. What is his deal? Why is he being so rude to me?
“Uh, yeah. I’m sorry – did you have your stuff on here or something?” I say. “Was your badge on this treadmill that I didn’t see? I didn’t know you were going to use it, since you were sitting over there talking about sandwiches.”
“No, my stuff wasn’t on it, but I was planning on using it.”
“So… I mean, there are three other open treadmills right now,” I point out. “And I’m already into my run…”
“Oh, so you want me to find a different treadmill?” he spits.
“Yeah, or you can wait 10 minutes until I’m done with this one.”
“FINE,” he literally stomps. “I’ll get on this one.”
He walks around and climbs onto the treadmill to my left. “I hope you don’t mind me yelling over you to talk to my friend, since you’re running in between us now.”
I look at the kid to my right, who has yet to acknowledge Cheesesteak. Are they really here together?
“Yeah, I won’t mind,” I reply. “Yell all you want.”
“Ugh!” groans Cheesesteak as he pushes the buttons on the treadmill so hard, I fear his finger will break. “What the? FUCK! This damn treadmill is FUCKING BROKEN!” He turns toward me. “I guess I’ll have to get on the one all the way at the other end of this row and yell even louder to talk to my friend!” he screams.
I don’t respond; I just keep running. (In perfect runner’s form, I might mention.)
So, Cheesesteak starts his treadmill and continues to yell. Once the machine turns on, he starts walking at, like, 1.5 speed – slower than my grandma. Is he seriously going to walk that slow?
For a minute or two, I continue to run (like a champion), and he continues to walk at the pace of a 14-month-old child. Then, I hear him speak again.
“Hey. Hey! What are you doing? … Yeah, I’m just at work. AT WORK, I said.”
I glance over at him. HE IS TALKING ON HIS CELL PHONE. Walking slower than an elderly elephant, chatting away on his cell phone.
“What are you doing? … Huh? HUH?” he continues to shout. “Sorry, I can’t hear you. This girl is running so loud on the treadmill in here, I can’t hear over her.” We make eye contact.
AWWW HELLLL NAW.
I turn up the speed on my treadmill to make it louder. (Plus, I’m barely sweating, I’m in such good shape.)
“I’M GOING TO HAVE TO CALL YOU BACK,” he yells. “I JUST CAN’T HEAR ANYTHING OVER THAT TREADMILL.”
As if the treadmill is the thing that’s out of place in the gym, not your EFFING CELL PHONE!
We continue on like this for a few minutes until I finish running. I move on to some of the weight machines (building up my killer quads), and he continues walking as fast as a limping earthworm.
I am fuming. My body is shaking. The whole time I’m pumping iron, I’m imagining punching him in the face. How does one approach a man walking slower than molasses on a treadmill and attempt to punch him in the face? I strategize.
Lucky for him, I finish my workout without hearing another peep from him. He must have been exhausted from walking so briskly.
Bad news? I’ve made an enemy. Good news? I know exactly which treadmill I’ll be using each and every time I’m in the gym.
TAKE THAT, Cheesesteak!