I was running on the treadmill in my apartment’s fitness room at eight o’clock in the morning last week. I don’t use the fitness room unless I can help it, but my downstairs neighbor didn’t request a wake-up call from my own treadmill in the morning, and I’d prefer to stay on his good side. I put up with the thudding bass of his stereo a couple times a week and he’s never said anything about me pounding through his floor in the evenings. I figure we have an unspoken truce and I don’t want to push it.
So, I was chugging along in the hot, kind of smelly fitness room in my apartment building, listening to some tunes through my earphones, when a slightly overweight, slightly middle-aged man in shorts entered the room. I gave a small wave acknowledging his presence and he pointed to the TV to ask if it was okay to turn it on. I gave him the thumbs up and continued running.
1.30 miles: TV man turns on TV and starts flipping through the channels.
1.35 miles: TV man stops on TBS. Wait, I know this movie . . old time-y clothes, a saloon… Vitto Morgenson. It’s Hidalgo!
1.40 miles: TV man is not a fan of Hidalgo. What, no love for the horsies? Keeps flipping.
1.45 miles: TV man stops on the TV Guide channel and starts reading listings
1.50 miles: Still on the TV Guide channel
1.55 miles: Yep, still on the TV Guide channel
1.60 miles: TV man flips to some sports and finally steps on the elliptical trainer.
Being female, I’ve never had to stand at a urinal while someone next to me is taking a piss, but I think it must be at least as awkward as running on a treadmill for three tenths of a mile while staring at a man watching television. I’ve watched TV before, but watching someone watch TV is just bizarre. Do I watch the TV? Do I watch him? Do I pretend to watch a bug on the ceiling? My eyes have nowhere to look!
Also, there is absolutely no reason TV man couldn’t have done all his surfing while actually operating the elliptical machine. You only need one hand on the remote and one hand on the handlebar. I probably burned 30 calories while he was just standing there. Frequently people moan that they don’t have time to exercise, but you can find the time if you look for it. I just found three or four minutes in TV man’s life.
Of course, maybe he just doesn’t have cable, and the exercising is all an elaborate ruse.