Friday, July 04, 2008

Buffer Zone

Today, I walked to the gym and decided to use the stationary bike for 30 minutes.

In the Ladies Only section of the gym, there were only three of those upright stationary bikes and the far right one was being used. So, as unspoken gym protocol requires, I got on the far left bike in order to leave the requisite Buffer Zone between myself and the current biker.

Alas, that bike clicked. And you just can't have a bike clicking at you every half second for thirty minutes. That's something like three thousand six hundred clicks. It's enough to drive a woman to insanity. Or at the very least, make her abandon her already fragile exercising mind-frame. So I had no choice but to move to the middle bike - immediately next to the current biker.

Now the bikes didn't look evenly spaced, so I did shimmy the middle bike a little bit away from the current biker before saddling up, however, I realized too late that it had not been enough. Our shoulders were no more than a foot apart and I'm not sure whoever decided the exact social distance required between complete strangers for optimal comfort, but it is definitely more than a foot, shoulder to shoulder. The closeness was awkward and strained. We were both uncomfortable. I was afraid to catch her eye in the mirror. I tried leaning imperceptibly away from her. But I couldn't get off my bike and re-adjust. That would be rude. Besides, I had already moved my bike away from her. She'd be insulted, I was sure, if I so showed such a blatant distaste for our newfound closeness.

No, I'd just have to wait until her biking regime was done. I wondered if I could glance down at her time screen to see how long she'd been at it already. If she'd only been going for 30 seconds, I'd need another plan. But I couldn't bring myself to do that either. We were far too close. And even something that seems as subtle as a shifting of the eyes is very obvious when you're surrounded by mirrors.

Luckily, she disembarked less than a minute after I'd gotten on the bike next to (ontop of?) her. And she got on a treadmill instead.

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