There’s this little guy at the gym who I kind of hate. He’s like 5’4 and 130? 140? I hate guys that are shorter than me (admittedly not as much as guys who are taller than me, though special loathing is reserved for those who are exactly my height of 5’5 3/4″)
I don’t hate him solely because of his height, I also dislike him because he’s one of those guys with a 40 minute warmup. Foam rolling, band pulling, lunges, getting on one knee and putting that ankle in the TRX. He then deadlifts like 300×5. Then he does cable rows, and dumbbell presses, sled drags etc. In the grand scheme of things, he’s not as bad as the Enemy (who deadlifts 200×5) or this one albino-looking kid who does not actually work out, only warms up and then cools down. Really, it doesn’t matter; why do I care what other people do
As my time at this gym grows short, I’ve become increasingly fed up with people who insist on using the tricep pushdown right in front of the squat rack, when there are six others open. I’ve also become increasingly bold in my passive-aggressive maneuvering to prevent this from happening: When I first start working out, if no-one’s using it, I take the rope/v-handle/h-handle/dildo off the tricep pushdown and put it somewhere else. I set my gym bag at the base of the machine. I drag the garbage can with my tupperware of chalk on top over to further restrict access. I make the path even more difficult to traverse by strewing crap like my water bottle, bands, and pen and paper on the floor. Take a look at this diagram. Not to scale, but close enough:
For the most part my strategy has worked. I’m not preventing people from using that machine. I’m just making it inconvenient. So far, only two guys have attempted to use it; and I’ve graciously allowed it: I figure that if that particular tricep machine is that important to them, they must be even more mentally disturbed than me. One was this big Mexican-American truck driver who has been using that tricep pushdown for the past 15 years. He came over and gave it a longing look, and I moved my shit out of his way. The other guy was this middle-aged guy who likes to do lying cable curls. He set up at a bizarre, uncomfortable angle, with the top of his head against the emergency exit door. I just felt bad for him and, again, moved my shit.
Anyway, today I set up the trash can, gym bag, and debris in a particularly fiendish configuration. No one tried to use the triceps pushdown, but the little guy wanted two deadlift mats, and he walked right in front of me while I was in the middle of a set with like 375. I do a set of squats like every six minutes. Just, during those twenty seconds, can you not walk in the nine square foot area right in front of me? Can it wait? I mean I never do more than 3 reps. I won’t be long. Is there any other sporting event or quasi-sporting event where it’s cool to get right in front of someone’s face when they’re trying to concentrate and not get paralyzed?
Me: Do you need any more floor mats?
Me: Can you do me a favor and not walk in front of me when I’m in the middle of a set of squats?
Him: Yes. Sorry.
I was mad, but tried to keep it reasonable. To paraphrase Mark Twain, never attribute to malice what can be attributed to ignorance. This quote has probably kept me out of jail hundreds of times. It’s fine. The little guy just didn’t know that that wasn’t cool, and that I have a bad temper. He wanted the floor mats, and there’s no other way to get at them. As a side note, even tattoo-face and his boys did not walk in front of me while I was squatting Saturday.
Then, about ten minutes later, some other doofus, for no apparent reason, felt the need to wiggle his way around the lat pulldown, dodge the garbage can, pick his way around my gym bag and the other shit on the floor – then pause to glance over at me, from like six feet away – while I was between reps with 385.
Me [in loud semi-crazed tone]: Hey buddy! What’s up? How ya doing? Can I help you?
His eyes got wide, and he picked up his pace as he scurried across the gym. Three minutes later he left; not sure if there was a connection or if he was done anyway.
Emilio saw/heard what happened and thought it was funny. I was glad he approved, as he is a sensible, 44 yr old international businessman, and his definition of humorous/appropriate often differs widely from mine.
Emilio: What’s going on in this place today? Is there something in the water? He stopped right in front of you to look at you. Why would he do that?
Me: Let’s go to the tennis courts and run in front of people right as they’re about to serve.
Squat: …335,355,365,370,375,380,385,390×2, 395×1
Bench: …255×3, 275,285×2, 295×2,3, 300×2,3, 305×2
Sumo+strong band: 5 sets, all PRs, up to 215 off 3″ deficit