I work out at one of those big, ten-dollar a month gyms. For what I am interested in doing and getting out of it, it works great for me. There are always plenty of treadmills and elliptical machines available. But if it is crowded the weight machines will be busy.
The way the weight machines are setup is that there are a pair of each type in a line. I typically start at one end and work my way down. If the next machine is occupied I skip it and come back. The first five machines are arm and upper body, the last five are for the back, core and legs. I was rocking along last night and got to the first leg machine. Both were occupied. Now mind you neither guy was actually using the machines. One was “resting” while the other was searching for that perfect song to do leg curls by. I went to the next machine in line, did my twenty lifts and turned around and both guys were still just sitting there as the line grew longer behind them.
A lady asked the older of the two gentleman if she could use the machine while he rested, his response “When I am done”.
In fifty-six years of living I have lived outside of the south for eighteen months when I was three years old. I was raised with old school southern manners by an old school southern mother, yes ma’am, and no sir. I open doors for ladies. I stand-up when a lady comes to or leaves the table, I pull her chair out for her. I speak to people on the street, “Good morning” and “Good Afternoon”. I know which fork and spoon to use. I know where my napkin belongs. These are common southern courtesies, courtesies that are becoming extinct.
I am not sure why we have lost the desire to be nice to each other. I think for some, particularly men, they view courtesy as a sign of weakness or being taken advantage of. If I am in the check-out line with cart full of stuff and someone behind me has just a few items I typically let them go in front of me. In traffic, I let people into my lane. I have a horn on my car but I am not sure it even works. I say all this not to make you think I am some magnanimous saint it’s just that I wonder sometimes why the rest of the world has seemed to have forgotten these simple lessons.
The kid my daughter dated before she met her future husband was, for lack of a better description, a Yankee. He was a nice enough young man but offered none of the southern courtesies or charms my daughter was used to. I remember telling my wife one night after the two of them had dinner with us that it was if he had never eaten at a dinner table before. She ended up marrying a nice southern boy from just up the road, raised by an old school southern mother just like I was. I always figured, thankfully, that is what she would end up with.
“In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” – Jesus
I realize people don’t make following the Golden Rule easy. The guys hogging the machines at the gym drive me crazy but they aren’t worth getting into a confrontation with. As my mother would say about them “Bless their heart” and move on. Being courtesy and nice to others takes the same amount of energy as it takes to be rude and mean and it is always better to sow good Karma rather than bad or as Willie Nelson sang; “There’s just a little fashioned karma coming down, Just a little old fashioned justice going round, A little bit of sowing and a little bit of reaping, A little bit of laughing and a little bit of weeping, Just a little old fashioned karma coming down”
“At the end of the day, the Golden Rule is called the Golden Rule for a reason – do unto others as you would have done to you. In terms of commandments you could probably just do that one and you would be well off. If everybody could adhere to that one, we’d be OK, as long as a masochist wasn’t in charge of people.” – Chad Kroeger