So Sunday, I finished my elliptical workout and I noticed a woman trying to get my attention. I couldn't imagine what she wanted from me and I was trying to remember if I'd seen her somewhere before, when she said, "Could you please be more aware of the squeaking noise you're making." I stood there gaping at her as the realization hit me that I was being publicly chastised for thoughtlessness. I was perfectly aware that my elliptical was squeaky and I had chosen to ignore it. To use the elliptical in such a way that it doesn't squeak would mean to barely use it at all and I'm not sure one gym goer has the right to ask another to reduce the intensity of her workout. After stammering for a second, I told the woman that I would ask "them" to fix it, hoping that would convey to her the fact that the squeaky elliptical is outside of my control and not my responsibility.
|How I wish I'd responded|
Usually, I stretch after a workout, but I was so upset I could hardly see straight, plus I sensed that others in the gym were embarrassed and were trying to avoid looking at me. Were they sympathetizing with me or with her? I couldn't tell. Suddenly, I seemed to be in everyone's way. So I left, but I stopped at the front desk and told them that someone had complained about the squeaky elliptical. They said that a part deep inside the machine was squeaking, that there was nothing they could do about it now, and that a new part had been ordered. I felt better, knowing that the gym people knew it was broken, but hadn't felt the squeaking warrented preventing people from using it.
It is deeply upsetting to be scolded in public, especially when you are totally unconscious that you have been doing anything wrong. Not that I'm convinced that I was in the wrong. I understand that it's rude to make a lot of noise in public, but since this noise was something outside of my control, and a gym is already a somewhat noisy place, it never occurred to me that it might be seen as rude by someone else.
Do you chastise strangers? Has a complete stranger ever scolded you in public?