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A story about yesterday morning

Saturday, July 30, 2011

On Friday mornings I help check in people for the morning class at the fitness studio I go to. On Fridays, the morning class is called MixxedFit (a workout combining dance fitness and toning). The check-in station, manned by a volunteer (me on Fridays), is near the front door and the regular reception desk, manned by the instructor, is at the back of the lobby, several feet the door.

Yesterday morning this woman came in, bypassed me, and got in line behind a mother and her small child at the reception desk. Once the mother was finished, this woman proceeded to check in at the reception desk as she wanted to bring a friend along. She pulled out her credit/debit card and tried to pay for her friend's drop-in fee. The instructor told her that drop-in fees can be only paid in cash. Well this pissed the woman off, but she stayed at the front desk to complain about the children at the studio. Apparently, at the last evening class she took, there were children running around and she complained to the owner about them. Now she wanted to complain about the small child who had been in front of her in line, "not to judge" his mother or anything. She comes to the studio to "get away from children," and yet here they are again.

Now, I don't know if you take morning classes or have taken them in the past. What I've noticed over the past several months is that if there are only one or two small kids sitting on the sides of the classroom, they are really quiet. They barely interact with each other. It's as if they haven't really woken up yet. Or maybe they ran around before they came to class and now need a nap.

The instructor tried calming this woman down and telling her that the kids in morning classes are fairly sedate. But you could see the annoyance in this woman's eyes. She left in a huff to go to the ATM and withdraw some cash.

She came back about 10 minutes later. This time her friend entered with her. Her friend was wearing jeans. Jeans! I thought 'I'm not sure how long her friend is going to last in class,' especially since it was already warm out. The woman and her friend proceeded past me again and waited in line again at the reception desk as the instructor was again busy helping other students. She didn't need to bypass me. I could have taken care of a drop-in. But it was her choice to ignore me, and so I let her wait in line.

I noticed the woman getting huffy again. Knowing her friend was a drop-in, I asked them if they had been to the studio before and signed the release waiver. As her friend quickly went about filling out the waiver, the woman just got more upset. "How much work is it to take a class?! What a mess this is!" When her friend handed me the waiver, the woman said "Finally! If I had known it would be this much of a hassle, I wouldn't have invited you."

Ten minutes into class, we started running around the block for three laps. The woman and her friend slowly ran the first lap, walked the second one, and sat out the third one. About 10 minutes after that, they left the class. I followed them to the door so that I could relock it after them.

Walking to the door, I thought that maybe the friend had had enough or didn't like the toning part of class - not everyone does. (I wasn't alone in this suspicion; several of the other students thought the one in jeans was the reason for their abrupt departure.) And that's when I heard the woman tell her friend that "It's the smoking. I need to cut back. I can't do that much if I'm smoking."

That surprised me. This impatient, annoyed, huffy woman knew that she wouldn't last through the class and yet all she put out the entire time she was at the studio was negativity and sourness. Trying to infect those around her with her displeasure. Also, she chose to leave instead of taking a break or easing up on her intensity -- both options available to her.

Now, why am I putting this story into a blog? First off, because I just found it really odd that someone would do what this woman did. She paid for her friend to go with her, knowing neither of them would get a workout. No wonder her friend wore jeans; she wasn't concerned with overheating. She knew she wouldn't be there long enough to overheat.

Second, I keep wondering what will happen with this woman moving forward - now that she's quite aware of the physical limitations smoking imposes on her. I see her with two possible paths. One path is for her to reduce her smoking or even quit in order to meet her health goals. The other path is to find that her addiction smoking is a bigger driver than her desire to be healthier and she stops exercising regularly.

I'd like to think she'd take the first path. That her health would be that important to her. I mean she did go all the way to the ATM and back to pay for her friend's drop-in fee. Then again, because of her negative attitude, I think the second path is more likely. Smoking is a difficult habit to break; regular exercise is a difficult habit to start.

Do you find the woman's actions odd? Which path do you think she'll take?

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