In Praise of Pet Peeves?

It’s been a while since I chimed in on an issue. And that is truly amazing given the Trump era and its associated madness around the country. But, that’s another blog. This particular blog is about a pet peeve that I didn’t know I had, and I thought I knew all of my pet peeves given my age and variety of life experiences. But, as my mother likes to say: “keep living,” and you’re going to keep learning.

I recently joined a gym, one of many that I’ve joined over my life time. I think I’ve managed to connect with most, if not all of them, at some time or another. You know who they are. There’s 24 Hour Fitness and its various shapes and sizes, Planet Fitness, and the old standby, the YMCA. I was looking for a gym that not only had the latest torture equipment, but one that also had a swimming pool, Jacuzzi and sauna. After all, I like to sometimes be a little lazy when I go for a work out. I found one that was wonderfully equipped and had everything I wanted and more – a heated swimming pool! Oh boy, was I excited! I hadn’t had access to a heated pool in years, and that particular amenity sealed the deal for me. I was in.

On my first visit I was still checking out the place, so I was a bit timid. I only used the recumbent bike for 15 or 20 minutes and listened to my favorite Stevie Wonder songs as I pedaled at Level 1 (or maybe Level 0). After that, I decided that I should reward my efforts by spending some time in the Sauna.

Now, from what I can remember about the Sauna, you should: shower briefly before you go in, wear only a towel wrapped around your body or a swimsuit, don’t forget your flip flops because it is a gym after all, and relax.

So, that’s what I did.

I was relaxing and getting sweaty in the good old fashioned way when I got a shock. In walked a young woman, 22-ish, with her smartphone, gym clothes and text notifications turned up very loudly. I was no longer relaxed. With every “ding” from her phone, my muscles got tighter. I gave her a long, hard look, got up, and walked out of the sauna.

I complained and was told that there was no policy against anything that she’d done. The gym employee suggested that I politely ask her to turn off her notifications and if she got belligerent or rude, then they’d intervene.

I couldn’t believe it.

The next time, two women came in with gym clothes and smartphones. They texted the entire time they were in there. But at least they didn’t have their notifications noise ringing out loud.

On yet another occasion, a young woman came in fully clothed with a smartphone and started texting.

I finally decided that I must come from the age of dinosaurs because I would never take a smartphone into a 180 degree environment, and for me it’s okay to put my phone down for the 15-20 minutes I’ll spend in the sauna.

I’m working on undoing this as a pet peeve. But it’s hard. Next time I’ll just go for a swim.

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