I Am Easily Annoyed

She’s the worst thing in this world
Well, look at that stupid girl


I’m on the elliptical machine at the gym. Perhaps you know the setup. Rows of machines with about 2 inches between each one. You can just barely haul yourself on and off without knocking over the person next to you. But it’s a great workout and a pretty decent alternative to Zumba.So today, I am rocking out while listening to my playlist titled, appropriately enough, “Elliptical Rock-out,” and preparing to burn off the donuts I’m planning to buy when I’m done.

A youngish blonde woman with a ponytail starts to get on the machine to my right. But then she recognizes the woman to my left and goes over to talk with her. This is where everything starts to go horribly, horribly wrong.

I may just be making this up, but gym etiquette says that if you must stand around and talk to someone on an elliptical or treadmill, you should stand in front of them, not next to them, so you’re not encroaching on someone else’s space by planting yourself in the 2 inches between machines. This should be posted on the wall, along with “No Cell Phones” and “Wipe Down Machines.” “Don’t Encroach.”

But there’s no such sign and she is too close to me. I’m starting to hyperventilate, and it has nothing to do with increasing the incline on the machine. Her back is to me and yet she still seems unaware of my penetrating glare. Her friend should see it, though, and get the message, tell her friend to move. I give her a few hard looks (™ my Great Aunt Mil) but nothing happens.

They are yapping, and I can hear them, even over my blasting music. Turn it up, you say? It’s as loud as it will go. That’s how close they are. I mean it—she is RIGHT there. I close my eyes but my elliptical rockout has been ruined. She’s so close that if I cock my elbow—thusly—oops! Sorry! Now move it! But she doesn’t.

I turn off my music for a second. She’s talking about losing 10 pounds. That’s great. Now get your ass on the machine and lose 10 more.

I try accidentally dropping my pen (yes! I am writing this ON the elliptical, that’s how devoted and angry I am!).


(photographic proof of devotion and anger)

As I bend down to retrieve my pen, I’m in the perfect position to head-butt her. She apologizes but still. does. not. move.

No, I should clarify. She’s moving all over the place. She’s one of those gesticulators. This makes it even worse. I’m staring straight ahead but I can see her arms flapping around out of the corner of my eye. Who needs to be so animated at the freaking gym?

I try to distract myself by watching one of the TV screens, but that damn Huckabee is on there with . . . Chuck Norris? The hell?

And another thing! All of the elliptical machines are now taken, and hers, with her towel draped over it, is being held up, because she won’t stop talking and start working out. This is none of my business, which makes me even madder.

I’ve worked up enough sweat that if I start whipping around my mighty ponytail I might be able to spray her. No luck. My aim has been compromised by my stiffened body.

So far she’s stood here through “Stranglehold“—8:24, “Poke Salad Annie“—4:46, “Leppo and the Jooves“—4:55, “Oh!“—3:58, and “The Night Before“—2:38. That’s . . . 8, 12, 16 . . . a lot of minutes. Way too many minutes. God! I’ve done the elbow knock, hard looks, the head-butt, the ponytail spray, am I actually going to have to say something?

My 50 minutes are up, but I’m not going anywhere. It has just now occurred to me that this is intentional. No one would stand there so long and not be doing it to personally spite me. She’s trying to psych me out and take over my machine, so she and her friend can work out next to each other and keep talking forever. But I am NEVER getting off this machine, even if it kills me, which, combining the stress of over-exercise and the stroke I’m developing from blinding anger is seeming more and more likely.

Oh! Oh! Now she’s flicking her ponytail at ME! No one flicks their ponytail at me. Obnoxious people like this are always the recipient, not the giver, of the ponytail flick.

Several more minutes pass and I wonder which body part will give out first. Probably my knee or hip, but I’m grinding my teeth so hard maybe my jaw will fall off. All of the sudden, the friend gets off of her machine. Oh, thank God. But . . . oh, no. Wait. Now the friend—who is SWEATY—has moved to my other side and is talking to Blonde Ponytail as she finally gets on her machine. Oh, this is hell.

Is it any wonder we hate going to the gym?

If you want to observe gym etiquette:
  • Nix the perfume. Men, I’m talking to you. No, when it smells like that, it’s perfume.
  • No talking on cell phones. Actually, to be safe, no talking at all.
  • Ladies, the locker room isn’t a spa. It’s a gross, sweaty locker room. Take your bananas and granola bars and eat them somewhere else.

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45 Responses to “I Am Easily Annoyed”

  1. 1 cardiogirl

    Oh JD. I feel your anger in a real, real way. I talked to my monitor while I read this. I love your competitive spirit and I would have been on that elliptical for. EVER. If that’s what it took.

    And eating a banana in the LOCKER ROOM?! WTF?

    I love that you journaled about it in real time.

    And I also love the playlist title Elliptical Rock-out.

    Well done, soldier.

    cardiogirl’s last blog post..I win! I beat Britney, Justin and Delta to the Psych Ward!

  2. 2 Canucklehead

    While I admire your spirit there are a lot of funnier ways to handle that. As anyone who knows me can attest my main priority at all times is to entertain myself. Then again, I never go to the gym. Next time – try the Canucklehead way (TM). I suggest talking to yourself, not overly loud – just loud enough for them to have to stop to hear what you are saying. Try one of the following, depending on your mood:

    1.(in a sad, concerned voice: Oh geez, am I about to shit myself again? Please don’t spray .. no, sweet jesus … not again…. (repeat if req’d)
    2.(in a reassuring tone): easy tiger … she’s not worth going back to prison for … remember what the doctor said … try counting backwards … no prison .. (quiet sobs) … no more prison.
    3.(happy-go-lucky voice): man, she was right .. this place IS packed with lesbians! don’t blow this … you can do this … do I just grab her ass? what would ellen do? I love my life! Can we marry in this state? Don’t get ahead of yourself … maybe just smell her hair …

    Anyway, you get the idea … it saves you from getting worked up, it actually keeps you entertained AND you get a good story out of it! Cheers!

  3. 3 Kathy

    “No one flicks their ponytail at me.” Is that like “Nobody puts baby in a corner?” Now that my hair is long enough to put in a ponytail, I shall have to remember the flick maneuver. Oh, and I guess I’ll have to be in a gym. Oh, wait. A gym? What’s that? Oh, nevermind.

    JD, you just kill me. I love that you took notes during your torture. I know of no one else with that kind of dedication. You are my idol.

    p.s. Canucklehead — you scare me a little.

    Kathy’s last blog post..Bacon: Food of the Gods

  4. 4 Jeff

    You’re a riot.

    Too bad you can’t break wind on command – that usually helps clear some space. Umm, or so I’ve heard.

    Jeff’s last blog post..But it will be worth it

  5. 5 JD

    Cardiogirl: Thank you. I only wish I’d been successful in booting her outta my personal space somehow. Yeah: women are lounging in this steamy, sweaty locker room, NAKED, eating food. I don’t get it. I want in and outta there as fast as possible.

    Canucklehead: The Canucklehead Way numbers 1 and 2 do sound a little scary. Number 3 is hilarious and just might work. But what if I somehow ended up in a menage a trois? You know, like that Seinfeld episode: “she was INTO it”? Anyway, thanks for the suggestions and for sharing The Canucklehead Way, which, I’m sure, can be applied to many situations.

    Kathy: HA! Yes, it’s just that same tone. NO ONE flicks their ponytail at BABY! I mean, ME! I had to take notes, it was just too good to pass up. And I knew I’d never capture the rage and indignation later.

    Jeff: Thanks. That suggestion, based, of course, only on hearsay, just might’ve worked. And I might’ve done it, if only I’d had that big bowl of chili before my workout instead of a granola bar. NEXT TIME!

    JD’s last blog post..I Am Easily Annoyed so you don’t have to be

  6. 6 Elle

    Some people’s children! Clueless AND inconsiderate, the deadly duo. Heh. Love Canucklehad’s suggestions. What would ellen do? Too funny.

    Elle’s last blog post..Thought Bubbles of the Universe

  7. 7 Ernie

    And here I thought that I was the only one that the whole world was out to annoy. I feel your pain. I like to put small steel ball bearings in my ponytail, that way people KNOW when they’ve been flicked.

    Ernie’s last blog post..I Remember Doing the Time Warp

  8. 8 JD

    Elle: Yeah, I think The Canucklehead Way might be way funnier than my pathetic attempts to drive away that annoying woman. I’m seriously considering #3. Numbers #1 and 2…not so much.

    Ernie: Ball bearings! YES! Why didn’t I think of that. Isn’t it always the men with ponytails who come up with the best ideas?

    JD’s last blog post..I Am Easily Annoyed so you don’t have to be

  9. 9 Carol

    You MADE my day. Note taking, the best.

    Canucklehead, I’m with you — for all three.

    I just don’t understand why people just don’t speak up. Me, I’m all about letting you know if you’re in my space, you’re in my face!!!

    It’s like telling the guy in the post office (as he’s SHOUTING into his cell), “Honey, use your inside voice”.

  10. 10 JD

    Carol: Hello and welcome. And thank you! I know I probably should’ve just said something at the get-go and avoided all the rage, but there’s something weirdly pleasurable about getting all angried up over something stupid like that. I’m sure your way is much healthier!

    JD’s last blog post..I Am Easily Annoyed so you don’t have to be

  11. 11 Sabrina

    Way too funny, I was laughing at Canucklehead’s suggestions, not only would she have moved, everyone would’ve ran! LMAO!

    Sabrina’s last blog post..Last Minute Valentine

  12. 12 JD

    Sabrina: Thanks. I wish I could’ve laughed a little more and gotten a little less angry.

    Canucklehead: You have GOT to write your own post with more suggestions for doing things The Canucklehead Way. PLEASE!

    JD’s last blog post..I Am Easily Annoyed so you don’t have to be

  13. 13 Canucklehead

    Done and done. Mind you, I have not added much over-and-above what is listed above. You see, part of the ‘Canucklehead way’ also includes an healthy dose of laziness. Cheers!

  14. 14 JD

    Canucklehead: Hurray for laziness! I’m sure readers will get the gist of The Canucklehead Way from your excellent examples. Now, everyone, run, don’t walk, to read about The Canucklehead Way. And while you’re there, please stick around to read Canucklehead’s hilarious Ten Random Facts.

    JD’s last blog post..I Am Easily Annoyed so you don’t have to be

  15. 15 Corrina

    What a rude bitch! You should have totally knocked her out with your ponytail. My favorite is when parents let their kids climb all over the equipment… because those machines are cheap, right? lol

    Corrina’s last blog post..Random Lessons Learned

  16. 16 Natural Woman

    the nerve of some people’s children. when people don’t move, i “accidentally” bump into them on purpose. it’s mean, but hey…

    Natural Woman’s last blog post..Why I Blog

  17. 17 JD

    Corrina: Sing it, sister! I can usually knock down a large man with my ponytail, but my position was just not right. I didn’t have enough room to swing it and get the proper momentum. Yeah. Kids on expensive equipment. And they wonder why everything is broken all the time.

    Natural Woman: Hello, and welcome! You’d think people would get the hint from the “accidental” bump, but . . . , maybe I’m just not bumping hard enough.

    JD’s last blog post..I Got The Look so you don’t have to

  18. 18 Shane

    Well like you said you probally got some more from this health wise sticking arround longer on the machine … your poor heart though … sheesh. Perhaps next time just start singing along with your music or being a trickster walking backwards, on your hands and such … smiles.

    Expect Miracles…

    Shane’s last blog post..Away From The Beach

  19. 19 JD

    Shane: Hi, Shane, and welcome! I was really tempted to sing along with “Stranglehold,” especially the line “If your house gets in my way, baby, I’m gonna burn it down.” Whatever that means.

    I like your philosophy.

    JD’s last blog post..I Got The Look so you don’t have to

  20. 20 Val@ 0800Numbers

    God I love your blog!

    I can just picture the scene of you on your running machine and the pony tail flicker next to you, I bet you were spitting feathers!

    I cant say I have had this happen in a gym, but I have got to admit that I sit in very close proximity to someone at work who does nothing but hum through their teeth all blinkin day. It is driving me insane!!!!!!

    From the minute they walk in in the morning til they minute they walk out of the door in the evening all I get is …………..humming!!!

    It may seem so trivial, but I have to wear earphones all day now, it probably won’t be long before I either go deaf trying to drown out the sound, or go completely round the bend or maybe even get done for causing grievious bodily harm.

    This is becoming quite an issue with me……………please has anyone got any suggestions!!!!

  21. 21 JD

    Val@ 0800Numbers: Whee! Thank you! So glad you stopped by. As for the hummer, eh . . . person who hums, my only advice is a swift punch to the throat. This may not be viable, since it’s a co-worker, but I know of no other way. Believe me, I sympathize. I worked with a very nice lady who had the most annoying, high-pitched hum, complete with stupid vibrato. I didn’t take my own advice and punch her in the throat, but I wish I had.

  22. 22 Val@ 0800Numbers

    Oh JD you don’t know how tempted I am!! A swift punch in the throat, well you’ve brought a great big grin to my face and that takes a bit of doing at the moment.

    As I reply to you there is a fairly high pitched shushing noise being emitted through his front teeth (which if I took your advice would by now be right down the back of his throat!) Spose it makes a change from the hum, but hang on no…….. he’s frikkin humming again…………………..

    I’m not really a violent person, but as you can tell I am getting very close.

    Tell me what happened to the nice work lady with the high-pitched hum? Praps we could have paired them up and then they could have hummed happily all day together!!!!

  23. 23 JD

    Val@ 0800Numbers: I don’t know whatever happened to my humming lady. As far as I know, no one ever punched her (she was pretty nice). As for that high-pitched shushing noise, I’m sorry. Violent person or no, you’ve got no other choice now.

  24. 24 Val@ 0800Numbers

    The time is drawing closer, my nerves won’t take much more :(

  25. 25 JD

    Val@ 0800Numbers: I can almost see your fist clenching. Throat punches ahoy!

  26. 26 Val@ 0800Numbers

    You have become my little voice of encouragement from thousands of miles away!!!
    (Wish he was!!!)

  27. 27 JD

    Val$ 0800Numbers: Punch, punch, punch! But make it look like an accident.

  28. 28 Val@ 0800Numbers

    The mind boggles, how can I make “punch, punch, punch” look like an accident?

  29. 29 JD

    Val@ 0800Numbers: Put on your coat in proximity to the offending humming guy. Pretend you can’t get your arm through — it’s stuck. Keep trying to push your arm through (while sneaking closer and closer) and then BAM! Your arm comes out the sleeve hole and your fist connects with his jaw. DONE!

  30. 30 Val@ 0800Numbers

    Wicked idea!!!!

    I feel a bit refreshed as its a Monday and I’ve had a few days away from the humming. Its as the week progresses I start to get twitchy!!

    Will try really hard to be patient………watch this space :)

  31. 31 JD

    Val@ 0800Numbers: We’re watching . . . and waiting.

  32. 32 Val@ 0800Numbers

    In case you wondered, ……………… I am trying so hard to keep a new years resolution and be more tolerant! Its hard cos there is no denying this man is extemely irritating but I have come to the conclusion he just cant help it. I suppose it takes all sorts and I am no saint, so I am trying not to let the humming etc get to me, I’ll let you know if I cave in :)
    Happy New Year by the way!

  33. 33 JD

    Val@ 0800Numbers: VAL! Happy New Year! I was wondering. I’m glad to hear you’re taking the high road and not considering murder. Keep us posted, and good luck!

  34. 34 Val@ 0800Numbers

    I just caved in!!!!

    I am ashamed to say he got the better of me yesterday and I was close to murdering the man. My only course of action was to clear out of the office (think everyone thought I was about to throw up the way I flew out of the door) and calm down in the ladies toilets.

    Hope I am a bit calmer today and he wont get to me!!! :(

  35. 35 JD

    Val@ 0800Numbers: Hang in there! You didn’t really cave in—you managed to take action against your baser urges. I KNOW you can keep from murdering him!

  36. 36 Val@ 0800Numbers

    The weekend is coming up so I only have one more day to go:) I will try to hang on in there!!

  37. 37 JD

    Val@ 0800Numbers: Let me know!

  38. 38 Val@ 0800Numbers

    Want to punch his lights out today!!!! Help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  39. 39 JD

    Val@0800Numbers: Deep breaths! Deep breaths!

  40. 40 Val@ 0800Numbers

    You’re a tonic!!!!

  41. 41 JD

    Val@ 0800Numbers: Ha! Thanks. I know you can do it!

  42. 42 Val@ 0800Numbers

    Just in case you wondered JD he is still alive!!!
    There are many times over the last 10 months that I have felt like committing murder, but he is still here and still just as annoying but I am learning to live with it.
    We now have another person here in the office who I cunningly positioned so that she sits in between us, so it sort of muffles things a bit.

    Anyway JD hope you and yours have a great xmas. Still love your blog :)

  43. 43 JD

    Val@ 0800Numbers: Hey, good to hear from you! I’m sorry, tho, to hear “he” is still around. Glad you were able to devise a muffler. Sometimes that’s all you can do. Happy holidays to you, and thanks for popping in!

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