The past two weeks at my gym have been odd. Not because I have to choose odd exercises to compensate for this hurting foot, though that hasn’t been spectacular.
It’s been odd at my gym because…everyone’s being so nice to each other.
Normally, I’m totally anonymous. And I kinda like it that way. I like being quietly left to my workout so I can lose myself in my breath and my awesome music. I can get oddly anxious about things most people don’t think twice about. If I think someone is watching me, I inherently put on a small show. Whether or not they actually are watching. It’s the performer that comes out. And I love the performer- she’s my favorite version of myself- but she gets a lot of time already in Briana-world. Sometimes, I like to be the quiet, awkward, unfriendly, poorly dressed girl who clearly didn’t brush her hair this morning that’s lifting in the corner while everyone around her swears she’s a lesbian. I like her because she’s totally different than my somewhat put-together, friendly, out-going funny flirty girl. I’m very much both people- just different versions of myself depending on my circumstances.
What does any of this have to do with the people around me being friendlier? Well, if I know them by name and see them often, I could start feeling self-conscious when I’m around them. Because I know them. We’ve had a conversation. I’m expected to be friendly now. I should probably make small talk. At some point, we may talk about what we both do outside the gym. I’ve got to always be sure I wave hello and goodbye if I’m waking by because I’m midwestern and we’re really polite and that’s just what you do with people you know. I can’t just be lost in my own thoughts anymore, I now have to be aware in case someone I know is around.
I’ve seen this one guy several times. He works at the gym. He’s often there when I am. Last week, he smiled at me. Then a few days later, he half waved when he saw me. Then the next time I came in, he scanned my card introduced himself. Now I know his name. And he knows mine. He smiled at me again when I walked out of the locker room and headed to my workout. As I write this, I realize this could sound flirty. It’s not. It’s just friendly. But the point is, he knows me know. And I know him. We’ve got eye contact established. Now I have to be nice to him.
The last time I went to the gym, a new guy was working the desk. When he scanned me in, he made small talk then said “Have a nice workout, Briana” and smiled again. Now I gotta be nice to this guy, too.
It’s confusing. I don’t know if I like it or not. We’ll see.
Maybe it’ll make me workout harder, though, if I think people are watching me.
That is, of course, when my foot starts cooperating again and I can return to my normal routine.
Until then, I drink a Bud Light Lime and I write about working out.