Gym Bully

There is no creature more nefarious than the Gym Bully. He claims dominion over all apparatus: acting as if proximity were deeds of entitlement. I believe that’s how many wars start – the claimant seeing greener grass and stomping over. The irony of the situation was that I’d left my bottle of Buxton water there – about 25ml full – from an earlier attempt at the Matrix. According to German Sun Lounger Towling Rules of Territory, it was mine.

My protestations were meek; actions always speak louder than words anyway. My actions were a scowl (which is the natural figuration for someone of my race/level of fitness and standing in a gym). I could have walked away, channelling pity towards him. I might have been more forward, verging on adamant and aggressive. I instead acted under the guise of compassion (in reality trying to divert confrontation) and proposed we use the betentacled machine together.

I’ve seen men sulkily play with a toy or denial of some base pleasure, but never the double-pronged rope of the Matrix. Facing directly forwards, almost pressed against the pod, he made his distaste clear for a) leading a failed insurrection against a (meek) spindly, sweaty novice, and b) sharing multi-player gym equipment with a (probably machine-misusing) spindly, sweaty novice.

If the Matrix were an actual game – and I care as much for board games as I do the gym and competitive sports or industries – it would be the all purpose Ludo, Snakes & Ladders, Backgammon and Chess. I wonder how Gym Bully would fare in these intrinsically civil games? Would he accuse the fates of continuing their vendetta against him? Is it possible to preordain a dice throw to always reach a ladder? Gym Bully would caustically grumble that yes, yes it is. And everybody has learnt how to do it but him. And it’s an unfair advantage. None of those games require much skill or strength anyway. Chess is elitist and requires a partner to practise – and he’s always been a bit of a loner. Maybe that’s why he doesn’t want to share. Maybe that’s why he convinced Gym equipment remains stagnant in time until he sees fit to validate it with his presence: it’s no one else but him in the world. Man to Gym what Tumbleweed is to desert. I suppose he did get pity in the end. And compassion: I left after 25..erm..’pulls’ for pastures new. I’ll get the hat-trick next time and actually speak in a higher decibel when I lead a resistance.

...were you using it?…‘  / ‘Were you using it, REALLY?’

‘...that’s not the way it works.../ ‘‘HA, That’s not the way it works, AND YOU KNOW IT’


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