I don’t know what it was about this week, but it was a rather long one. Obviously, it had the same number of days as all other weeks. Yet, this felt interminably long. And while I have felt worn down by the week, apparently others have felt even worse. Or so I have overheard.
People nowadays feel free to air their problems in public for all to hear and see (yes see). Couples openly fight on Facebook. People hold business discussions while in the car, train or bus. At one point, it used to be that gyms were a place of peace and quiet. Well, except for the grunts and the sounds of the barbells falling to the ground. Now, though, you hear people talking all the time at the gym. The voices are often onesided. Everyone is on their phone now while at the gym. And they will say whatever comes to mind and talk about very personal matters. At times, I flinch at what I overhear and try to blast my music to the max.
This past week, in particular, I overheard three different people talking about a cancer diagnosis. Whoa! The conversations were so matter of fact that they were chilling in a way. I heard one person disclose to an apparent close other. I heard one person discuss treatment options with a doctor. I heard another discuss life plans with a friend. Are those conversations you want to have while running on a treadmill? I suppose, every moment counts mentality seeps in to the moment.
Is it wrong to feel it’s a cruel world in which people discuss illness and dying while at a gym with strangers? It seems so alien, cold and unnerving. I want to maybe hug the person but I’m not a hugger. So, I don’t. I do what everyone else does in the gym during such overheard conversations. I kept running. Maybe that is the point of those type of out loud personal conversations in public spaces. People may have those types of conversations so that they can vent and get a moment of sympathy and then just have everyone go onabout their normal business. Often you don’t even see those people again. Well, not in my gym. I see the same people repeatedly. But you still have a moment of venting to an audience and being able to move on.
I myself have had weird conversations on the elliptical or treadmill. I have counseled staff. I have had conversations where we tried to get someone to agree to a particular deal. I may have even sounded like a paranoid executive at times while running up a sweat. That’s the trouble with answering the phone while working out. With all the adrenaline coursing through your body, who knows what you will say and how you will say it. That’s why I hate talking on the phone now. I rather stick with texting.