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Monday, January 30, 2006
Sharing: It's not just for three-year olds
Last night, I was over at my sister's house having dinner and spoiling my neice and nephew. At one point, Davis was hauling out some toys and pulled out one of Gracelyn's toys that she wasn't using. From across the room, I heard Gracelyn yell, "That's my toy!" and go running across the room, grab the toy and put it back in the toy box.

"Why can't you share with Davis?" her father asked.

"Because it's mine," she said.

And seemingly, to Gracelyn's mind, the arguement was over. Of course, she's just going on four and so this stage of selfishness and not sharing should end when she turns 40 or so.

Earlier today, my good friend Katherine Coble wrote a long post, responding to Kay West's "review" of the new Maggiano's restuarant that just opened up on West End. In the review, West spends at least four paragraphs talking about looking at all the people she's call Resolutionaries who show each year the YMCA for approximately six or so week (I think it ends around Valentine's Day in most cases). In the article, I got the impression that West was kind of a "Y snob" and basically saying, "Well, I was here first so why don't y'all get out of my way so I can exercise since I'm a real exercise person and all of you are not."

I made a comment in Katherine's blog about it in a humorous vein, but I forgot that sometimes it's hard to tell vocal inflection in a text only post. So, instead of cluttering up Katherine's blog with a long reply, I figured I'd weigh in on it here. (Plus I get to tell a story about Gracelyn and Davis, which is one of my favorite things).

I'll admit it--I can be a bit of a Y snob at times. In a lot of ways, the interplay between Gracelyn and Davis last night was similiar to a conversation that we had in power cycling last week.

Cute girl #1: What time did you have to call to get on the list for class today?
Me (Stunned that cute girl #1 has spoken to me and isn't macing me for looking at her the wrong way): I usually call Sunday afternoons as early as I can. I think yesterday was around 1 or so.
Cute girl #2: Yeah, I called around then, too.
Cute girl #1: I called around two and got the last slot. How is it that this class is so popular.
Instructor: Well, it's the first of the year, it's cold outside and people are coming inside. Plus you have new people joining and trying the class.
Lady on waiting list: Well, I hope they don't show up cause I want a bike and I've been coming since it started.
Instructor: Oh, it'll all slow down soon....
Cute girl #2: Should we call help for the guy who called around one yesterday? He has a vacant look of disbelief on his face.
Me: I can't believe y'all spoke to me....I'm stunned. Will you marry me?!?
Cute girl #2: Creep!
Cute girl #1: Don't even look at me!

OK, so maybe that's not exactly how it went, but you get the idea...

Interesting that the type of Y-snobbery exists...and heaven help me, I'm part of it. I think part of it is that I have a certain routine and by jimminy, I don't like it disrupted. What if--gasp!!--I had to wait 30 seconds for a machine. Or worse yet--how can this new person not know that it's mine, mine, mine, dammit!

And we wonder why people get discouraged and we stop seeing them?

I will admit, I'm selfish. But I am working on it. I'm trying to be better.

But it can be a bit harder if you're a swimmer. With a stair-stepper or an exericse bike, there is a right and a wrong way to use it. If you're pedaling the exercise bike with your hands, that is the wrong way to go about it. Also, if you're sitting on the treadmill for ten minutes just chatting and not moving, that could be a problem. The thing is, if you misuse a piece of equipment you could break it or--worse yet--hurt yourself. And so the staff can correct you or politely show yo the right way to use it.

Not as much with the pool.

I think people have good memories of playing in the pool from their younger days. I know I do and I loved it. I still do love it. I find swimming to be very refreshing and theraputic for me both physically and mentally.

But there are times when I just want to scream--this is my pool, you go away!

I wish we had some simple rules that would help everyone. For example, if you're gonna share lap lanes, please use googles. They put enough chlorine in an indoor pool to bottle it and call it Chlorox. Trust me- you don't want to look like the crew of Galactica from "33" when you're done swimming. Also, I think that we should share and share alike. If I have the lane to myself, I will share it with you. And I ask the same thing in return. Last year, I was waiting for a lane and a woman came in. She started to go off on how she always shared a lane and no one would let her share one now and it was just horribly unfair. I didn't say anything and eventually someone saw me and shared a lane. She was upset at that I got a lane even though I was there first and was sharing. Funny thing--I saw her there a few days later with a lane to herself. Someone came in, asked to share and she said no....

Irony, much?

And swimmers remember. We're our own little clique and we know who shares and who doesn't. Trust me--I've seen it.

But I'm working on it. I don't want to be a pool snob. I do want others to use and enjoy their membership. And maybe have that resolution last past Valentine's Day. I was a newbie once and I still remember how it was. Heck, I use a couple of Y's around town, so in some ways I'm always gonna be a newbie.

I'm working on's just hard for me. My inner three-year old isn't as good at sharing as he should be.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 1/30/2006 03:52:00 PM | |
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