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The Treadmill Point of View

Ms. Jeanne,

First I want to say I’ve been reading the etiquette hell site for years and thoroughly enjoy it. In fact, I feel the tidbits from it have made me a better member of society. Now for my story and question.

I moved to a large metropolitan area around six months ago and find myself still adapting to “city life”. I’ve lived in large cities before but have never noticed the gross lack of common decency I seem to find here. I live in a typical multi-level apartment building which I chose in part because of it’s lovely landscaping. The courtyard is very attractive and even the front of the building is covered in fauna and has a small lawn. The building also has a wonderful exercise facility that faces the front of the building. I almost exclusively use the treadmills which face very large windows, looking over the small lawn and onto a street. I enjoy being able to watch the world go by and soak up some sunshine while exercising in the evening.

The other day I was walking and had already been on the treadmill for awhile (I typically walk 30-40 minutes). A woman came in to use the treadmill next to me and proceeded to close the blinds on the floor to ceiling windows! Sadly, because of the size of the windows, this also blocked my view. I made of a point of looking at her to try to get her attention to voice my preference regarding the open blinds and she refused to look at me. She then left for five minutes, leaving me continuing my workout with my view now blocked. She then finally came back and moved to a different machine altogether, leaving my blinds closed and closing another blind in the process!

I admit – I didn’t say anything to her or voice my preference because I was so flabbergasted she’d make that adjustment without asking. Additionally, in my opinion I think my preference was priority because I was there before she showed up. So, the question I pose to you is whether it was ok for her to close the blinds without inquiring as to the preference of the others in the area. Additionally, am I right to assume that my preference overrides hers because I was there first?

I find my “traditional Midwest” manners are outright ignored here and I want to know how others would approach this situation, balancing the line between aggressive and polite.   0908-16

Are there little critters, squirrels, chipmunks, snakes, all over the front of the building? Sorry….couldn’t help myself….

In my opinion,  being the first one on a community shared resource does not always equate to having preferential priority.  When you own something yourself then you have priority to exercise your preferences but when the community owns it, no one has priority preference.  I swim at a local fitness center and nothing irks me more than people who think they own the pool lane because they are the first one in it.   There are only six lanes and each lane can accommodate at least 2 swimmers on a busy day but no, the first person in the lane hogs it by refusing to move to one side of the lane or will vocally express their ownership of the lane.   Sorry, the posted pool etiquette does not give you that exclusive right to the pool lane.

Ideally, the newcomer to the exercise facility should have asked if you minded her closing the blinds and had she done so, you would have been obligated to yield your preferences to hers considering the fact that you have just enjoyed a large percentage of your workout with open blinds and a lovely view.    Or you can say,  “Excuse me, I prefer the blinds open so as to enjoy the sunlight.  I’ll be done in 5 minutes.”


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • koolchicken September 13, 2016, 5:16 am

    As a person with an unusual sensitivity to sunlight, I have to say, despite my preference for closed blinds, had I not been there first, I’d have asked if the other walker minded before I adjusted the view. The workout space is shared. So I would not feel I had priority whether I was there first or not. It’s simply the considerate thing to do.

    That said, if I were walking on a treadmill with the blinds closed and someone tried to open them, I’d actually say something. Not being a mind reader isn’t rude. You said nothing. If you have a preference you need to voice it, otherwise your just “that weird woman who stares”. Next time, if someone is headed towards the cord when you’re still enjoying the sunlight simply say “I’d prefer the blinds open, thank you”. Then if the other person really wants them closed, you can engage in a solution that, hopefully, makes everyone happy. Its like my Mum says, “if you don’t tell people what you want, you’re going to be disappointed”.

  • Tabitha September 13, 2016, 5:43 am

    So in the mid-west, no one would ever do anything this thoughtless? I find that so hard to beleive. I also think it is a situation that would be considered “irritating” more than an example of poor manners.
    Maybe, in the city, one has to adapt to the idea that a lot of space is shared with others, so it isn’t a lack of manners that you’re experiencing, but a different understanding of manners. Who knows why this woman did what she did, and then ended up changing her mind. But these are the kinds of things that, while it’s o.k. to be annoyed by, one really has to let it just roll right out of ones mind. You enjoyed the majority of your work out in a communal gym in your personal ideal conditions.
    That is the part to focus on.
    Communal living can be challenging and often irritating, but patience is your friend here. What if the other was first in the gym playing music at an unbeatable volume with every blind closed? Would your mid-west values mean you would happily go along with it because she was first?
    My point being, you should not have to. You would have to turn down the music first before stating “Sorry, it’s a bit too loud for me.” There needs to be a little give and take both ways.
    I get that in this situation communication from this woman would have been nice, but when you are surrounded by an increased population, you get an increased variety of personalities. So before you condem the “not the mid-west” to a bunch of mannerless, nature ignoring, people. Try to understand that you will, often run in to personalities you don’t get. Just as you will th into many wonderful and generous people.
    And please, don’t ever vocalize your thoughts on the inferiority of mannerisms in the “not mid-west”, it won’t likely come across as a friendly lesson in manners.

    • Lila September 13, 2016, 2:01 pm

      Nice manners are everywhere. They just may be different manners than what someone is used to. And there are PLENTY of rude people in the midwest. It’s interesting how manners can stand out though. My 18 year old daughter and I attended a rock concert recently and she just shook her head and muttered , “Minnesota Nice.” when about the 20th person let us by with a wave and a smile and the 50th said excuse me and thank you as they passed. It was pretty amazing really. She also called me from the Twin Cities the other day where she just started college and said, “I don’t think I’ve opened a door for myself yet.” She kind of loves how you can see people treating each other kindly each day. But we’ve traveled a bit and have encountered New York City Nice and D.C. Nice and Chicago Nice and New Orleans Nice too. So it’s not just the midwest – or the North as most Minnesotans think of ourselves. People tend to be nice if you are nice first.

      • AFS September 16, 2016, 10:26 am

        I’m Minnesota born-and-raised, though I’ve lived in major cities my entire adult life (Chicago, Istanbul and New York). Quite honestly, I find New Yorkers’ candor refreshing. Here, there are 12 million people jammed onto a tiny archipelago. Obviously, there are going to be rules of decorum and consideration that just don’t come into play when people are more spread out. Moreover, people just don’t have the time or inclination to get their point across. The idea is to be direct, though with tact.

        Minnesota, on the other hand, is the land of passive-aggression. There’s this whole code that gets lost in translation to the uninitiated that comes off being really sweet though is just poison wrapped in sugar coating. For example, “That’s interesting” actually means either “you’re nuts” or “that’s really effing boring.” In warm weather, wearing a tank top can inspire comments from certain camps as “you’re looking summery,” e.g. “I can see your bra.”

        Whenever I go back, I just respond directly to whatever the other person was trying to intimate backhand. They get left hemming and hawing and I succeed in direct communication.

        tl;dr “Minnesota Nice” is often nothing but.

        • AFS September 16, 2016, 10:35 am

          *anything but

    • crebj September 13, 2016, 7:39 pm

      Yes, the “I’m just a poor little midwesterner” trope gets old.

      • Pat September 14, 2016, 8:58 am

        Yes, I agree. I can give examples of rude Southerners (aren’t they known for their politeness?) and polite, helpful New Yorkers (aren’t they known for their rudeness?).

      • LeeLee88 September 14, 2016, 10:39 am

        Yeah, I was kind of waiting for the “St. Olaf” references to start popping up.

    • Kat September 14, 2016, 8:11 am

      Yeah, as a midwesterner myself I can vouch for the fact that we’re as rude as anybody else 🙂

      • crebj September 14, 2016, 9:59 pm

        Bless your heart. ;>

  • o_gal September 13, 2016, 6:17 am

    I agree with Admin but I also agree with you. Just because you are there first on a treadmill does not give you control over an entire room. But the woman should have asked you first. And if she does, you reply like Admin suggests. If she doesn’t ask, you politely state that you prefer the blinds to be open. However, be prepared for her to answer that she has a condition with her eyes (photophobia is one) that makes them very sensitive to sunlight and that she needs to close the blinds.

    • Kay_L September 16, 2016, 12:04 pm

      She can wear sunglasses then. Just because she has an eye issues doesn’t give her “control over an entire room.”

      The woman was very rude, seeing as she made the change, left and then when she came back used a different machine altogether.

  • Michelle September 13, 2016, 7:40 am

    I think you should just speak up and use Admin’s phrasing. Offer to close the blinds as you leave.

  • Aleko September 13, 2016, 7:57 am

    This is a true conflict of interest with no right answer. You wanted sunlight, she wanted shade, you couldn’t both get what you wanted. It’s exactly parallel to a problem that used to come up in the TV room of my student hall, way back in prehistory when you couldn’t watch TV on your PC and there was no such thing as catch-up, or YouTube, or even movies to rent: one or two people would be in there watching a film on the (single) TV, then more people would come in to watch the live football match that was about to start on another channel. Who had preference? – the majority? the people who were there first? – or the people watching the programme of most cultural value, whatever that was? Whoever ceded the issue or lost the argument was genuinely going to lose out.

    I doubt if this is anything to do with country v city manners. My guess, and it’s just a guess, is that this woman had previously tried asking if she could close the blinds and having got the answer ‘No’ had felt unable to protest; but she correctly figured that if she just went ahead and closed them, the odds were that the other person there would similarly feel unable to protest.

    • o_gal September 14, 2016, 6:17 am

      We had the same issues with the two TV lounges in my dorm. One was large and in a more public area; one was smaller and in the basement. Both operated on the same rule – person currently watching gets to control the TV. So if the Super Bowl was on TV, but the large lounge was already occupied by people watching 60 Minutes, the people already there retained control until their program was over. Those people have since subscribed to eHell and learned that that may not have been the most polite thing to do LOL.

  • mm September 13, 2016, 8:04 am

    OP, this woman can’t read your mind. you looked at her and she apparently refused to look at you and understand what you want from your silence. Most likely she’s just living her life. I don’t think people are as conspicuous as we think we are. I think admin is right; you could have voiced your opinion or stopped your workout to open the blinds when the woman left.

    • Goldie September 13, 2016, 1:59 pm

      Yes, this jumped out at me too. Not only does the woman still have no idea what OP wanted, but the odds are, she’s probably writing to an etiquette site right now: “I came to the gym at my apartment complex the other day to exercise and this woman, whom I don’t know, was glaring and staring at me the entire time. Was she being rude?” For crying out loud, if you want something, ask for it. Worst that can happen is the other person will say no. Don’t just glare. I hope that’s not a Midwest thing, because I’ve been living here for close to 20 years and have probably failed to notice, and address, hundreds of “pointed looks” over this time, if that really is a thing.

      • Kay_L September 16, 2016, 12:06 pm

        Exercise rooms are not exactly quiet and when you are in the middle of a workout it’s not really easy to express an opinion without having to shout it.

        The onus was the on the woman who came later to ask anyone already there if they objected to her changing the environment.

  • Jessa Buckley September 13, 2016, 8:13 am

    there is another solution. You might want to talk to the property manager and suggest that they rearrange some equipment so that some is by the window and some is not. Preference for either sunlight or view differs. Some people may be embarrassed to exercise where people might look in. Some people might be photosensitive. Give everyone the options to have equipment (surely there is more than one of each machine.

    • Devin September 14, 2016, 4:50 pm

      In both the large US cities I’ve recently lived, there seems to be a trend of new apartmemt buildings installing their fitness centers at ground level with large windows on all sides. I hadn’t even thought of the fact the other gym goer may have been self-conscious of pedestrians watching her workout. The polite thing would still be to ask before making changes to shared spaces, but I can understand that a woman jogging may not wish to be oggled by passers-by.
      The complex where i previously lived had a small center by the pool and windows were never an issue but TV/ music control was. The machines had individual screens with headphone jacks but the large TV played over the sound system. There was also a docking station for MP3 players. They finally put a limiter on the sound system because people would turn up the TV or MP3 to be heard over each other and could be heard by all surrounding apartments. ‘Free’ workout facilties seem to bring out the rude boars no matter what region you live in.

  • abby September 13, 2016, 8:31 am

    I think if I were OP, as soon as she left the first time, I would have hopped off the treadmill and reopened the blinds. That is a non confrontational indication that you prefer the blinds open.

    Perhaps this woman is overbearing; or perhaps she just assumed you didn’t care about the blinds, or maybe even wanted them closed but didn’t feel comfortable closing them yourself, and she was doing you a favor. Regardless, I think filing this one under “gross lack of common decency” is being a bit dramatic. At worst, she was thoughtless.

  • Anna September 13, 2016, 8:52 am

    I don’t think there’s anything particularly rude about closing blinds in a shared space. People make these kinds of adjustments all the time. For example, I ride the bus a lot, and there are windows you can open if you want. Sometimes people get up and open them because they are hot or want fresh air or what have you. No one takes a poll as to who wants the windows open or closed. If someone else is too cold, they can pipe up and voice their own preferences.

  • NostalgicGal September 13, 2016, 10:02 am

    I would have spoke up as soon as she started to adjust the blinds, politely. The fact you didn’t means she did as she wished. Next time speak up politely and as soon as someone starts a blind adjust.

    • Anna Wood September 13, 2016, 12:50 pm

      Exactly. If you don’t speak up, you can’t expect people to read your mind. And when the woman left why didn’t you adjust the blinds?

      There is an old joke about new people moving to town. One couple asks an old man what people are like around here and the old man asks them what people were like where they came from. The couple replies that the people were rude and unfriendly. The old man replies that people were like that here.
      Lather another couple asked the old man the same question and when the old man asked them what it was like in their previous town, they told him that the people there were friendly and nice. The old man told them that the people around here were like that.

  • sam September 13, 2016, 10:14 am

    One thought. If there are floor to ceiling windows with a “lovely” view of the outside…

    then that also means that anyone who is outside has a full view of everyone who is in the gym and working out. That may be perfectly fine for some people, but a lot of people are incredibly self-conscious about being seen working out (or being seen working out by people who aren’t themselves in the gym). Having belonged to gyms with big picture windows, I’ll note that at least one had to hire a security guard to basically spend his time chasing away creepy starers.

    Also, no one can read your mind.

    • Shalamar September 14, 2016, 9:07 am

      Agree, sam. At my old gym, the security guard had to chase away a guy who was staring through the window at the ladies doing aerobics – he was “giving himself a workout”, if you catch my drift.

  • Willynilly September 13, 2016, 10:19 am

    As a city dweller I take exception to your comment about your ‘”traditional Midwest’ manners [being] outright ignored”. Yiu were not particularly polite in this story, simply excessively passive. Passive isn’t rude per say, but its nit an exercise is politeness either.

    For all the other woman knew, you didn’t care one bit anout the shades. She didn’t know because you didn’t say “excuse me” to get her attention and tell her. You just expected her to read your mind.

    Crowded urban areas require sharing space. If you have a want or need regarding shared space, you must communicate it, or recognise you have given up on it. Communication can be verbal, or physical, but its not just mentally willing something to be a certain way.

  • Cat September 13, 2016, 11:09 am

    I worked with a man like this. I would come in early to the teacher’s lounge to review the lessons I had planned for the day. Since it was dark outside and I had the lights one in the room, I kept the blinds drawn. The building was not locked and I was a young woman working alone. The gates were open and I left safer if it could not be seen that I was alone.
    A male teacher would breeze through, grab a cup of coffee, open the blinds and leave the building. I’d close the blinds. He’d come back for a second cup, see the closed blinds and demand, “I opened those! Don’t you touch them!” and off he’d go again.
    Weird man.

    • Amanda H. September 13, 2016, 8:14 pm

      What is it with people claiming ownership over things like blinds when they’re not even going to stay put in the room?

  • Princess Buttercup September 13, 2016, 11:10 am

    She was a bit rude for closing the blinds without asking if you minded. But you were a bit rude to expect her to read your mind and then stew about it when she didn’t.

    Ideally you should have said, “I like the blinds open, but if that bothers you maybe we could meet in the middle by leaving them open part way?”. But if you’re too afraid to speak up then when she left the room you could have opened them back up. You act as though you are incapable of helping yourself but since you were on a treadmill I don’t believe you are.

  • SamiHami September 13, 2016, 11:53 am

    OP, I don’t understand why you didn’t just speak up and tell her you prefer the blinds open.

  • Dee September 13, 2016, 12:57 pm

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who couldn’t ignore OP’s declaration that the lawn of her building is swarming with … what, vermin? Ewwwww ….

    • LeslieLest September 13, 2016, 1:56 pm

      I laughed when I read that part thinking I had made a mistake! My goodness, I hope there are screens in the windows!

    • Amanda H. September 13, 2016, 8:15 pm

      Not everyone sees squirrels and birds as vermin.

      That being said, I suspect OP got “fauna” and “flora” mixed up.

      • Ulla September 14, 2016, 5:09 am

        😀 Well, our apartment complex’s front yard is quite filled with fauna too, I observe squirrels, bunnies and birds regularly with great delight. However, they tend to stay out of the walls. Except when they are climbing the walls of course x)

  • Lila September 13, 2016, 1:46 pm

    I think that a lot of people would think closing blinds in a gym would not be that big of a deal to anyone. It’s not something that would usually disturb a person’s workout in a gym like loud music (that drowns out your own playlist) or intermittent grunting can. In a restaurant or some such place where you go for ambiance it would definitely be something someone should keep in mind altering their surroundings. It would have been nice if the person had asked the OP’s preference but I don’t think the person should be in etiquette hell. The person doing it probably thought it didn’t matter in that particular venue.

    • Shalamar September 14, 2016, 9:08 am

      “It’s not something that would usually disturb a person’s workout in a gym like loud music (that drowns out your own playlist) or intermittent grunting can. ”

      Or someone literally screaming “YES! YES!” at the TV attached to his treadmill as his home team scored a goal.

  • kingsrings September 13, 2016, 2:00 pm

    Similar happens at the gym I belong to when it comes to the fans being on or off. I think it’s rude when someone is already there working out with the fan blowing on them to just come along and turn it off because YOU don’t want it on. Yet people do that sometimes at my gym.

  • Lerah99 September 13, 2016, 2:19 pm

    I have a gym at work.
    It’s a small gym: 3 treadmills, 2 ellipticals, 2 rowing machines, 2 bikes, weight machines, free weights, and a small exercise floor.

    Recently I decided to start walking a mile a day to get into better shape.
    Since Florida is insanely hot and humid this time of year, I decided to use the gym rather than the boardwalk around the lake in the back of my office.

    Full disclosure, I am a very fat woman. I’m 5’4″ and 380lbs.

    Out of the 3 treadmills available, only 1 will work for me.
    The other two treadmills are only good up to 300lbs. On those two the belts slow down and the treadmills freeze if I try to use them.

    I spoke with the woman who runs our gym to find out if 11am would be a good time to use the gym. I wanted to make sure it was before the lunch rush. She confirmed that people don’t start showing up until noon and no one is ever on the treadmills at 11am.

    For the first 3 weeks, everything goes perfectly.
    I post pictures to social media about my mile walks followed by a little yoga.

    Then on Monday of week 4, I hit the gym and there’s a woman on the only treadmill I can use.
    I use other equipment and shrug it off.
    Then Tuesday, she’s there again.

    Then Wednesday I catch her in the locker room after she’s done and say “Hey, I’ve been working out at 11am to walk a mile. But I can only use the treadmill you’ve been using the last 3 days. Would you mind using one of the other two?”

    She responds “Sorry, the belt is smoother on that one so I don’t like the other two. I started working out again because I’ve been so inspired by your posts the last couple of week. Keep up the good work.”

    So I moved my lunch time to 3pm. Because she has every right to use that treadmill.
    I spoke up and asked if she’d be willing to compromise. She made it clear that she’s not.

    I could have pouted and refused to use the gym any more.
    I could have started a passive aggressive campaign of trying to beat her into the gym by 5 minutes so I could get “my treadmill”.

    But part of the deal with shared spaces is that sometimes you have to be the one willing to bend.
    My work schedule is flexible enough that I’m able to change my lunch hour.

    So rather than going in before the lunch crowd, now I go in after the lunch crowd.

    You don’t want the blinds closed, the solution is to say “I prefer looking out the window. Would you mind leaving the blinds open?”

    She might be ok with them being open.
    Or she might say “I can’t stand people being able to see me” or “It’s too hot with the blinds open” or “I’m dating a vampire and he has an allergic reaction if I get too much sunlight”.

    But you have to SAY something to even start the conversation.
    Staring at her and brooding about it only makes you unhappy.
    It certainly doesn’t let her know that you want the blinds open.

    • Kamatari September 13, 2016, 8:48 pm

      Wait wait wait… She was inspired by you to start working out, but is willingly being a hindrance to you? How rude!

    • Anon September 13, 2016, 9:42 pm

      She was allowed to do that but it’s still slightly insulting only because she said she was SPECIFICALLY inspired by your posts.

      So then when the person she was ‘inspired’ by asks if she could move because there’s only one treadmill that will actually work with their weight, they say “no” because they have a slightly smoother walk on that one.

      Just kind of amazing. Not that she was in the wrong, but I would absolutely allow someone on that treadmill if it was literally the only one there that actually work with their weight.

      At my apartment complex we have 3 ellipticals (only 2 of which work) and one definitely has a noise and is slightly harder to move. Only reason I get annoyed by people taking them is because I can actually jog/run using the elliptical, but refuse to do so on the treadmill because it hurts the knees and ankles, but I’ve never voiced it out loud.

    • Melissa September 14, 2016, 9:04 am

      I just had to jump in and say good for you Lerah99! The coworker is pretty rude to refuse to use another treadmill when you let her know politely that you CAN’T use them, especially given that she was inspired by you! But good on you for staying polite, realizing that you just can’t have everything your way (even if the other person is super rude) and making your own adjustments and moving on with life. And soon enough you’ll be able to use any of the treadmills yourself, and I’m sure you’ll be okay using one that’s less smooth if someone else is using your preferred treadmill 🙂

  • Cat2 September 13, 2016, 3:49 pm

    You made a point of looking at her, trying to catch her attention.

    Did you try the words “Excuse me” or “Hello” as an attention-getter?

    If you did, then EvilMe™ would have gone over to her treadmill as soon as I was done with my routine and opened her blinds and then walked away.

    If you didn’t, then sorry – she may have “refused to look at you” or she may have simply not noticed, but either way – you made it easy for her to do that, and that’s not on her at all.

  • Kaykay September 13, 2016, 3:57 pm

    She should have asked first, but since she did not, you should have voiced your preference. Never assume someone knows what you are thinking or feeling, it leads to misunderstandings like these.

  • Startruck September 13, 2016, 4:00 pm

    I think it’s the general consensus that you should have spoken up. But your question was , should she have closed the blinds without asking?. In my opinion, no. It was rude . But she may not have been rude on purpose. She probably didn’t even think about it. As far as the first come rule, I think it does apply in alot of situations. I mean , how else would you decide who gets their way , if it came down to it. Being there first has to hold SOME sway , imho. But again that depends on the situation. In this case it being a window which affects everyone in the room, I don’t think that applies. But yes, I still think she should have asked first .

  • Vanessaga81 September 13, 2016, 4:25 pm

    I used to work in a cubicle farm and my desk was by the window. I didn’t particularly mind the blinds being closed, even when it didn’t bother me, but I had a co-worker who used to lean across me while I was typing -think, her body in between me and my computer screen-and close the blind. It was super uncomfortable and interrupted my work (it was a call center so I was basically unable to help my customer until she moved). I cheerfully told her to shoot me an email if she wanted the blind closed and I’d be happy to do it, but she kept doing it herself until she got another job and left.

  • Sara k September 13, 2016, 9:34 pm

    My goodness, I’m shocked at how many angry “city-dwellers” are on here continuing to stereotype as they bash the country bumpkin midwesterners. She stated she had lived in many cities before. This was simply the first city she had a problem in. While it may be a shock that the Midwest has large cities (insert joking font please ), she could have lived all over the United states as well. Her comment on her Midwestern manners being ignored was clearly not a jab at city dwellers in general, but simply a statement of conflict in her current city.

    • Willynilly September 14, 2016, 7:02 am

      I have no doubt people in the midwest have manners. But their manners are not better (which seemed to be the OP’s stance). They are almost certainly different, but thats more to do with different situations calling for different responses, not due to being more polite.

      Using, and expecting in return, midwestern, suburban or rural manners in say NYC is actually at best misguided, sometimes downright rude. Because the needs and realities of a fast paced city dweller are different. Just like NYC manners don’t translate to slow paced and more physically spread out locales.

    • Tabitha September 14, 2016, 9:45 pm

      I didn’t see any angry city dwellers here, but again, there is evidence of irritation. “My traditional mid-western manners are out right ignored here”. is only a useful statement if one is suggesting that mid-western manners are known to be appropriate but are actively dismissed.
      If I stated, I went to “somewhere in the U.S.” and my traditional Canadian manners (read the word “sorry” is used every other sentence) are being ignored…would that not sound ridiculously absurd and a bit condescending?
      Really, “I went somewhere where I’m not from and people were behaving differently” would be less irritating than the phrase “my traditional manners”. I think we can safely say that superiority was inferred.

    • psammead September 16, 2016, 4:05 am

      I’m not seeing any “angry city dwellers bashing the country bumpkin midwesterners” in the comments. Attributing a “gross lack of common decency” to city dwellers is the only example of bashing in this thread, and it’s coming from the OP.

  • Rebecca September 13, 2016, 9:35 pm

    I live in a large Canadian city, and hell no, you don’t just walk into the fitness centre where people are already exercising and go change something without asking if the person already there minds, whether it’s to do with the fans, the music, the TV, or the windows. That being said, the person already there doesn’t get to dictate either. There is no hard and fast rule, but I’d find it nervy for someone to just waltz in and change something without a word.

    As for the pool lane etiquette the admin mentioned, I find this bizarre. Where is this a thing? I’ve been an avid swimmer all my life and I’ve never heard of anyone claiming ownership of a lane. It’s “keep right except to pass” and everyone swims in a loop. There are slow, medium, and fast lanes, and the rule is if you are continually being passed, move over to a slower lane. The number of people swimming in the lanes is basically as many as the number of people who show up, and if you don’t like swimming when it’s crowded, show up at less busy times or don’t bother at all. Never heard of anyone claiming a lane for themselves; that’s ridiculous.

    • kingsrings September 14, 2016, 10:33 am

      I dont swim anymore at my gym’s pool, but when I did, I hated sharing lanes. I felt boxed in and that I didn’t have any room to get my exercise. But I understood that during busy times patrons must split lanes, so I just wouldn’t use the pool if I couldn’t get my own lane. Problem solved!

    • Becca September 14, 2016, 10:58 am

      It very much depends on the pool and the community. In my favorite pool, there are very few lap swimmers at odd times of the day (outside of classes usually). So people are floored if you want to share a lane. I always expect someone to hop in with me but rarely ever have it happen.

      • Rebecca September 14, 2016, 9:19 pm

        That’s very bizarre to me, because at every pool I’ve ever been to, well you’re lucky if you have a lane to yourself, but I can’t imagine anyone expecting it or thinking nobody else has the right to hop in. So if there are six lanes (as in the admin’s case) and 6 people, nobody else can swim? An entire pool open for six people? I can see the value in going into an empty lane if someone was swimming in the next one over (which I think most people would do anyway, preferring to have an empty one) but if all six are in use then I’d just choose the one with the fewest people.

        The pool I go to that I like best has one big wide lane, tons of people, but enough room for everyone. The rule is stated on a sign: keep right except to pass, and don’t hang about on the area painted yellow at each end, so that people can touch the wall and turn, or do a flip turn if they wish. If you’re resting you move over to the side (not painted yellow) and when you want to go again you wait for a gap. Everyone is so polite – they kind of automatically line up to go (those who are resting) and we all look at each other and say, “You going?” “No, I’m resting, go ahead” – that kind of thing. I’d be seriously put off swimming altogether by people who thought their $5 admission fee entitled them to their own section of pool .

    • ddwwtlm September 16, 2016, 11:55 am

      I had an issue with lane sharing at our community pool over the summer. Basically they keep most of the pool open for the kids and families & designate 1 lane for lap swimmers. The older gentleman I was trying to share the lane with just didn’t seem to get how to share. Even after the lifeguard told him that he should be “circle swimming” . He just kept barreling right down the middle of the lane. I truly think it was just ignorance, but I suppose it could have been bullheaded selfishness. I ended up moving and swimming laps in the open pool but right next to the lane after he almost ran me over a couple times & it was clear he didn’t know how to share.

      • Rebecca September 16, 2016, 7:01 pm

        I hate it when pools have only one lane for lap swimming, because it just doesn’t work with people of different abilities. I am a relatively fast swimmer, though not as fast as some of the more serious swimmers. I showed up at a pool once that I hadn’t been to before, and they had only one lane open, and that lane was being used by an older gentleman who was very, very slow. And he had a very wide stroke so it was difficult to get around him without plowing into oncoming swimmers. It was very problematic. I tried to give him a pool length’s head start, but I always caught up to him. Yet, he and others of his ability have every right to be there, and should be able to be there and swim in peace. I just think having one lane only does not work. I won’t go again unless multiple lanes are open, for slow, medium and fast.

  • Anon September 13, 2016, 9:37 pm

    Reminds me of my college freshman year roommate. I would have the room at one temperature, she would come in, say from gym class and then put the temp way down, stay in the room for maybe ten minutes (so she wouldn’t even get to feel the effect of it) and then leave for HOURS at a time.

    Only reason I didn’t speak up about it is because I always forgot she did it and by the time I remembered that I COULD actually change the temperature in the room, it had already been a few hours. I was really distracted back then.

    • NostalgicGal September 14, 2016, 9:14 pm

      Yep, homework does that to you. My dorm had these huge windows and these weird daybeds with raised backs that had storage, but left a nice gap. My bed was by the window so I got the lovely cold draft off it. At -40 outside it was COLD. I couldn’t put the plastic insulating sheets that shrink with a hair dryer over it, which is what it needed, but I put plastic sheeting about 18″ and sealed to bottom and sides to trap the cold draft. Mostly hid by my overlapping bed. I didn’t freeze solid, it made room much warmer, and roomie-du-jour could still see out the big huge window. (I had musical roomies because of my insane amount of homework and hours of old fashioned drafting every day, can’t blame them but they couldn’t find a like major roomie for me to share with either, food and nutrition or fashion design with an engineer didn’t work)

  • chefnutmeg September 15, 2016, 9:30 am

    “She then left for five minutes, leaving me continuing my workout with my view now blocked. She then finally came back and moved to a different machine altogether, leaving my blinds closed and closing another blind in the process!”

    See, this is the line that jumped out at me the most. The woman didn’t ask to close the blinds, then didn’t even use the machine that was affected by them being open. Had that not been the case, I would have been in the camp of you speaking up would be better…in this case, I would just reopen the blinds

    • Jared Bascomb September 15, 2016, 7:51 pm

      That would work except that when you’re doing a high-intensity cardio workout, you can’t just get off the machine – that would ruin the whole point of the workout!

      • chefnutmeg September 16, 2016, 11:57 pm

        True enough. I work in a kitchen soo basically feel like I work out all day.

  • Emerald September 17, 2016, 5:13 am

    I went to a gym in a hotel I was staying in. When I entered there was one “lady” doing her routine. I jumped on the treadmill which, admittedly, is noisy (but this is a gym). The woman went over to the radio and turned it up real loud to compensate for my noisy treadmill. However, the speaker was just above the treadmill so I had to put up with LOUD morning jocks to keep her happy. Not courteous at all.

  • OP September 21, 2016, 8:28 am

    Hello all – thanks for your input. I wanted to clarify a few things after reading the comments. No, I don’t think all city dwellers are devoid of manners nor do I think all Midwesterners are polite as can be. I used the description so people might understand where I’m coming from, both literally and figuratively. I certainly didn’t mean to sound ‘superior’ as one poster said. Frankly, I’m frustrated after months of having doors shut in my face, almost being hit in the crosswalk, and people who can’t use the phrase excuse me. Fauna – actually, yes! There are rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks and lovely birds which is unusual here so I thought it was of note. Additionally, I hope the poor woman didn’t think I was staring at her! I was merely trying to make eye contact so I didn’t have to shout at her. I can see that my perceptions on how shared spaces work need some modification but I’m glad to know that most people feel it wouldn’t be rude to voice my preference.