Monday, January 28, 2013

gym etiquette...or lack thereof

Every January, the gyms fill up with new faces--people resolving to exercise more in the new year thinking, "This time, I'll stick with it." Yeah right, fatty.  They swarm in, tie up all the equipment, and hit on that cute girl you always see there but can't get up the nerve to ask out. It's like they have no manners.

Actually, I'm beginning to suspect that gyms are etiquette-free zones anyway. Even the regulars at my gym are about as conscious of the people around them as Terri Schiavo. (Oh relax--she's dead now. Tragedy + time. Yada yada.)

Exhibit A

My gym has numerous signs posted discouraging cell phone use as a courtesy to the other members. They might as well be printed in Cuneiform, in invisible ink, and in an entirely different building.

On one occasion, I walked into the locker room to find not one but two people talking on their phones (hopefully not to each other), one of which was a trainer. Maybe the phone use policy only applies to the workout areas. Still, I had to wonder: 1) What was it about the locker room that these people felt it was an appropriate environment to make a phone call? It's one step away from making a call in the crapper. 2) What was so important that it couldn't wait until they left the gym? The one guy was going on (quite loudly) about contracts and paperwork and business meetings and he probably just manages a Subway.

Exhibit B

There are eight shower stalls in the men's locker room--four each on opposing walls. The shower area can be entirely empty except for me and one other guy, and yet the odds are better than 50/50 that my newer shower buddy will take an adjacent stall when there are, mathematically, at least four other stalls that provide a one stall or greater buffer.

Now, men know about the personal space rules at urinals and bathroom stalls. It's required. They teach it to you after the secret man handshake. (Or man-shake, as it's sometimes called. Yeah, you ladies reading didn't know we had that, did you? If you ask your boyfriend about it and he says I'm making it up, keep in mind that he's probably bound by sacred oath to deny it exists.) For whatever reason, the guys at my gym don't seem capable of applying the same principle to shower stalls, even though it carries over by the transitive property or whatever. They think it's totally normal and in no way weird to shower in the stall right next to someone else if you don't have to.

But it gets better. I like to take advantage of my gym's jacuzzi, so I'll often be showering off after with a pair of wet trunks that I'll drape over the divider. Surely with wet swim trunks dripping down, encroaching on the next stall, no one would want to use it, right? Ha, ha--think again! If anything, it acts as a super powerful magnet that actually attracts anti-social behavior. Only in this case, a stranger's appearance in the stall next to mine is even more frustrating than usual because they're potentially splashing their shower water on my clean(ish) trunks. Way to not be an inconsiderate jackhole.

Exhibit C

As if my shower woes weren't impressively woeful enough, one time while I was in the shower, someone took the sneakers that I'd left just outside my locker and turned them in to lost and found. I had to walk downstairs to the front desk in my socks to retrieve them. Really, guy? Really?!?


I wonder if this is just at my gym, or if this a staple of gyms worldwide. Because I have a feeling that if anyone tried to pull this crap at Emily Post's gym, she'd totally open a can of whoopass. But, you know...politely.

Also, I wonder what "cell phone" looks like in Cuneiform.

P.S. Sorry about the Terri Schiavo joke.

Monday, January 21, 2013

driver's ed

When I was about 16, I had this brilliant idea that I should probably become a licensed driver. That thought-gasm has paid off immensely, as I now operate a motor vehicle on essentially a daily basis. Sometimes even sober.

The funny thing about getting your driver's license is that the issuing body, the Department of Motor Vehicles, expects you to learn what the hell you're doing first. I know--crazy, right? The process for learning these skills is called driver's ed. And while I originally assumed all motorists had to take driver's ed to get their licenses, I'm starting to suspect that might not be the case in southern California. How else do you explain the complete and utter asshat-ery one observes on the roads of Los Angeles (Lindsay Lohan notwithstanding)?

So, in a public service announcement to my fellow Angelino motorists, here are some driver's ed lessons that you might have forgotten or just slept through.

1) merging onto the freeway
To merge means to combine or unite as one. That sort of unity is difficult to accomplish when you're barreling down the freeway at a whopping 20 mph. Protip: Begin accelerating to the speed limit as soon as you reach the on-ramp...not two miles down the road.

2) exiting the freeway
They say the shortest distance between two points is a line. But if one of those points is the exit-ramp and the other point is the carpool lane, you might want to consider making your way over in stages instead of cutting people off in one perilous fell swoop at the last possible second. You know, think about someone other than yourself for a change. Got it, Evel Knievel? 'Kthanksbye.

3) "the zipper"
In Kindergarten, we all learned the importance of taking turns. Or, at least, it was assumed we all learned that. Whenever two lanes of traffic become one, it seems like some drivers have difficulty with the concept. If you're in doubt, remember that the key is to alternate turns--not force your suburban assault vehicle in because it's bigger and will sustain less damage in a collision.

4) the four-way stop 
Equally important to taking turns is knowing turn order. If you were playing Monopoly, you wouldn't go ahead of the idiot who picked the thimble if it was his roll, would you? I mean, I know putting hotels on Baltic Avenue is the key to your master strategy there, Rockefeller, but Thimbelina is ahead of you, so it's just going to have to wait. Why motorists can't apply this fundamental to four-way stops boggles the mind. If someone stopped before you, they go before you. And if someone stopped after you, don't pull a "Heckle and Jeckle," impractically deferring when you clearly stopped 10 min. before they did, parked, and started planting crops. You'll just confuse people who actually know how to drive.

5) inching
Speaking of which, don't inch out. Ever. You'll freak the hell out of oncoming traffic, which, seeing as we haven't evolved to read minds yet, has no way of determining whether you plan to stop before your cars become entangled in a heap of twisted metal. If you think I'm going to assume you're a competent driver before I assume you're a shitty one, you obviously haven't gotten the gist of this blog entry. And if you inch out at a red light ahead of someone trying to make a right turn, they won't be able to see around your dumb ass to know if it's all clear.

These are just a few tips to avoid causing your fellow drivers to curse your name, give you the one finger salute, or burn your likeness in effigy. I'm hoping that Google's self driving car will one day make bad driving obsolete but, until then, stay safe out there and keep your eyes on the road, you maniac.

Monday, January 14, 2013

I hate shaving

If you read the earlier incarnation of this blog, you may recognize this entry. I'm re-posting it with some minor tweaks. See, I lied when I said I deleted everything--never trust bloggers...or a lion in capri pants (long story).

Shaving is annoying, naturally. I don't think anyone likes to shave. To say "I hate shaving" is to say "I hate traffic," or "I hate when I take something out of the microwave and it's still cold in the center," or "I hate being eaten alive by ravenous piranhas." It's just one more thing you have to do every day to get ready (or every three days, if you're lazy like me).

I have extra reasons to hate shaving, though. One is that I have sensitive skin that gets irritated easily, even if I'm using one of those state-of-the-art razors with 47 blades that you have to take a second mortgage out for. The other is that I have a baby face. Whenever I shave, I instantly look like I'm 15, which is turn-off for any woman who isn't Mary Kay Letourneau.

I think a few days' stubble is my look. The trouble with maintaining said look is that "a few days' stubble" quickly turns into "unkempt," which requires shaving, with leads to more baby face. I need to find a way to maintain the stubble, like Matthew Fox on Lost. He was on that island for 108 days and somehow managed to have perpetual 5 o'clock shadow. It was one of the mysteries of the island, like that dumb Egyptian statue thing that they never really explained.

Beard trimmers really only work on full-fledged beards--they don't have a stubble trimmer yet. But you know there has to be a market for something like that--have you ever walked into a coffee shop in Silverlake?

I suppose for now, I'm doomed to shaving. But I can dream of a razor breakthrough for stubblephiles...or crash-landing on a magic island.

Monday, January 7, 2013


This used to be a blog. I wrote some things. Then I stopped writing those things. Then I made a New Year's resolution to write things again, but I didn't like the huge time gaps between the new things and the old things. So I deleted all the things.

Tabula rasa. That's Latin for "shit just got real." I think Caesar said it when he killed all the Gauls. It was right before he invented the salad.

The point is, I survived the Mayan apocalypse, so I think I can survive blogging again. But first I'm going to play some more Assassin's Creed III.