Do you have any names in your life that have just somehow seemed to always be associated with something bad? In my life, that name is Larry. If your name is Larry, um, I don’t mean you. Unless you are one of THE Larrys in my life that have created this concept and in that case, go have another beer, you crack head, and stop reading my blog. Yes, anyone that I meet that has the name Larry has, from the minute we meet, to over come my base stereotype that all Larrys are the moral equivalent to a giant festering bag of raccoon poop and llama vomit. It is sad, I know, but there it is.
I’ve decided today that the opposite, the anti-Larry, the heroic equivalent to truth, justice, and the right to wear really fancy shoes every day of your life, is Jim. I’ll accept the derivatives also of James and Jimmy although if you’ve reached adulthood and are still called Jimmy I’m going to wonder if maybe you aren’t a bit more “Robin” than “Batman” in this heroic theme. Anyway, let me explain. I was at the gym this morning trying out one of the new ellipticals and going over my blog-to-be in my head. The elliptical was OK so I think I’ll survive the change. I was about 15 minutes in when the PT that I had asked that one time to not do that counting out loud bit with his class in the gym was going around asking people if they wanted to join them in the gym for a free class. I don’t know if he recognized me because I now have awesome hair but also because it’s not like we’re friends or anything. I said I was only going to join if they were going to count out loud so that I could mess them up. He laughed and said “Oh, we’ll be counting.” I, seeing red and apparently being just a tad more confrontational than my normal, quiet, reserved self, replied with a sincere “Fuck you.” His eyes got a bit bigger and he said “Wow, hey, you can come join us if you want.” and I said “I don’t want to join you, I want you to stop counting out loud. Go in one of the rooms when you need to count.” He actually looked like the thought had never occurred to him and said he’d think about it. I was, BTW, yelling THAT line across the whole gym because he had started walking the other way after the “fuck you” comment.
Well, they start up the class and sure enough, the first thing he has then do (which I’m 98% certain was just to piss me off because they don’t normally start the counting until quite a bit into it) was count off on jumping jacks. I got off my machine, walked over to the gym, and started screaming (at exactly the same volume as them, which was as loud as I could possibly go, which was somewhere between a jet engine breaking the sound barrier and a Pink Floyd concert) off random numbers while they counted. Yes people, tact, class, and a knack for calm mediation are ALL my middle names. The PT found this hilarious and asked for my name and introduced me to the class. We discussed the concept of me trying to work out and them being loud beyond all reason and he had them doing running. Some of the people running were counting out loud while running just to be dinks. I’m certain they were all named Larry. I went back to my machine to pick up where I left off but he immediately had them doing push ups and also counting those off. I stopped my machine, got a towel and wiped it down, threw the towel away, and walked into the gym. I’m not entirely certain what either of us said at that point but a couple of people that were in the class and part of the gym staff came to talk to me right outside the basketball court area.
They were snotty and dismissive and all that fun stuff. They kept saying they’d talk to the general manager and until then they weren’t going to change the class. I reasoned that we could compromise and they could just have the PT counting out loud (and not the WHOLE population of the class) during the class for today until the GM had a chance to talk about it and they said that in no way whatsoever were they going to change the class right then. The class had already started which was the dumbest logic EVER for why they couldn’t just have the PT count out loud during those parts. Eventually I went into the office with a facilities guy to write it all down and I was so pissed off because they were being so horrible about it all. I mean, to the extent of “It’s not changing so you can go back to your workout and deal with it or be escorted out.” Not even a single nod to how they were making fun of me and getting the people in the class to belittle and make fun of me or anything. I was sitting in this room making the facilities guy repeat my point of view back to me for the 15th time because he kept getting it wrong and I wanted to make sure he understood what I was asking for when one of the other gym members came into the room. He was a guy, probably in his late 40s, and honestly rather important looking even with the red face and sweaty hair from having just finished his own workout. The facilities guy looked up and this gym member said, “I’m with her.” I honestly started crying. Someone was standing up for me and I wasn’t all alone. He was so angry not only that every day he tried to get his workout done and every day he’d basically get yelled at by the people counting and he DID have headphones but he couldn’t hear anything on them because of it, but he was ALSO angry about how they were treating this young lady. (Um, he meant me.) He talked about how they were being bullies and ringmastering the whole class to make fun of me and no wonder no one else complained. Facilities guy went to add this new man’s name to the paper he was writing everything on and he asked what his name was. Jim. Thank you Jim. I was being taken seriously.
Jim also said that if they were to take a poll of the rest of the people in the gym, most would agree that they hate the yelling. When the whole thing was over (and I missed half my aerobic and all of my strength workout) I went to my locker and just started crying. I never am aware, while into the thick of this stuff, how much it upsets me. I hate when people completely invalidate me and don’t take me seriously. It gets to me doubly because I’m the kind of person that just. won’t. take it. I fight back. I won’t be walked on and I won’t be dismissed and while I admire and encourage that trait in myself and others, it does make for confrontation and setting myself up to take the brunt of any group disagreement. Contrary to popular belief, that part I really really hate. To have Jim in there backing me up and making me feel not only not alone, but to say BTW, don’t treat her so badly for speaking up, meant the world to me. Thank you Jim.
On my way into work, I started thinking how funny it was that his name was Jim. The other Jims that I know are also people that have meant great things to me. In 2005, my mom married someone she had known in high school. She met him at a high school reunion. I’ve never hid for a second that my father/daughter relationships have left a lot to be desired in my life so it probably comes as no shock that this man, Jim, had to earn any of my approval. Now, I’m not, ya know, unreasonable. I wasn’t expecting the world. I was just gun shy and pretty much ANY slight would’ve had a bigger effect. He has been great. He has been supportive and kind and concerned about me, my sisters, my family. It has meant the world to me for him to come through for us all and I’m very happy for my mom. Thank you Jim.
There are other ‘Jims’ in my life. They know who they are. Is it just coincidence that the name seems to follow such a pattern? I don’t know. But I can tell you, Jim, (and James), I appreciate the support. I appreciate the kindness and I appreciate the investment in understanding me and showing me I am understood.