One of the few things I value a lot is dining etiquette. Ever since I was young (but old enough to eat on my own), my parents have always been strict about the way I eat. For example, when I hold my chopsticks, my palm has to face upward and not downward. When we go to a buffet-style restaurant, they tell me not to cram everything I want to eat onto one plate. I didn’t understand why; I just knew what I should and shouldn’t do.
They do tell me it’s because I have to be polite, but it’s not like a child would understand what politeness is. Jean-Jacques Rousseau might be correct about this, but a child would know what politeness is because politeness gets him things he wants, but he wouldn’t understand it. (Check out Emile.) So I guess for me, I did it because I did not want to be punished, or be embarrassed in front of company.
Yesterday during a meal, I came across a relatively new type of etiquette: workout etiquette. It’s relatively new to me because I don’t really lift. I’m a relatively skinny swimmer on the team. Given that, I don’t hit up a gym on a usual basis. And to be quite honest, I haven’t been to the gym since January. I overheard this conversation between a close friend of mine and his friend about working out at the gym. (We were sitting at the same table, but since I don’t exactly work out, I wasn’t an active participant of the conversation.) My close friend was talking about his experience at Rains. During one of his workout sessions, he was using one of the lifting machines.
For those who are not sure what people do in the gym, people do sets of reps. The idea is that when you do 10 reps of bicep curls for example, you curl your biceps 10 times, and then maybe five sets of that exercise. In between sets, you can walk around to relax your body a bit.
Back to the story. Another guy started using his machine without asking my close friend whether or not he was done. My close friend was not happy about it, but being the generous person he is, there was nothing he could do about it without stirring up unnecessary drama. The idea is this though: Just like you don’t snatch away a random person’s food, you don’t just take over somebody’s machine without asking, even if they are walking away from it.
I believe all etiquette is important. Dining etiquette has to be learned because it is also a set of skills that people develop. Workout etiquette, on the other hand, is the same as courtesy, I suppose. You don’t exactly have to learn it; you just have to be considerate and thoughtful of other people. To extend this a bit, I think that all etiquettes that are derived from courtesy and politeness should be enforced. It’s hard to think about the wide range of etiquettes there are, but if one is willing to be thoughtful and such, they should come naturally.
We have three more weeks to go; so everybody, push hard, stay strong. Peace.