JAMES CALABRESI ’20
It is with a drooping sadness that I set out to right the wrongs of a particular aspect of gym etiquette that I believe has been overlooked for too long by frequent Ferris visitors. I am talking about the inconveniencing practice of wrapping the emergency stop line around the treadmill in an effort to ‘be polite’ for the next person. Why and when this practice began may be a mystery, but the kind of people who engage in its heinous art won’t be. These people have boundless energy, it may be girls trying to improve their already impressive mile times, to the introverted athlete, or even the frequent gym goer who comes for 5 reps and leaves (me). They all fall under the category of being eager beavers who don’t realize what a setback they are setting for their contemporaries in the near future.
Now, you may ask, if I am of the type who frequents the gym long enough to fill up the water fountain then glance threateningly at the weight rack and then turn tail and run. Am I not too a cord-winder? Well, yes, I was. But those dark days are long gone. Now, however, I have become an integrated member of serious society, and knowing I’ve turned my wrongs into rights, I am happy to utilize my reserves of laziness to never wind another stop cord in my life.
Plus, who really has the time to wrap the cord around the treadmill approximately 7 times? Not me, not you, that’s for sure. Why not just drop the thing when you’re done with it? Otherwise, all that effort becomes wasted potential energy when you have to wind it up, and the next person wastes mental strain undoing it- I mean, isn’t there enough potential energy in college wasted already. Also, some people are sly and unsuspecting about it. You’ll step up on an open treadmill spot at a busy hour, and somehow the person before you, who looked unassuming and ready to move onto their next project will have constructed a Gordian knot out of that little red string. With all that energy, why don’t they just actually wipe down the machines they sweat up so much for once. Or just go do homework, or gain back all those calories in the Cave or Goldberg’s like a normal person.
Little do these folks know, any amount of obstruction to my daily weekly effort to go to the gym barely loses out to whatever twisted form my willpower has shapeshifted into next. Taking the hit, therefore, of having to undo this knot does make a happy James. These knots, once wound so much, can’t be subverted by a naïve tug at the base of the string. No, thread after thread stick together, somehow causing enough friction to prevent a single easy motion from undoing this ordeal. The knots are troublesome. They are gruesome, sometimes they are irksome, and it takes a lot to irk a Calabresi.
And, when you’re groggy, and have just come off a slothful weekend and want to get back in the workout routine, seeing the slog ahead of you while wiping sleepy’s out of your eyes can be more than enough to send you packing for home- desperate to see your cat or dog again and to escape this continued trauma of gym-etiquette. I know you think it helps, I know you’re feeling good after the casual 5k you breezed through before breakfast, but for the sake of humans everywhere, I ask: can’t you at least make a slip-knot?
As a society, we must learn what is truly important to us, respecting the time and energy of others (including not writing silly op-eds), or stop-cords wound around treadmill handles. For me, the answer certainly isn’t complex, convoluted, or, should I say, twisted.