Perhaps because I am the only white dude at my gym, every other person seems to want to talk to me. It doesn’t matter if I’m covered in sweat, in the middle of lifting something I’ll never be able to lift (like 85% of the weights in the gym), or even getting changed in the locker room, somebody always wants to come up and say something. Usually, they approach to tell me I’m lifting the weights or doing the exercise incorrectly. The conversation goes like this:
Korean Meathead: No! (gestures to what I’m doing) (laughs in smirking fashion)
Me: Oh…well…I dunno.
KM: Like this. (demonstrates)
Me: Okay. Thanks.
KM: You do. (stands over me and watches me exercise for next 5-15 minutes)
It’s damn embarrassing. Sometimes if I recognize certain social people in the gym, I’ll avoid the weights altogether and run on the track just so I won’t have to talk to them.
“They’re just being friendly,” my girlfriend said.
“I know,” I told her. “Why do they have to do that? What’s wrong with people? Can’t they just go away?”
Social drinking is one thing. That I can get behind. But social exercising? Totally uncalled for. Today I thought it would be fun to look at other ‘social’ situations and characters that need to stop or be stopped. Fine, say I’m being anti-social. That’s true. Just don’t say it to me in these scenarios:
The Social Barber: It’s bad enough that I have to stare at myself in a mirror for a half an hour, getting a haircut is even more torturous when it’s The Social Barber doing the cutting. Listen, I’ve got wet hair down over my eyes and I’m wearing some kind of hospital smock like I’m going into a Cat Scan soon, the last thing I need is to play 20 Questions. Unless you really like talking about your job while someone butchers your head, never having to see TSB is the best consolidation a guy can have for going bald.
The Social Subway Ridin’ Dude: You ever get on the subway and go, “Jesus, how the hell am I going to fill the ten minutes it’ll take to get to my destination? I wish I had someone to talk to!” No? Me neither, but this thought process is natural for the Social Subway Ridin’ Dude. Try to ignore him. It’s useless. He won’t be denied your attention, whether it’s by talking to you or by trapping someone sitting close to you in his overly enthusiastic convo, and having to overhear the whole thing is almost equally painful. The only solutions to dealing with TSSRD are to either buy an IPod or move to Japan where the subway is dead silent.
The Social Old Man: He is without a doubt the biggest menace to society. He has stories – lots of them – and will share them with you in an astoundingly dull, never-ending slow trickle of words. The most potent weapons The Social Old Man has are his abilities to literally bore you to death coupled with the fact that it’s rude to brush him off. Society respects its elders and he takes advantage of that. Having to sit through 20 minutes of TSOM will build your endurance strong enough to withstand two church sermons and 7 months of subway rides.
The Social Business Ownin’ Guy on Facebook: You’ve never met this guy in your life, and yet you share 300 mutual friends (none of which have met him either). He’s a clever, business savvy son-of-a-gun, usually with a tattoo shop or a nightclub to promote. He will bombard you with Facebook event invites and will wow your newsfeed with pictures of his entrepreneurial endeavors. On your birthday, he will send his wishes. The thing is, after awhile, you’ll feel like you know him better than the Facebook friends who you’ve actually met. Eventually he will wiggle his way into your heart, if not your wallet.
The Social Co-worker: There is a rule about the Social Co-worker – if he is interesting or cool, then he is just a regular co-worker, but if he is dull and insanely talkative, then he qualifies as being the SC. He doesn’t understand that friendship dynamics in the workplace have already been established. He will talk endlessly about his life, regardless of how busy you are, and eventually invite you to things that you don’t want to go to. He will also complain about the job a lot, as he inevitably sucks at it. Bear in mind, in many situations, the Social Co-worker is you and you just don’t know.
It’s not that I don’t like to talk to people…I’m just maybe a little picky about the setting. Now it’s time for me to go to work and harass my Korean co-workers who have no interest in talking to me. Then I’ll make pleasant conversation with my students, who will later go home and write their own blogs about The Social Teacher Who Wrongly Thinks He’s Cool.