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From my limited study of male toileting habits in public restrooms, I have come to understand there is a strict unspoken rule about which urinal to use when entering the restroom.  I believe there was even a computer game to this effect.  There is logic involved in trying to determine optimal distance from other men, and the rule usually dictates that you leave one space between yourself and the next pissing man.  It goes without saying this is especially true if you encounter a full wall of urinals, and only one other man is using one. 

I would dare extrapolate this same rule to situations when there is a long row of ATMS, changing rooms, or seats at a long counter – any public situation where you want a little more privacy that you could ever hope to get.  I think the rule also applies to the gym.

While some gyms have time limits and wait-lists for their machines, and you have to put up collateral to sign-up in advance for an elliptical, my own gym is usually sparse when Mr. Apron and I choose to go.  This is by design.  We try to avoid the after-work crowd, and start acting squirrelly when hoards of people come in close proximity to us with their pending sweatiness.  Plus, the parking lot is a bitch to get in and out of, and the few designated spaces there are too often taken up by overflow luxury SUVs whose owners are getting their nails at the salon next door.  One day I’ll call the tow company myself. 

Last Sunday morning, when Mr. Apron was working, I managed to haul myself to the gym.  I selected a treadmill from the row of 6 or 8 available, and began to work myself into the delirious state I call exercise.  Within a few minutes, a man chose the machine directly to my left even though every other treadmill was free.  It wasn’t as if he was strategically positioning himself in front of the TV that had the best choice in Sunday morning pundits; each treadmill has its own TV, with a vast choice of channels you can select yourself.  He was just being a dick and ignoring the rules.  He then proceeded to aim his remote at the channel changing box by his knees, and change my television station no fewer than 47 times.  One minute, I’d be happily watching a Tom & Jerry cartoon (with or without headphones, cartoons are quite preferable to Glenn Beck), and then next, it’d go to HSN, or CNN, or something else I did not select.  The cable boxes are quite close to one another, but this was ridiculous.   I had to keep the remote in my hand and keep flipping my channel back every time he grew restless, which was, oh, about ever 15 seconds. 

I bet he’s the kind of guy who chooses the urinal right next to someone else, and tries to talk to them.  In my passive-aggressive rage, I began ever-so-slightly angling my remote so as to change his channel “by mistake” as well.  At least I didn’t start peeing on him in retaliation, eh?