breaking gym rules

i do my swim training in virgin active greenpoint gym. there is a free internet service there but there is also a sign that says it can be used only for 20 mins.

i got carried away writing emails: i had two important long emails to write and i had no idea how long i stayed. i am guessing i was on for about 25 mins. could not have been longer. 5 mins extra.

this guy next to me started talking to me in a very loud and aggressive manner that i should move and that people are waiting for me to finish. i did not respond, but i finished as quick as i could. i could not just jump u because i had to cut the email short and log out. the guy next to me was getting extremely upset with me. he was banging his keyboard and making strange body movements.

once i got up and went to him and i said that this was not a way to talk to anyone. i said i found it too aggressive. he started yelling again and cutting my sentences, not allowing me to explain my point of view, and than turning his back on me. than all the people that waited started acting the same. pretty soon the words “you are not from here, you are not well mannered” started repeating and i was not able to say anything as three people kept yelling at me over 5 mins extra they had to wait.

all they could think about is those few minutes they had to wait and how bad i was to make them wait.

my motivation to stay and explain was that i knew i broke the rule but it happened, its not the end of the world, and that it was no reason to be so disrespectful. unfortunately i did not explain this well as i am not really good at competing in yelling and i just got more and more disrespect coming at me. i was failing to generate compassion. these people seamed to have a lot of bottled anger.

i analyzed the situation over and over later. these kind of situations are very useful as they reveal a lot of communication problems people can have.

i was thinking about my stereotype of white cape town folk who live in this area and who seam to be a very aggressive demographic, always ready to yell instead of listen. although there is something particular about them – they are mostly very rich and, i guess, they made good money from apartheid so they are used to enforcing rules through direct aggression – i would not jump into such prejudicial conclusions.

i think the bottom line is that this is common behaviour everywhere and i am just too sensitive to aggression. i have a radar for it and i always have this eagerness to explain to people how they should be more polite while they yell at me.

i think its something i should either get better at or stop doing it.