I was at the gym and just finished working out on the cable machine. There are only ten people allowed in at one time and the place is huge so I didn't notice anyone watching for me to finish so they could use the machine. When I was done one of the bodybuilder guys was right over to the machine and did only two or three different exercises and was done in about ten minutes. I felt immediately bad, I don't want to be seen as someone who hogs a machine, even though I guess that's what I was doing.
I thought to myself that I can't be held responsible for knowing what someone else wants, that true if it's Joe but it is especially true if it's someone that I don't know. I thought about this as I was doing the ropes - badly and when I was exhausted from them I had decided to speak to him. Now I don't usually speak to others, especially bodybuilders, who exercise in their own space. But that is what I intended to do.
I caught him as he was headed to the door, I rolled up to him, keeping social distancing in mind and asked him if I could speak to him. He stopped and I began explaining, cause it's not readily apparent to non-disabled people, that there are only two machines, and the ropes, available to me all the other machines are inaccessible.
Midway into my planned spiel, he interrupted me saying, "It's okay, don't worry about it, it's okay."
Anyone who knows me knows I like to finish my thoughts, I said, "Wait a minute," and then continued, "So I'm on that machine for about an hour. If you need to work through that machine to finish your workout or fit it into your machine, just ask me, I'm old, I'll enjoy the rest."
He hadn't heard me, "No, it's okay I can do other exercises to compensate when I can't use the cable machine, it's fine, don't worry about it.
"Please wait and listen to me, I want to be part of the gym community, I don't want to be a machine hog, I want people to work through when they need to, like everyone else. So just ask, okay? He started to speak, and I interrupted him, "Please don't just keep saying it's fine." He looked at me for the first time and said, "Yeah, okay, if I need it, I'll ask you, hey, what's your name?"
Sometimes community exists but sometimes a little push is needed to gain entry.