For this one: You must clear yourself from fault... even though you really SHOULD have removed your headphones and listened to the other person.
HEADPHONES (any gender, mid-teens through late life)
Uhhhhhhhhhh, this is NOT sounding like an apology.
An apology would be: "Sorry I didn't get your attention properly. As a result, you're seriously injured."
What you're saying is: "Sorry you had to IGNORE me. Now you're injured but you kinda deserve it--"
No, no, no, no, NO! That IS what you're saying.
Let me tell you something. I'm new to this gym. Yeah. But I had every reason to believe it was just like any other gym. And I have EVERY reason to ignore someone when they're casually asking me a question and
One: I'm in the middle of a very hard run on the treadmill
Two: I have my FREAKING HEADPHONES ON!
If someone is wearing headphones, you do NOT just come up to them and ask something. If I'm wearing headphones I'M FREAKING DEAF. As far as you're concerned, anyway. What are you THINKING? And you were SO not acting like you had a big question; a matter of personal safety. No, you just stroll up, get on the treadmill beside me, turn your head and ask... how am I supposed to know what you're asking? It looked like you were asking how to OPERATE the treadmill. ASK THE FREAKING FRONT DESK!
But no, I'M the jerk, because apparently this is a special gym and really what you were asking was "do you know if the treadmills are POSSESSED today?" If you say you said that, I believe you. Especially since my treadmill started galloping around the gym like a horse.
I suppose that's no big deal if we're in some real life version of HOGWARTS. Maybe that makes me insensitive to the culture of magic. Possessed equipment is no big deal for you folks. But if you want to blend AT ALL in the normal world, let me give you a tip: WHEN someone is on headphones and you want to communicate and it's important, you make a SIGNAL. You wave your arms. You make a scared face like THIS.
You don't just start casually talking-- oh, whatever, I'm not getting through to you. Right? Fine. I absolve you of any blame. I'm going to quit my membership to this gym and before the medics arrive I think I'll put my headphones BACK ON and continue listening to my self-improvement book.
Copyright 2016 by Matt Haynes. If you would like to use this piece, please credit: "Courtesy of Matt Haynes and The Pulp Stage"