I had an experience yesterday that illuminated the entitled attitude we keep seeing over and over in this country lately. Yes, yesterday was the horror of Vegas. I want to honor that and the lives that were altered significantly forever, but also speak of what I witnessed on a very individual level and how it made me think.
I went to my Monday running class as usual – super popular class, only 10 treadmills and 20 people who want to take it. Every treadmill has a reserved sign and class fills up based on online reservations.
There was a man (of course it was a man), who didn’t want to participate in the class, but refused to get off the treadmill when asked by the instructor – even though there were clearly people waiting for a spot, having signed up online earlier that day. He wouldn’t budge. He claimed that he needed a WOODWAY treadmill (there are literally 50 other brands of treadmills at the gym) with a FUNCTIONAL TV, and there was no other treadmills like this available except the one he was on. The instructor patiently told him there were many other treadmills he could use, but he claimed he needed these two requirements. The instructor explained that there were people signed up to participate in class and kindly asked him to move to another.
He got extremely loud and caused a scene, saying that he pays a lot of money to be in this gym and has a RIGHT to the exact type of treadmill he wants when he wants it. The instructor explained that everyone pays the same amount to be at this gym and that these treadmills are clearly reserved for this class (they even have a sign on them).
He wouldn’t get off. He felt his right to a woodway treadmill with a TV was greater than someone else’s right to the class they had signed up for.
Yes, this is a wealthy douchie gym in the heart of SF, but it got me to thinking. Part of the reason this country is in so much chaos right now is because some people feel that their right to ______ (insert whatever you like) is greater than someone else’s right to ______.
Except, as humans sharing space on planet earth, we all “paid” the same price to be here. In order to make this work harmoniously, we need to have compassion for others and abide by the guidelines that help keep order in our shared space. Maybe you have had a bad day/week/year/decade and FEEL like you somehow deserve something more than someone else…but you have no idea what that other person faced today/last week/last month/when they were a kid.
We are all one species living on one planet. Is it too much to ask that we work together to be fair and understanding of others, to treat with respect and dignity our fellow humankind, or at the very least, to make an effort to not be an entitled dick?
And to Mr. Entitled-Treadmill-Jerk – I wish you a good fat dose of karma, because you were a real asshole tonight and ruined someone else’s.