So headed to the gym, as usual. I set my towel and water down on the bike, and headed to get some disinfectant. I turned around to see a middle aged guy standing at the bike. He quickly realized, and asked me if he could use that one. I thought nothing of it and took the next one. Well, it was an interesting hour. Most days at the gym everyone is in their own world. It is rare to even make eye contact with anyone. So to have this social butterfly sitting next to me was an oddity. This guy proceeded to talk my ear off. I didn’t know what to make of him. Initially it started out quite normal. Just an average guy talking about weighing too much, and having gained weight. I realized pretty quick, after the subject changed three times in the first couple minutes, that this man had some issues. In the back of my head I was thinking whatever he is on needs changing, or a larger dose. This flight of ideas continued. Rather than starting at A and proceeding to B, he was all over the place. I never said anything. Just nodded on occasion. I watched TV, and listened. It wasn’t a deterrent. I didn’t want to be rude, so I just let him go. He talked about being a cop, then a car salesman, then some court case. From there it was his days playing soccer, and on to being hit by a minivan So, for 30 minutes this went on. He then saw someone he knew. Mind you, this entire time he never started pedalling. He just sat on the bike and talked. Now this lady came over. They started talking. Both looking at me. I said hello to her and continued listening. It was unreal. He then tells the lady he should take his medication. I’m thinking to myself- yeah, a good idea. I didn’t want to get involved. The lady then starts talking about her daughter, and how fat the antipsychotics have made her. He proceeds to tell her the daughter should change meds. It was such a surreal moment. I was very much aware of this topic. Could I have added something to that discussion probably. I chose to just listen and watch these two banter about psych meds. Weird. I felt like I was in some alternate reality. This was supposed to be the gym. Quiet time, just me and the music and a bike. Nope, not today. The lady left, and a bit later he hopped down and headed out. I continued for a bit. Somewhere in the back of my head I pondered whether I should hang for a bit. He never really bothered me. I didn’t get any alarm bells going off in my head. Well maybe once when he started talking about duct tape. But otherwise he just seems like he needs some meds. But for whatever reason my brain was telling me to hang for a bit in case he was waiting in the parking lot.
I have discussed the whole issue with Colorado, and how it will further advanced the public stigma of mental illness. Here I was doing exactly the same thing. This guy was most likely harmless. He was lonely, just wanted someone to talk to. He wasn’t anything beyond that. Did he have a mental illness, yes. That was obvious. But we are so programmed by society to view those with mental illness as dangerous. I felt bad for the guy. Yeah, I still took a good look around when I left. Hoping he was telling the truth about getting to the gym on a bike. I was very careful not to disclose any information about myself. It is such an awful world we live in, when we have to worry.
Who knew the gym could be so interesting,