mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

I need to grow some balls...

The gym I go to has seven flat-panel TV's lining the wall in front of a number of the cardio machines, and I usually try to grab a machine that faces them and watch whatever happens to be on. Some people occasionally ask the gym staff to change one of the TV's. But there's one person, who always seems to get there just after me, and plop down in front of me, who insists that they change two of the TV's in front of him, one to CNN and the other to MSNBC.

Occasionally, the staff will ask if anyone is watching something before they change the channel. But usually they won't, and most of the time I am watching whatever was on the TV they change. But I never speak up, never give a "hey, I was watching that". Then I spend the rest of my workout annoyed because I can't watch the end of whatever I was watching. But more annoyed that I can't seem to muster up the balls to speak up.

I don't know why. I guess it could be that I feel I'm not worth it, that I don't deserve special treatment. But I think it's mostly just that I try to avoid conflict. I don't want to be seen as difficult, and I don't want to get in an argument or have people think that I'm making their life difficult, even if they are making mine difficult.

Obviously, this is bigger than TV's at the gym. It manifests itself in small ways, like at the grocery store, where if someone is blocking the isle I'll go to the next isle and swing back instead of asking them to move. It manifests itself in bigger ways, though, like being willing to lose almost $300 rather than confront a person who borrowed money and didn't pay it back. (I did end up calling him a number of times, but he just stopped answering and still owes me $89). But worst of all, it manifests itself at work, where I generally will do whatever people ask me to do, even if it's not really my job or is something I shouldn't do. I have a pretty good relationship with my boss and generally tell him what I feel, but I tend to shy away from talking to his boss, which means I end up talking to my boss who then talks to him, and usually something gets lost in translation, like a game of telephone. I tend to take on new responsibilities, even when I'm overwhelmed, because I don't want to say no.

And every time that cnn-watching gym patron walks in, I think "this is the time I'm going to stick up for my TV-viewing preferences". And I never do.


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