Please Stop Talking to Me

(an ode to my own passive aggression and a bit of advice to creepy old men everywhere…)

Allow me to set the scene for you, dear reader:

Me, alone, in a cave of a workout room beneath the clubhouse, on the elliptical, watching an episode of Orange is the New Black on my phone. I am sweating like a pig.

Well… not like a pig, maybe. Pigs don’t have sweat glands. So, I’m sweating like…. something that sweats a lot.

(Note to self: find better simile)

Enter Creepy Old Security Guard…. I’m not being ageist here – the guy is definitely north of 70. The creepy is my own judgment.

Informal greetings are exchanged. I watch, annoyance growing within my bitter little heart, as he sits down on the bench at the front of the small room, directly facing me.

I pause my show, pulling out my headphones and pointedly wait for a bit… is he here to say something?

Nope. Just sitting there staring at me. Awesome.

I put my headphones back in, attempting to focus on the show, and not the creepy old man staring at me.

No dice.

He gets up and moves across to the other side of the bench, still facing me, but now closer to the air conditioning unit and adjacent fan.

“Feel free to just move my stuff,” I say.

This is irrelevant, since he’s already moved my water bottle over so that he can sit.

(Note to self: Sanitize water bottle.)

“The air conditioning is nice,” he says, repeating the statement again for my benefit after I remove the headphones.

“Yeah,” I say, with a weird half-grimace, half-smile.

Actually, it’s about sixty degrees and rainy outside… so it’s probably hotter in here than it is out there. I refrain from saying so.

He scoots closer to the air conditioner, stands up and holds his hand under the unit.

“The air conditioning in here isn’t very strong,” he says.

This necessitates another ear-phone removal.

“Yeah,” I say. “That’s why I usually turn on the fan, too.”

This statement is also unnecessary, since the fan is going full strength, mere inches above his head.

Apparently, this statement was somehow encouraging, as he moves across the room to occupy the stationary bike next to me, and conveniently positioned just behind me… So he coincidentally has a particularly up-close view of my ass as it goes about its business on the elliptical.


Headphones in … Only to realize that he’s saying something again.


He repeats, gesturing to the bike he’s on.
“Now you’ve got me doing it, too.”

“Oh,” I reply, repeating my strange half-grimace. “No pressure.”

Headphones back in.

I’ve shoved them in so hard that I might actually need surgery to remove them. This is the degree to which I do not want to talk to this man.

Please stop talking to me. Please go away. Please stop talking to me.

These words would probably be much more useful if I said them out loud. I try focusing on my phone, staring at it hard enough to burn a hole in the damn thing, only to realize he is speaking again.

Pause show. Remove headphones.


“So… you doing anything for Father’s day?”

“No, not really.”

“Oh…” he pauses, before coming back with something oh-so-tactful. “Is your Dad still…. Is he here?”

“My Dad passed away in September.”

“This past September?”


“Oh…He must’ve been really young.”

This guy is tact in a bottle.

“He was 65.”

This elicits comment.

“He was so young… practically a baby.”

Why thank you, kind sir, for eliciting this completely unwanted conversation, on a supremely awkward topic. Now please stop talking to me.

That’s what I should have said. That’s what I wanted to say. Instead I said:

“I really don’t want to talk about this right now.”

Eh. Close enough.

Apparently, it was enough. A few moments after that he got up and left, finally motivated enough to leave the stuffy room and face the blistering elements of a mild, rainy night.

What is to be learned from this, dear reader?

There are so many lessons to be gained. In no particular order:

  • If someone is exercising by themselves and sweating profusely, they do not want to talk to you.
  • If they deliberately puts on headphones in your presence, they do not want to talk to you.
  • If they are looking everywhere but at you, like a chubby, sweaty Perseus desperately avoiding Medusa, they do not want to talk to you.
  • If you are the creepy old man who does security for my association, I really do not want to talk to you. Also, please stop staring at my ass.
  • Orange is the New Black is far more enjoyable when there is not a creepy old man staring at your ass.
  • If someone tells you they have no plans for Father’s Day, don’t fucking pry.

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