Exercise your right to speak up at the gym - Newsday

Exercise your right to speak up at the gym

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Ask Amy Amy Dickinson, Ask Amy

Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.

DEAR AMY: Some friends and I are members of a no-nonsense gym. Most members are hard-core athletes who train for marathons, while the rest of us are more "well-upholstered" Midwesterners trying to get fit. There is a problem with one gym member, and we can't agree on how to handle it. In the area where the treadmills and rowers are located, ceiling fans provide some respite from the stuffiness. One woman turns all the fans off every time she enters the area. We are reluctant to say anything to her because she clearly has "issues." She's extremely emaciated; I assume she has an eating disorder. She comes to workout in a hooded sweatshirt, yet makes very little effort on the machinery. While the rest of us are sweating up a storm, she is casually reading her magazine, checking messages, etc. Meanwhile, those of us actually exerting ourselves would love to have the circulation provided by the fans! We don't want to cause any undue angst to someone who clearly is struggling. But by the same token, "majority rules" should certainly hold up for a roomful of sweating people! We are trying to be sympathetic. How should we handle this?Losing It

DEAR LOSING: Having "issues" or an eating disorder does not make this person in charge of the very air moving through a public area. You can assume her extreme thinness may make her feel cold.

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You're all obviously very nice, kind Midwesterners. You should have a secret locker room meeting and elect the most courageous among you to approach her. I'm kidding. I elect you to put down your barbell and be brave enough to walk over to her, make eye contact, smile and say: "Hi, it's really too hot in here to keep the fans off, so I'd like to turn them back on. Is that OK?" And you reach over and flip the switch.

She might be as nice as you are, and once the will of the majority is made clear, she might be happy to comply.

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