There I was, at the gym, the other day, sitting there, on a piece of gym equipment, in between sets, taking a short break, a moment's rest, a slight breather, if you will, and along comes this gym guy, looking all gym-y, wearing his gym clothes, with his gym attitude, and he walks right up to me just as bold as you please, in his gym shorts, and he's all, while I'm sitting there, he's all, "Can I work in?"

Excuse me?

No. You can't work in. That would be impossible. Because I am here. Occupying, you might say. Occupying this space. It is mine. I am using it. The pause in action that you see? All part of the plan. All part of my strategy. I work, then stop. Work, then stop. In this way I regain my energy to continue working. It is a strategy that works, so to speak.

There is no working in here. Only working out. Your working in would necessitate my moving, getting up, walking away, robbing me of precious moments of Zen-like focus, disturbing my rhythm, breaking my concentration, destroying my ongoing vibe. I also don't want to get up. I don't want to move. I don't want to walk away. That would mean I would have to come back. That's a lot of coming and going. I didn't come here for all that.

Let me propose, instead, a different course of action, for you: you wait. You wait right over there. Right where you are. Don't move a muscle. Don't say a word. Just wait there, patiently, until the time comes when I have finished my work-rest-work-rest-work-rest cycle. You'll know the time has come when you see me rise and, in a purposeful manner, leave the area, without returning. That's when you should pounce. Then, the time will be right. At that moment I would like nothing better than for you to step into the area which I have vacated and commence using it yourself. Because I will be done. And.... what?

No. I don't want a spot. I don't want you hovering over me. I don't want you kneeling behind me. I don't want you mirroring my own motions, only inches away from me, with an intense look on your face, your hands hovering just off the bar, ready to grab it at the slightest hint of hesitation on my part. I don't know you. I don't want to feel you anywhere within my personal space. It's nothing personal. I just don't care to have your existence intruding upon my consciousness now. Or ever. I have calibrated the amount of weight on the bar specifically to obviate the need for a spotter. I have made sure not to take that one extra rep attempt that will result in disaster. I have chosen, very purposefully, to accept a slower rate of progress in my training in exchange for not having a stranger perched above me, urging me to "Push it! Push it!" It's just my way. So... what?

No. I don't want any tips from you. I don't want to hear your analysis of my form. I don't want to hear how I could Do That A Little Better. I don't want to hear One Little Thing That Will Really Help Me Out. I don't want to hear What I'm Doing Wrong On That Lift. I don't want to hear anything from you. I don't care if you're a personal trainer. I don't care if you're a Crossfit coach. I don't care if you're a football coach. I don't care if you're a kung-fu, Krav Maga, or Tae Bo coach. I don't care if you've been Doing This Stuff For A Lot Longer Than Me. You may notice that I did not approach you and ask you any questions. This is because I am uninterested in your thoughts. You may indeed be a wise, learned, hardcore warrior and teacher of the utmost quality. I bet that someone out there will extend a warm and sincere "thank you" of grateful appreciation to you for your unsolicited but valuable advice. But I am not that person. I am just me. A guy, who is here, at this gym, stone cold going my thing. Leave me alone.

Of course in real life I let the guy work in. But gee I was really miffed about it—on the ins-Eye-d (of the Tiger).