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The other day I left an article I was writing, about chocolate, to go to the gym.  With sweet dreamy truffles dancing in my mind I arrived in class. Keenly aware of what all the traveling and eating have done to my body shape, I decided to hide in the back of the room with my step.

Just before the final song, the tyrant who had boxed me in during weight class two days ago, by setting up four steps around mine, for her imaginary friends, appeared. Unbeknownst to me, I had apparently walked into an area that had been marked (in one’s mind anyway) and she was hell-bent on reclaiming her precious territory. Her attempt failed, since I had not…well… could not move from that corner, an unintentional heroic act, which won me much praise from some members later.

Determined to evict me from her little corner of real estate, this time she arrived early.  As she started to hang her jacket, I saw a few women eyeing her, then glancing at me as if to say: “you better stay put.  Fight the good fight.  Don’t give up.”  I love how powerfully women communicate.  We can convey a thousand words in one glance.  The step class had not ended yet when she started setting up for the next class practically where I was standing.  My blood pressure started rising.   I was still working there!  She coolly continued and before long, her bench sat four inches behind mine leaving me less room than the length of my sneakers.  This was more than an inadvertent breach of etiquette.  One might call it a clear act of aggression.  Now the stubborn mule in me started to awaken.  I wanted to fight for justice, not only for my sake but also for the sake of all women who had been bullied out of that spot.  Maybe even all women in the world!

The weight class began with our steps practically connected.  I held my ground until we had to lie down on our benches, then lift/lower five-foot barbells.  The fighter in me, struggling against my own gym etiquette, wanted to stay put, lay on that bench head to toe with her, and keep going.  Except that suddenly I realized I was losing my chocolate thoughts.  All that energy focused on four inches of space was draining my happy, sweet, ideas.  I just wanted my chocolate back.

So, I did the unthinkable and slid my bench forward.  Still close enough to hit her bar a couple of times during the chest press reps, but far enough to dissolve some of my anger.  Slowly inspiration returned.  Someone’s hairdo started to look like a truffle. All was going to be well.

Sadly though, at that point, I had to face the looks of disappointment and let down from those tormented comrades I had vowed to fight for.

Well, it’s not over yet.  With the chocolate story completed I am ready for the next session.  Who knows I might even show up with a full bladder and do some territory marking of my own.

As the Latin adage goes:  Si vis pacem, para bellum “If you wish for peace, prepare for war.”  Who would have thought that a playground could become a battleground?