May 22, 2014

Disorderly Conduct: Go For It!

By Crabby McSlacker

image: wikipedia

This is just a quick post about making a public spectacle of yourself.  Being an ass where people can see you? It's a highly underrated weapon for anyone looking to stay fit and sane for the long haul.

Plus, if you hang in there, it's also a totally gratuitous excuse for a picture of attractive butt-naked men! There are more than enough gratuitous pictures of naked women on the net, so I feel it is my civic duty to try to even up the ratio a bit.



Anyway, I'm traveling again, on the way from San Diego where we live for half the year, to Provincetown Massachusetts, via Frisco, Texas, where my wife now works. And yes, we have weird lives.

But as many of you are aware, travelling generally involves lots of sitting around.  A notorious place for enforced sitting for hours and even days at at time?


Hello, airports!

Want to know a quick way to feel like you are walking around naked as the day you were born, even while fully clothed?


photo: wikipedia

Yep, try exercising in an airport.

Well, walking around dragging heavy luggage is pretty indiscreet, you can get away with that.  I do a lot of that when I have to wait around without feeling self-conscious. And climbing steps two at time over and over? Well, it's a little odd, but not that big a deal.

However, yesterday I was tired of walking around and I had too much luggage for steps, so I figured what the hell.  There was plenty of space available, and I found an area out of the way (but not out of view, alas). I started with some stretching but then it escalated--I did some pushups, very gentle squats and lunges (not wanting to piss off my knee) and some swoopy-stretchy-swirly moves of my own invention.

I coped with self-consciousness by facing the wall, thus rendering myself invisible.

But I still did feel a little dumb and worried about what people would think.  Not so much that they'll think I'm crazy, but that I'm enjoying doing this weird shit in public and am trying to show off by being all exercisey when other people are sitting.

No one likes a show off.

photo: James Stark

But I kinda had to do it. It was just starting to feel too confining to not move my body, when it really needed to move, based on the norm in our society that we don't spontaneously move around in airports.

What would be nice is if occasionally I saw other people stretching, squatting, knocking off a few pushups or jumping jacks, whatever, especially in places where extended sitting or waiting has got to be messing with other people's bodies too.  But I pretty much never do so if I wanna do it, I'm going to have to just feel ok with being a freak.

So, anyone else with me here?   What if more and more people made moving around a semi-normal thing to do when waiting for planes or trains or whatever, and not the crazy-ass exception?

Photo: Boston Public Library

So would you guys consider stretching or exercising in airports or other public areas, or do you prefer just to hang out?

33 comments:

  1. When my son was young enough everyone on my flight was hoping they wouldn't have to sit next to us I always got very approving glances as I ran him up the down escalator, had tile hopping races and generally acted like I was trying to wear him out. (I was) Not so much now that he is a tween. Why are we supposed to sit still when we are older than 5? Airports should have gyms...or all ages playgrounds, maybe I would see you there, except I don't fly much and never back east, so probably not, but I'd love to be able to buy and apple and play on the monkey bars during my next layover.

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    1. Crabby McSlackerMay 22, 2014 at 2:37 PM

      Love this AA! (Hmm maybe I should bring along a toddler! Though I suspect kidnapping a random child might get me in more trouble than blatantly exercising in public).

      As to adult playgrounds, yeah, where are they already!?!? http://www.crankyfitness.com/2008/01/fitness-fantasy-adult-playground.html

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    2. Some airports in Europe do have play areas with equipment for children. Not adults. I believe I saw this in Munich and possibly Frankfurt.

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    3. Crabby McSlackerMay 22, 2014 at 5:35 PM

      Europeans always seem to be ahead of us on the exercise front, Bob Ben, dang. Wish they were adult friendly too, but at least it's a good way for all those rowdy kids to get good and tired out before their flight.

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  2. Making a fool of myself and then laughing about it is something I do quite often!

    But, I would bet that most of the folks watching you in the airport wished they had the guts to do what you were doing. It might have gotten a little weird if you asked them to join you, but then again....maybe not. ;-)

    Provincetown...Hmmm....the last time I was there, I was towed!!

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    1. Crabby McSlackerMay 22, 2014 at 5:39 PM

      Oh so sorry about ptown LuckyMama! Unless "towed" is some new hip slang for something more fun than having your car forcibly removed from its parking space?

      "Man, I had WAY too much fun in provincetown, we went out dancing and I got totally towed!!"

      :)

      But I'm thinking probably not...

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  3. SFO's newish Terminal 2 has a yoga room. It's far from the actual gates (boo) but pretty much everyone in there is moving around and not feeling stupid or stared at. Now if only all of my trips could be both into and out of SFO Terminal 2... (alas)

    I was raised just this side of puritan on the conformity scale and though I have come a long, long way from there I still feel that pit in my stomach doing anything in public that's visibly extraordinary (I was going to say weird there, but I'm working on using the power of language to subtly change my own perceptions). Doesn't always stop me but I hate that feeling...and sometimes it for sure does stop me.

    My mobility instructor says we should show everyone around us in the airport lounge the wonderful, helpful, excruciatingly painful things that she teaches us to do to ourselves...because they don't take much space and everyone will be terribly grateful we did! I kind of have my doubts about the "everyone" part but if I saw you in an airport lounge, Crabby, I would totally pair up to do fun exercise-y stuff and teach you the "bone saw" maneuver that Yasmen thinks is such a great icebreaker for airports.

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    1. Crabby McSlackerMay 22, 2014 at 5:43 PM

      Yay Essbee, so glad to have you back!! Always love your comments. And so sorry about the comment thing--it does seem to be more an apple issue from what I can tell.

      Love the "extraordinary" reframe, I'll have to use it myself! And I too am a total conformist, and still have LOTS to work on, I just make these weird exceptions when I want to do something badly enough that I can fuel sufficient denial to pretend I'm not looking all that freaky.

      Your mobility instructor sounds awesome and I am now totally curious about the "bone saw!"

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  4. Also, it seems that I am able to comment on the blog again. Perhaps because I'm using my PC rather than an iDevice? Or perhaps I cleansed my karma by using extraordinary instead of weird. Who knows?

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  5. I would totally get stretchy in an airport. I don't give a rat's ass what the lazy peoples sitting in airport chairs have to say about it.

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    1. Crabby McSlackerMay 22, 2014 at 5:45 PM

      Oh good Yum Yucky, great to know you're a fearless airport stretchy person!

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  6. awesome idea. i totally get you! since i became more active 3 years ago i just hate to sit and wait. will join you in feeling weird and great at the same time :)
    i lost my shame about sucking at sports and get a real kick from just showing up again and again! so hell yeah! public transport! im coming!!!!!!!

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    1. Crabby McSlackerMay 22, 2014 at 5:52 PM

      Hope to see you in an airport sometime puja-- I hope we can all take your advice and just keep showing up, again and again!

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  7. I usually stretch and move around on long flights, LAX to London for example. Not so much in the airport. If anyone thinks I'm weird, they would be correct!

    I'm wishing I'd find a "yoga room" in an airport.

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    1. Crabby McSlackerMay 22, 2014 at 5:54 PM

      Let's hope some day to see more yoga rooms and playgrounds than junk-food retailers... but I ain't holding my breath!

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  8. I'll do some stretches anyplace particularly in the subway but you see runners doing the same stretches all the time too so I don't get many looks for that. My objection to really exercising other than walking is the grime/nasty factor. I would need to carry a yoga mat and then have it disinfected when I was done. I stayed on my feet for 4.5 hours at Mexico city airport after seeing the state of the washroom there and then the seating area. Yikes!

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    1. Crabby McSlackerMay 22, 2014 at 6:14 PM

      Good point about germs Cindy! I suppose some disposable handwipes or something would be handy, but I'm of the "live and let live" lazy school of thought about various bugs I might encounter. Probably not all that smart of me!

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    2. Yeah, that's what would stop me, though not germs but allergens. When I was traveling a lot I developed a special yoga routine that didn't bring my face anywhere near the floor. Carpet is dreadful for my allergies, and I always felt bad enough after sleeping a foot or so away from it. Some airports have a lot of uncarpeted spaces, but they are likely to have been cleaned with things I'm allergic to.

      Mary Anne in Kentucky

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  9. I see a specialist for my eyes every six months. It is always a long wait…the hospital isn't too big, but I do laps around it and usually end up in a different chair when I get back to the waiting area. Kind of like musical chairs, but I am the only one playing. People do look at me, but since I rock the Crocs and socks look, do you think I am concerned?

    Love that you are headed back to the opposite coast. Two words…Tea Dance! Safe travels and enjoy your activity wherever you can get it!

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    1. on droid abot to board for yet another flight, but love that you rock the crocs and socks and be assured t-dance is a definite this weekend!

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  10. Stretching, walking, maybe some lunges or squats. That would probably be all i could do, and if people looked at me as if i were a nut job (which i am, for other reasons), i just tell them my back hurts if i don't get out of the chair and do this stuff. Which is true.

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  11. Death Ride GrandmaMay 23, 2014 at 12:59 AM

    Well, I am pretty self - conscious, but I do seem to be willing to do some stretches in airport waiting areas. My husband, on the other hand, has no apparent awareness of people around him. I try to talk him into moving his child 's pose at least over to the sidewalk when we're out riding & he stops to stretch. The worst, but also funniest, was when we were riding up Haleakala on Maui. He wanted to stop and rest a lot. At one very exposed pull out, he put his bike down & moved into Shavasana (corpse pose) & I happened to be on a cell phone. Well. Everyone who passed offered to call 911 or get out & help. The whole experience did nothing to make me less self conscious!

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    1. that is so funny drg! i think I'm somewhere between you and hubby on that one, but his unselfconsciousness is kinda admirable! but id be dying too!

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    2. DRG, that is so funny!!! Bad for you, but funny for me!

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    3. That's so funny! You made my day. Now, every time the yoga teacher says "Shavasana" I'll think of your Maui story and have a secret smile. :-)

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  12. I just want to pinch each one of those naked bums!

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  13. OMG, you are too funny! Thx for the naked butts too - Hugh Jackman would be good to see.. :)

    I think if I even got to travel I might try some of what you did BUT my hubby probably would not like it - I would embarrass him.. :) Hmmmmmmmmmmm, a good reason to do it!

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  14. That's funny! :D The kids move around all the time. Sometimes doing jumping jacks, sometimes just stretching. I do feel like stretching sometimes but I've always been afraid what the others might think. Sometimes I wish I can easily switch from being an adult to being a kid so I can get away with things kids usually get away with.

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  15. When we fly to Hawaii (free on the tanker - KC135), I always do squats and lunges after a bit - 8 hours is far to long for me to sit in the tiny red jump seat without moving. I also end up standing for about half the flight (partly to try and warm up - downside to free flights!).
    And, I agree - if you have your back to everyone they totally can't see you!!!

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  16. I am *all for* this, and I think it's great. I'm a nurse and I spend a TON of time at the hospital, and a lot of times I can't get to the gym. So I have an entire workout routine that I can do at work (read: squats and push-ups in the stairwell!). Some days you will literally not have time to get a proper workout in (especially if you're a parent), so you have to make the world your gym.

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  17. I used to travel by Greyhound bus a fair bit.. quite a few years ago. I would spend too much time waiting for a bus transfer.. sometimes as much as 6 hours. Bus stations are not in the best part of town.. ever so I would stick around and walk in circles on the periphery of the largest area. Something as simple as that would collect stares. I wouldn't have dared to do anything more but kudos to you for doing what you needed to do.

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  18. I always exercise in airports. I also exercise on the bigger planes, for that matter. Yes, you do get looks. Sometimes, I also get comments, but they are usually positive.

    It's very hard to remain seated the whole duration of a trans-oceanic or trans-continental flight. I need to move before, during, and after. Also, I won't be the one who gets an aneurysm!

    Thanks for the nice butt picture, haha. Seems a little bit dangerous from my lifeguard point of view, however, all those men diving so close together. Spinal column injury, anyone?

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