By the

March 1, 2001

Are you one of those students who waits for over a half an hour at Yates just to have the privilege to work out on one of the elliptical machines? When exactly did the elliptical craze emerge? And why does it fuel such hostility between fellow Hoyas and even Yates members? I have a few theories:

I was at Yates one morning (I try to work out at Yates during “off” hours when half of the Georgetown campus is not there standing around chatting and making their evening plans) waiting in line to use one of the coveted elliptical machines. The line for the ellipticals on the top floor (overlooking the basketball courts) was not as bad as usual (sometimes it gets up to four or five people), so I was impatiently stretching and checking my watch every few seconds waiting for an elliptical to open up.

Personally, I prefer the ellipticals on the top floor over the ellipticals located on the middle floor. All you stud-muffin basketball players probably think girls prefer the top-floor ellipticals because we get to watch you work your magic during your intramural games (the testosterone-fueled fights and the shirtless old guys with beer bellies are my personal favorites), but honestly, I like the upper-level ellipticals because I am a hopeless clutz and those arms on the middle-floor ellipticals kind of throw me for a loop, if you know what I mean.

Anyway, on to my theory. Of course, one of the ellipticals had an “out of order” sign on it, the second was occupied by an older woman leisurely reading a magazine and not breaking a sweat and the last was occupied by a student dripping in sweat who looked like she had been on the elliptical way over the allotted 30 minute time slot. She was hiding the time on her elliptical with a strategically-placed Self magazine that she had not glanced down at once during the five minutes I had been stretching and waiting. You know whom I’m talking about. I’ll call her “time-hiding girl”: that one girl who refuses to acknowledge you if you politely walk up and ask how much time she has left in her workout. Now you wonder why there’s so much hostility? There’s more to my theory, though.

It got even better when another girl walked up to the “out of order” sign, sneakily glanced over her shoulder and proceeded to discard the sign on the floor and hop on the supposedly “broken” machine. She’s now fondly known as “line-cutting girl.” Conspiracy anyone? Honestly, if “time-hiding girl” hadn’t ended her workout at the same time “cutting-line girl” hopped on the now magically-working “out of order” machine, I don’t know what I would have done. Breathing a sigh of relief, I hopped on the free elliptical, turned on my Walkman and prepared for my 30-minute ellipticize (there’s got to be some verb for the exercise done on an elliptical).

Within seconds, however, I realized some thing was horribly wrong. There was some weird clicking noise coming from the machine and it was messing up my rotations. Argh. One of the cool guys in the blue Yates t-shirts saw my dazed-and-confused look and came over to help out. “Whoops,” he responded while pointing to the “out of order” sign on the floor.

“Did you take this off the machine?” We finally figured out that the sign had been on the wrong machine (I’m convinced that the cut-line girl switched the signs earlier in the morning so she could bypass dumb people like me waiting in line).

Dejectedly, I slunk over to one of the treadmills and began to trot along cursing at myself for deciding it was too cold outside to run down to the monuments. After my excruciatingly boring jog on the treadmill, I happened to glance over at the ellipticals. A maintenance guy had just finished repairing the broken one and a happy looking girl was just hopping on, strategically placing her Fitness Magazine to hide her time.

Oh, the cycle will always continue.

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