Monthly Archives: February 2015

Quit Kidding Around at the Gym

Andrea Freedman

Recently, I got more than I bargained for while at the gym for my daily workout.

Everything was fine until all of a sudden I was startled when I heard a thud; I turned around and to my horror, saw a boy about twelve years old lying on the floor next to a treadmill he had been on beside his mother.

At first the boy seemed okay; nevertheless, I was flabbergasted when I saw him attempt to jump right back on his treadmill, while it was still moving! Not surprisingly, he fell again, but this time it was much more serious.

I was appalled when I saw his mother continuing on with her workout as if nothing had happened, and that she allowed things to escalate to that point in the first place, when from what I clearly saw, she could have insisted he not jump back on a moving treadmill, thus preventing the accident.

While at first it seemed that the kid was more embarrassed than anything else, and he tried to save face and act like nothing happened, it quickly became apparent that he was not in fact okay. Unfortunately, the boy’s mom did not realize the severity of his injury and allowed him to try to get back on the treadmill yet a third time, taking his word for it that that he was alright, when in reality, the fall had in fact taken its toll on him.

After he fell yet again, and there was clearly something wrong, gym members yelled “Call 911!” as club staff rushed over to attempt to help the boy. I was reminded of a shop teacher I had in junior high school that used to say “That’s an accident looking for a place to happen”. I have seen kids misusing equipment at the gym before, and it reminded me of my teacher’s warnings. I knew that, unfortunately, it was only a matter of time before somebody got hurt.

The quickness of my heart rate and rise in blood pressure had little to do with my workout, but more to do with the shock I felt when I saw a child lying on the floor, his face having changed to a frightening green colour, and his eyes staring blankly.

Gym owners have rules in place, such as no kids under a certain age, unsupervised by his or her parent. Having said that, health club owners can only do so much. It is really up to the parents who bring their kids with them to the gym to keep an eye on them and let them know when they are in harm’s way.

The boy was trying to have some fun, not realizing the danger he was putting himself in; too bad he did not have the guidance that could have saved him, not to mention those of us who witnessed his fall off the treadmill, from such a traumatic experience.

While I applaud young people who are physically fit, as well as their parents for encouraging a healthy lifestyle, kids can get enough exercise by participating in team sports and outdoor activities. They do not need to be in the gym, and what I witnessed the other day is just one example to support that.

The gym is not a place for kids to play. If they are going to be there staff needs to take the time to train them and teach them how to properly use the equipment, and parents have to take the responsibility of supervising their children at their respective health clubs, even if it comes at the expense of their own workouts.

The gym is great, when used properly, but it can be dangerous if not taken seriously. In the blink of an eye, the course of a child’s life can change; knowing that it comes as a result of carelessness and thoughtlessness makes it all the more tragic.

While we can learn a lot from kids, they still need guidance and in some cases, such as in the gym, protection.

I am happy to report that since the incident at my gym, I have heard that the boy involved is in fact going to be okay. Nevertheless, I hope this serves as a valuable lesson to parents: Send the kids back to the playground or soccer field where they belong and let’s make sure the gym is used as a health benefit, rather than a health hazard.♠



Copyright © by Andrea Freedman 2015


Close the Bathroom Door

Andrea Freedman

I notice a disturbing trend these days where couples go to the washroom in front of each other, and I don’t mean always necessarily only peeing. Movies depict couples chatting while using the washroom as if it were the most normal acceptable thing in the world.

Some people seem to think that if you can feel comfortable enough to defecate in front of your significant other then you must have a really great relationship.

I knew one woman who bragged “Oh I go to the washroom in front of my husband, I don’t care.”

Perhaps her husband cared though, considering they are now divorced. While I doubt the demise of the marriage had a lot more to do with letting your pants – pardon me, your hair down in front of one’s spouse.

It may sound old fashioned and I am only in my forties. I by no means clean our home wearing pearls and a dress so that my husband will not be disillusioned with me, but I draw the line at forcing him to watch my bodily functions.

Some people, even those in my own age group, may accuse me of being a fuddy-duddy. I felt the same way when I was much younger as I do now about this subject and I suspect my feelings will not change years from now. As far as I am concerned, using the bathroom in front of one’s partner is taking letting oneself go to the extreme.

While I by no means wish to be a prude, as shocking as this may sound, I somehow think my mom’s generation had it right in some ways.

It goes hand in hand with all the young women I see having what I call that “I’m tired” look, wearing sweats, hair pulled back and of course no make-up and no time for a shower.

Although as years go by people generally do not always look exactly the same as they did when they first got married, abandoning all grooming, body-consciousness and demureness and dressing like a slob could be taking comfort levels too far.

Keeping the romance alive in a marriage is important. How do people expect to do that when they are taking a dump in front of his or her husband or wife? I would not even do that in front of my closest friends. My husband is also my friend so I think he deserves the same regard at least as my other friends.

I know people are generally cooler these days and things are less formal but that should not mean that all sense of decorum and yes, modesty, goes out the window.

I personally appreciate that my husband closes the door when he uses the washroom and I am sure he is just fine leaving some things to the imagination when it comes to me too.

Just because you go to the bathroom in front of one another is not necessarily a testimonial to how good your relationship is – in fact, it might mean just the opposite.

It is one thing to be yourself but if yourself happens to be being a boor, do yourself and your partner a favour, and keep it behind closed doors.♠

Copyright © by Andrea Freedman 2015

Hey Wait a Minute – Am I Middle-Aged?

Andrea Freedman


Recently, when it took me weeks to recover from what started as a simple cold, in a rare moment I found myself wondering if it had to do at all with the fact that I am now approaching my late forties. I looked in the mirror and did not like what I saw. It seemed as though a routine flu caused me to age to such a degree in only two short weeks, that the telltale signs of reaching middle age caught up with me without my having noticed.

I am not someone who buys into aging and I especially do not feel that being in one’s forties in this day and age is anywhere near close to getting old. While some of my contemporaries have taken to saying things like “I’m almost fifty years old” three years before that milestone actually arrives, I nod politely and think “Maybe YOU are almost fifty but don’t look at me.”

Since having had an accident more than four years ago, pain and stiffness in the ankle I broke severely are now a part of my daily life, even though I try not to give in to it or let it stand in my way.

After years of wear and tear, I suppose it is only natural that some body parts, like any other equipment or machinery, may start to slow down. Having said that, I come from a family where my older relatives rarely complain of ailments, even when they have them, and go about their activities as they always have. Perhaps that is why I have very little patience to listen to others when they complain about every ache and pain.

Keeping in good physical condition goes a long way as far as being able to carry out other activities such as walking and even taking long flights of stairs when necessary. So does attitude! Sure things might happen to my joints, and yes, I will age just like everybody else. But that does not mean that I should not try my best to feel good and think young for as long as I can.

I don’t mind some of the rights of passage that come with becoming middle aged (although I admit that even when I say it, it makes me cringe a little bit). I cannot deny lines near my eyes and I was appalled recently when I noticed that I was getting a few more grey hairs – no matter, they will be quickly concealed by my hairdresser.

When a friend my own age tells me he or she feels his or her age “in their bones” or I see one of my peers having to take a break while walking up a flight of stairs, I find it quite disturbing.

I do confess to being tired after a long day and not having the desire to go out at night nearly as often as I used to. Perhaps this has to do with getting older, or maybe it simply means that I am merely content with my life.

I had to stop and reel myself in when I started to be bothered by loud music and even loud, inconsiderate talking. Where I used to crave action and excitement, now sometimes all I want is some peace and quiet.

It has taken me a long time to get to know myself, apparently, if I were to take this middle age thing literally, for approximately half of my life. Nevertheless, it has been an interesting experience.

Although I am forty-eight years old, I still have a hard time thinking of myself as middle-aged. The truth is though, in a way I don’t mind being called Ma’am, nor being given the respect that goes along with the title.

If others are happy to consider themselves in their fifties before their time, that is their business. All I can do is take care of myself, maintain a positive attitude and hope for the best, no matter how old I am.

Middle age may have tried to creep up on me when I wasn’t looking; I can accept how old I am, but that does not mean that I have to give in to everything that stereotypes imply goes along with it.

I am happy to report that I am feeling fine and back to myself again. In fact, if anyone asked me how old I am I would have to stop and think before answering; no matter – when I need a reminder, I am sure there will be someone out there who will be only too happy to call me “Ma’am”.♦



Copyright © by Andrea Freedman 2015