I get very nervous when I have to host a dinner party. My fear has nothing to do with the food prep or social anxiety, however. I am simply focused on making sure everyone leaves my house promptly when the party is over.
I have a few tools available to give people the hint. I’m a huge fan of loudly collecting everyone’s plates and silverware, sometimes taking the dinnerware right out of my guests’ hands. I also don’t hesitate to start turning off lights. Finally, there’s something I learned from my father, the best in the business when it comes to killing a party. When all else fails, I just shut off the air conditioner. You’re much better off enduring a little discomfort now than entertaining long into the night.
When I’m at the gym, I feel like a guest at my own party after the dessert has been served. It’s obvious they want me to leave, and for good reason: The success of gym economics depends upon signing up members that never show. What possible good does it do to have someone like me as a member – someone who constantly pushes the equipment to its limits, consumes handfuls of paper towels to wipe off sweat, and runs up the water bill with long hot showers?
To be sure, gym managers have their own ways to give me the hint. They often blast irritating music, though I’ve become fairly immune to that maneuver. They also love having their cleaning crew run the vacuum right next to my bench while I’m doing sets of heavy presses. Today, they unveiled a new tactic: Between a set of squats, they sent an exterminator over to my rack to spray pesticide all along the wall.