Stand-off with a geriatric

I almost got into a fist fight at the gym the other day.

There I was, pedaling furiously on my torture machine - I mean, exercise bike - when a senior gentleman to my right tried a pick a fight with me.

Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed him staring my way and figured that he had designs on my svelte, 40-something physique.

So I turned to offer him a gratuitous smile, when he said, "You don't HAVE to sing," with a smirk on his wrinkled countenance.

I apologized, but several seconds later, I was overcome with the stark inhumanity of his request. Since when is it a crime to hum at low decibels in a noisy gym? After all, one must somehow distract oneself from the cruel, unpleasantness of exercise.

Did I deserve such disrespect of tone, of innuendo, of blatant disregard for free speech (and song?) Is it my fault that I may simply need - as an impish friend later pointed out - singing lessons? (I trust that you are vigorously shaking your head, “no.”)

So, in the name of every other enthusiastic, slightly off-key aspiring rock star gal out there who has been wrongly stifled, I took a stand.

I didn’t pull any punches.

I just sang louder.

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