There we were in class balancing on our stability balls. We had our hands on the floor and our feet on the balls, and then we were supposed to pull our knees into our chests, and then push the balls back out again. If you are having trouble visualizing this, I don’t blame you.

One of the other girls asked me “Where are you feeling this?”

I had trouble processing the question. I was engaged in trying not to fall down, give up, or inadvertently shoot the stability ball off into the room, knocking down my classmates like bowling pins. I was not engaged in thinking about where I felt that exercise.

I also couldn’t articulate that. I made a few guesses. “Legs,” she puffed. “I think it’s legs.”

Some parts of the class are quite difficult. I am accustomed, during difficult exercise, to focus on the music and put energy into feeling the rhythmic movement. The music for this class is rhythmic, but the words are things like “Get up on the dance floor, Mama, and take off all your clothes, ’cause it’s the freakin’ weekend.” I might have included more than one song in this quote, because they are all pretty similar. They run together. At one point in this set a female voice answered, “It’s getting so hot I want to take off all my clothes,” or something like that, but mostly it is just men saying they like it when their listener’s body bumps ’cause it is apparently still a freakin’ weekend.

Earlier, while warming up on the treadmill, I read that the average healthy American woman spends 90% of her weekend “resting.” That means that, apart from roughly 4.8 hours, she is resting the entire time.

4.8 hours would cover an evening out, OR housework and grocery shopping, OR a trip to the park with the kids and church, OR one social occasion, with or without clothes. You couldn’t do all those things and still get in that 90% rest time.

I thought I was a pretty good loller about, but if that is the average, then I look like a piker in the sloth department.

The Princess agrees with that article. Of course, she is a princess.

Now, all this makes me think about something on another xanga. Namely, blog manners. If a reader is offended, then is it the writer’s fault?

I tend to feel that this is my diary, albeit a public diary, and nobody is forced to read it, so anyone who is offended can just quit reading.

But look at all the opportunities a person could have to be offended by my casual comments about cardiopump class! You could be offended by my light attitude toward what may be a highly-researched form of exercise. You could be my classmate, offended because I said you puffed (she did). You could feel miffed that I mocked your favorite songs. You could think that I was being self-righteous about idleness, or buying into stereotypes, or condescending to average women.

I have to admit that I am not tactful. It is not that I don’t try to be tactful and thoughtful, because I do. I don’t refer to Messrs. Cheney and Bush as “Dr. Evil and the Chimp” when I am speaking to a Republican, or make critical remarks about people. I think my problem is like one of my mother’s examples. A doctor said to her, “Now, this procedure is interesting in that it is really excruciatingly painful.”

I relate to the doctor with foot in mouth. I tend to approach things with a fairly abstract attitude, and when someone is offended by something I have said, I am most likely to be thinking “I wasn’t talking about you.” But many people take things personally.

Including things written on blogs.

One of the things I like about xanga (and there are lots of things I like about xanga) is that it is a nice neighborhood. You don’t get a lot of rough talk here. The chances of getting cruel comments or accidentally starting a blogwar are slim. There are other blog communities where a chance remark about a knitting pattern can escalate into name-calling, and people routinely swear at one another in the comment sections. So it is possible that I have already chosen to hang out in a place where I can expect my readers to give me the benefit of the doubt and not take offense.

Does that give me (or you, for that matter) carte blanche to say whatever we like? Remember, we are talking not about free speech, but about blog manners.

Here’s what I think. We should be able to write freely about our thoughts and feelings without excessive self-censorship, because these are our journals. We should be pleased to accept disagreement from readers, since we are writing our journals in public. We should — in posts or in comments — try to maintain civility, because we are civilized people. We should not write about other people in a way that would cause them pain if they were to read or hear about it, because that is a requirement of human decency.

I don’t think that saying someone puffed during cardiopump is going to cause her pain.