Sunday, August 4, 2013

My Goofy Little Gym

So I belong to a goofy little gym that's part of a goofy little chain.  There's nothing about this goofy little gym that's luxurious.  The parking situation is weird -- either park on the roof or park on this street.  If you park in the street level parking lot, you will be towed.  There are no classes offered.  There is no swimming pool.  There are no massage chairs or tanning beds.  You cannot ever get a haircut.  The locker rooms are spare but clean and the showers are the same way.  The toilet area has never made me cringe.  The towels are threadbare washclothes.

The employees are nice or nice enough and don't seem to have attitude issues.  If you need to know how to do something, they will show you.  They all seem to get along, especially the weekend crew of three men.  The weekend crew used to be two women but no two men could ever replace two women and so a third man was brought in.  The women bustled about more, getting things done that needed it.  The men enjoy entertaining each other but eventually get around to cleaning and straightening and folding the towels.  Sometimes they are nowhere around to make sure everyone has their card or to call 911 if something unpleasant happens.  Sometimes I am there for my whole workout and never see one of them.  I've decided this is okay because the place is stuffed with testerone-y types with muscles and determination.  I also work out near an exit and if I have to flee, it's right there.  When they're there, they seem to be glad to see me.

During my (so far) yearlong membership, the club has brought in equipment, all of which is for the body builder types.  The belts on treadmills need to be replaced, the TVs built into the treadmills need a lot of attention and often don't work, and the channels on each machine depends on the caprice of the staff at the time.  I finally asked if I could call from the treadmill if I wanted another station programmed in and they said yes, they would not be opposed to my doing that (but I've not done it yet).  The place now has probably 20% more equipment than when I joined last year.  It's a small space, so it looks stuffed.

Recently, a shiny new health club opened a location two blocks away.  It's huge, in a former grocery store space that had been empty for many years.  The equipment is all new and the choice of TV stations is great.  When my contract was up last month, I went to check it out.  It was nice in there and I was greeted by a young man at the counter who seemed to be taking up space and giving out towels and not much else.  He could answer no questions.  His associate then came over and gave me their spiel and a lot of attitude.  Lots and lots of attitude and no explanation for why their enrollment fee was so high.  Then he thought he would share that the enrollment fee changes depending on the day of the month you came in.  Then he offered me some more attitude and as I was leaving, a little more attitude than that.  It must be a perk of the job:  giving attitude to everyone.

Yesterday I came into the club and it was stuffed with muscular men pushing around weights, leaping onto different heights of table, running on the treadmill like they were being chased by bad men with guns.  The employees were nowhere to be seen.  Later they materialized by the treadmills, one standing on the still treadmill belt while the other two talked to him.  When I was leaving I said hi and bye and they seemed glad to see me.  I decided I would just stay put.

AFTERWORD:  I went to my goofy little gym tonight and there were no employees to be seen.  I really wanted to watch "60 Minutes" but my treadmill TV didn't offer it.  Yes, I called.  Yes, a guy answered and yes, he sweetly and politely checked to make sure my treadmill's TV was programmed for it and then came over and put it on for me.  He was absolutely lovely. 

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