The Horrible Gym

So I went to re-join the horrible gym the other day.  I call it the Horrible Gym because it is.  It’s an ugly, grim industrial room, loud, and full of grunting people who should probably wear a bit more clothing.

Beyond the obvious things about gyms, this one is even worse because it's small, just one room, and it smells.  The smell of unhappiness, if you know that smell.  Not the sweat smell of someone who was outside working hard, but more the smell of someone who is about to take a lie detector test.  And the fact that it doesn’t even have showers.  Also, a lot of people there are overweight, which also makes it seem like a lot of misery for little payoff.

I quit my membership a year and a half ago because I’d rather do yoga or something outside.  But, the winters are long and full of darkness and rain, and sometimes a bit of exercise can change things in a good way, so I decided to rejoin.  They’re having a special now where the membership fee is half-price if you bring a sack of groceries for Hopelink.  If me signing up to be even more of a gerbil than I already am can help hungry people, yay, bonus.

So first I go to the horrible big chain grocery store, and let's just go on a little side rant here, shall we?  It is the most inefficient idea ever to have random people buy a bunch of groceries at retail prices with no master plan or knowledge of what’s needed.  If I were to make a donation to the actual group that was going do bulk shopping in an organized fashion, I’m sure more calories could be purchased. 

But I go to the horrible large grocery store, and it takes me forever to decide what to buy, and I’m making a million decisions about groceries for someone I’ve never met.  I don’t know what they need or like, so I keep going up and down the aisles wondering if they would even do anything with lentils or not.  Are they the lentil kind?  Probably not.  I buy peanut butter, tuna, almonds.  I decide that although they aren't the lentil kind, the would enjoy some cans of low-sodium chicken soup.  I think about buying things like hand lotion and tampons, but decide against it because there are just too many problems with that that I won't go into here.  I end up spending about $65 to save $39,. 

I go to the gym to sign up, and am again reminded of why I call it The Horrible Gym.  It’s one smallish room filled with loud bad music, clanging of weights dropping, and the same overweight people I left there a year and a half ago are trudging along on the treadmills.

So a man who looks like David C. Fisher, that guy who played the repressed conservative gay man on Six Feet Under, starts filling out my form.  He’s kind of doughy and short-haired in a republican way.  If his personal style could talk, it would say, “I’d like to eliminate welfare benefits, because by god, I work for a living and so should those lazy people.  And, by the way, it’s my property and no stinkin’ government can tell me what to do on my land.”  I know!  How can I tell all this by looking at him?  So unfair.

But I give my groceries over, and he does all this form stuff that takes forever, giving me plenty of time to watch what appears to be the zombie apocalypse happening on the treadmills nearby.  He eventually hands the form back for my signature, and I see that the monthly charge has gone up to $30 a month, rather than the $19 I was paying a year and a half ago.

“Wow. Really?  $30 a month?”

“Yes.  It’s been a looong time since you’ve been here.”  As he says this, he looks at me as if I’m really out of shape.

“But seriously, that’s a 60 percent increase in a year.  Does that seem steep?”

He stands there with his soft doughy white hands pushing the pen towards me.  His hands look like they have never touched the earth, not even once.  “Well, it depends on your fitness goals.”

I’m starting to get really annoyed, because the correct answer would be, “Why yes!  60% is a rather steep increase.  I see your point, and yet, this is why we find it necessary to increase, yada yada yada.”

I would have so just signed the form had he said anything like that, but he didn’t, which was irritating.  I also realize I’m totally in the wrong here.  Like, his thought bubble, if he had one, would have said, “Um, hello lady, you came in here to join, it is what it is, take it or leave it, but don’t come in here and then whine about it.  Nobody made you come here.”  That would have been completely fair, so I was feeling in the wrong and in the right at the very same time, which made me backpedal just a bit.

“Hmm, I just don’t know if I will really get my money’s worth for $30 a month,” I say, giving him the space to also backpedal, which he didn't.

He looks me up and down and says, “Well, I guess it depends on how important fitness is to you. What your fitness goals are.”

I decide not to join. “Yeah, I guess they aren't big enough.  You can keep the groceries, though.”  I’m polite, but feeling defiant, like, huh, we did the stand off, and I won. 

I see his surprise, because he probably thought his snarky fitness goal line was a surefire thing, and he gets all, “well, I can put you down as a prospective joiner.  You can try it out for 10 times for $50. And if you want to buy ten more after that, you can.  As a prospective member.”

I’m all about compromising, so I give him my $50 and the bag of groceries.  I may develop some fitness goals that involve the zombie apocalypse or living in a cage.


  1. Don't you have a pool that smells like chlorine and has scary echoes? Nah, that's no better.


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