Friday, June 23, 2017

A Simple Solution

Our gym has been under-going a refurbishment.  It's been closed for several weeks; we've been Wandering Jews, working out at the chains' other locations, running into familiar faces in strange locations.  Without a routine, a rhythm, a usual pattern of where-to-walk-when, my weight workouts have suffered.

Okay, I'll be honest.  I've only gone to one other gym one time during the renovations.  TBG, however, has made the rounds, from 1st Avenue to Marana to Oro Valley, experimenting with different bikes in different rooms, lifting with strangers instead of old friends.  It's not the worst problem in the world, but it made a difference in our lives.

So, when My Yogi sent an email announcing the reopening on Monday at noon, my heart soared.  I anticipated balloons and snacks and lots of cheerful worker bees roaming the gym floor, explaining the new equipment and leading me to that which I couldn't find.  Once again, I'd have a cozy workout location exactly one mile from my house.  I could get into a routine that would work; stopping at the gym on the way home is much easier when the gym itself is on the way home, too.

But, as with most things LA Fitness, the plan went awry.  I organized my Monday so that I was hydrated, fed, finished with my errands, and in the parking lot at 12:05pm.  The door was open, but there was no bunting.  I parked, wondering why they were letting the air conditioning flow freely into the outdoors.  Upon closer inspection, as I untangled my headphones, I noticed buckets and tools strewn across the entryway.

Working out next to worker bees always makes me uncomfortable.  I feel guilty indulging myself next to someone who is vacuuming or painting or installing for a living.  But I was there and I was dressed and I was ready to see the new digs..... until a friend turned back from the doorway, shoulders sagging.   I rolled down my window to hear "It's not going to open until 5."

I went home, deflated.  I gave myself mental credit for showing up, but my body did not reap the benefits.  TBG and I went out to lunch, planning to attend the delayed opening later in the day.  Wisely, I called before I drove over.  The phone went directly to a recording that told me, over and over and over again on a never-ending loop, that my call was important and they would get to me shortly.  Did I mention that the recording repeated itself endlessly?  I listened for a while, in futile expectation of a connection, before I hung up in frustration.

I drove to pick up dinner at the restaurant we were going to go to after we'd worked out, the one that shares a parking lot with our gym.  Again, the door was open, construction equipment strewn about the entrance, and disappointed exercisers turning away in frustration.  5 was as useless a time frame as noon; they were still working.  I smiled as I passed, noting the chairs still covered in plastic.  This gym never fails to disappoint me.

I went to Pilates on Tuesday morning, considered going to the gym, just to see if it was actually open, and spent the day doing other things... including a massage that was heavenly.  Ms Magic Fingers and I laughed; I'd worked my traps and triceps in Pilates and, because I'd not been in the gym in two weeks, they were the object of much attention by her fabulous hands.  I was sorry that the rest of me had not had the same opportunity to become stressed.  I promised that I'd go to the gym this morning, no matter what.

And so, I did.  After the audiologist and a quick errand, I stowed my treasures in the glove compartment and entered my brighter, cheerier, cleaner, new gym.  The mini-lockers, the ones that hold a wallet and keys, are now back by the locker rooms; I stowed my stuff and worked out.  Some of the equipment was different, some was the same, some was missing, and none of it was where it had been before.  I lifted and I sweated and I smiled at old friends.

When it was time to go I turned the little dials to the code I'd entered, and pulled.  Nothing.  I tried the other code I always use.  Nothing.  I spun the dials, tried again, failed again.  I asked for help and found myself alongside the maintenance staffer whose key couldn't open it, either.  The Operations Manager's key didn't work.  The Facilities Guy (his term, not mine) was at the southeast location, a long drive away from our northwest situation.

"I don't know what to tell you," was the OM's response.  No offer of a cab home.  No offer of a phone to call a friend.  No apology.  No concern beyond the fact that their keys were unable to solve the problem.  I began to look for a power drill.  I really wanted to go home.

Another member, faced with the same situation, was more sanguine.  I felt the steam coming out of my ears, but I tried to remain polite, channeling The Cuters who tell me that I'll get further if I don't scream at everyone.  Shortly, there was no one to whom I could direct my outrage.  The OM disappeared, after telling me that all the other lockers opened and if I'd only put in my combination correctly my door would open, too.

Thanks.  Blaming the victim, especially when I'm the victim, is not the way to win my heart.  I entered the correct code.  The problem was with the door and their keys, not with my memory or ability to roll a dial.  I began to reframe my morning, changing plans as I added hours of waiting to my day.

And then, there was chatter behind me.  In Spanish, but with gestures I could clearly understand, one of the painters was describing exactly what I'd suggested to the maintenance worker at the start of the issue.  Pry the door open.  With me standing by, full of encouragement, they used two screwdrivers inserted in the seams to bend the back of the door, then the bottom of the door, then the side ... and poof, there were my wallet and my keys.

The sanguine fellow who'd been waiting beside me asked for the same treatment; I left as they were working on his unit.  I didn't get far, though.  I returned to make certain that Jose, my painter friend, was not in trouble for breaking into the locked unit.  The OM assured me that everything is fine, but I've been around LA Fitness enough to know to check with the people who are actually affected by management decisions before I relax and let an issue go.  Shaking Jose's hand once again, I listened as he thanked me for my concern and insisted that he was fine.

I'll buy my own lock and use a larger locker from now on.  I'll smile at Jose whenever he's around.  I'll check to see if they've fixed anything when I work out tomorrow.  I won't be using the mini-lockers any more.  That's the best way to deal with LA Fitness.... on my own terms, watching out for me and mine, and not expecting very much in return.


  1. And people wonder why I don't go to the gym...

  2. Your blog is very useful for me.I really like you post.Thanks for sharing.


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