Thursday, January 18, 2007

My Mood's Staying Vicious

In the past few years, I've become a gym rat. Not in the sense that the majority of my social interaction happens within the hallowed walls of the gym, but if I don't go to the gym at least a few times a week, I go batty. I get cranky, I can't sleep, and I start feeling the fat cells coagulating around my midsection in earnest. Going to the gym also allows me to eat french fries and drink beer without gaining a ton of weight. Sure, I'm no supermodel, but life is too short to turn down pasta and wine.

I joined the gym I belong to about a year and a half ago. After going to a gym in Brookline for a year or so that was far too small, then not working out while I was dating the Whatever, I'd had it with the lack of physical fitness in my life and noticed a new gym near my office. The gym had been remodeled and had a pool, so I decided to join. It wasn't cheap, but I was there several times a week which made it worth it. Occasionally, I didn't get the piece of equipment I wanted, but I could generally get in and work out with a minimal hassle. This fall, however, it started getting too busy. If I didn't leave work promptly at 5, I would have to wait for any equipment at all to be open. Machines started breaking, making the lines even longer. I dreaded the arrival of the post-holiday crush of people.

Since the new year, it's been bad. I've been leaving work at 4:58 to get out of the building and walk a few blocks to the gym before everybody else can change and get the equipment. Even then, if I don't change lightening-quick I get stuck on some horrible treadmill I trip on or the rowing machine. Last night, however, I had a meltdown.

I usually take a Wednesday night pilates class because I loathe sit-ups. The pilates is nice because it does all the ab work without all the stupid crunching and flashbacks to the Presidential Fitness Tests in elementary school. The Wednesday class instructor is very thorough, so I try to go to her class. Tuesday nights are better for me time-wise, but the instructor who teaches that class just yells and doesn't check to make sure everyone is doing the moves correctly. Last night, I ran into the locker room from the cold outside at 6:15 to make the 6:30 class. The locker room was buzzing with women. I went to a locker without a lock. There was stuff in it. I opened another lockless locker. Stuff. Stuff. Every locker I opened had someone's stuff in it.

Ladies! If you can shell out $75 a month for dues, you certainly can shell out $5 for a combination lock at CVS. Not only will it keep women who aren't as opposed to stealing as I am out of your stuff, but it clues other people in on whether there is stuff in the locker. I think I am going to resort to vigilante stealing to teach people the value of a lock. Watch your socks, ladies. The next occupied and unlocked locker I open will have me stealing the socks within and making puppets out of them. I will swipe your deodorant on my pits. Steal a spritz of your designer perfume. Read the salacious details of your life on your Blackberry. Don't mess with me.

I started throwing a fit. "I pay $75 a month and I can't even get a fucking locker in this place without waiting? I'm month-to-month, bitches. I'll join Healthworks so fast their heads will spin." Thankfully, Amy was finishing up her shower and she dumped her stuff on the floor so I could throw my things in a locker, put on my workout clothes and head over to pilates so I could hopefully get a spot in the front of the room so I could see the instructor even without my glasses.

When I got to the pilates room, it turned out Wednesday night instructor wasn't in so I had Tuesday night instructor. I would have felt like an asshole walking out before to class even began, so I decided to try and deal with her style of teaching. The class started ten minutes late because there weren't enough foul-smelling mats in the room and Tuesday had to go get some. Many people were new to pilates and had no idea what the instructor was talking about as she barked at us to do moves. "Where's your belly?" she'd ask. "It should be sucked in and up." She didn't walk around to correct people, just kept barking. A few people got up and left in the middle of the class. I sat through it, but I missed my Wednesday teacher. If she asks me where my belly is one more time, I am going to cut her, I thought. If that woman who seems to be a devotee to Tuesday makes an orgasm grunt noise one more time, I am leaving.

I managed to get through the class, made my return to the still-crammed locker room, and got out without stabbing a skinny bitch with her own elbow, but it was a close call. I grabbed one of the "suggestions" forms to fill out at home and drop off tonight. I understand that a gym is a business that wants to make money, but signing up endless scads of new members without even considering the capacity of the club is stupid. Members won't encourage their friends to join (Kristen and I have had several people sign up on our recommendation) if the members that already go can't work out properly. I know that the crowd will drop off a bit once the New Year's Resolution people peter out, but it's frustrating to not get done what you want to get done. I overheard someone else complaining that the pre-work crowd is also too big now. The only decent, long workout I've gotten in was on Saturday afternoon and even then it was much busier than other Saturdays have been. I am not a member of some spandex-clad cattle heard that will just loiter around and chat with the old lady who can't let go of her youth as she uses the stair climber. I want to get in, get sweaty, and get out in time for Idol. If I can't do it in my club, I'll find another.

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