Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Gym Complaint and the Aftermath

This morning at 5:15 I rolled into the gym sleepy and groggy from last night's cold ones. I was nearing beginning my routine of listening to my headphones and wondering around aimlessly for a little while when I was approached by a YMCA employee, whom we will call "floor person". I had a few previous encounters with this floor person, whose job is basically to patrol the exercise area. Before, she had told me that I was not allowed to take my shoes off to deadlift (apparently she makes exceptions for people doing yoga, which is infuriating). As she approached, I looked down to see my shoed-feet and wondered what the hell she wanted this time.

"Eric, yesterday when you were dead-lifting, I got a couple of complaints about how loud it is when you drop the weights after you are done." Naturally, wanting to confront my dipshit accusers, I said "well, who was it that complained?" The floor person refused to tell me, to which I said that the complaint was noted but that I would not be changing anything about how I dead-lift next Tuesday or any Tuesday thereafter. The floor person, agitated, recommend that, if I cannot lower the weights quietly, I use less weight. Well, that's not an option, bro. Then she pointed to some guy dead-lifting for reps and said "see, he can do it." Now I was getting steamed, "that's 135, (floor person), that is NOT THE SAME AT ALL." Then she sniped "well, you need to either make less noise or use less weight". In an effort to control my outrage at being told by a gym employee not to make noise with weights AT A FUCKING GYM, I stepped onto a slow moving treadmill and assured the floor person that I would make the "slightest of efforts" to make less noise.

As I strolled along on the treadmill, I recalled the part of the exchange where the floor person told me that I wasn't the only member of the gym and that it is her job to make sure everyone is comfortable. Seething, I yanked the cord that you are supposed to yank if you are passing out on the treadmill and it came to a sudden stop. I stormed off to the front desk and asked the woman working there if she was the manager on duty. She informed me that she was in fact the branch Assistant Director, an admission that I am sure she immediately regretted.

I told her the gist of mine and the floor person's conversation. Then I proceeded to tell her that I did not believe that "comfort" of the members should be the top priority of a gym. I reminded her that we were at a gym and not a hotel. I asked her if this particular floor person frequently accosted other members despite them abiding by the rules of the gym or if I was being singled out. And finally I pointed out that there was not a sign prohibiting a loud lowering of weights. During this entire exchange, she nodded her head and said she agreed with me. Whether she did or whether she just wanted the maniac in front of her to leave her alone, we will never know. Fortunately, I reminded her many times that I was not "mad at her". Eventually I shut up and she told me she would pass along the information to the Director.

Later, in an effort to cheer myself up, I was listening to Lonely Island on the elliptical when I saw the Assistant Director accompanying a familiar face into the gym mat area. Apparently this guy and another guy had gotten into some type of verbal altercation and the familiar face went to grab a mediator. As I watched this guy's mouth move, it became apparent he was doing a lot of needless complaining, Suddenly I recalled that this asshole was doing some type of side bend on the back extension machine (it should be noted that despite this being an improper use of the machine, he was not cited by the floor person) just a few feet from where I was dead-lifting yesterday. It appeared I had unearthed one of my accusers. But how to play it?

After I finished my last "Level 7" "hill" on the elliptical machine, I decided to talk to the Assistant Director one more time. Before she could see me coming, I slipped in front of her and immediately began contrasting whatever happened between those two guys and my situation. While they were making complaints, I was responding to a complaint lodged against me. While they had obviously broken a posted rule barring verbal abuse, I had not broken any posted rule. Finally, while they had been instigating one another, I  just wanted to put my headphones on, limit interactions, and go about my business.

In the end, I decided to appear to be the bigger man and closed my bitching with a plea for the status quo. I told the Assistant Director that I never wanted this.  That, despite being impossible due to the inability to time travel, I wish mine and the floor person's conversation had never taken place. I told her that I wake up early to lift as a means to relieve stress from "a one-year-old, a three-year-old and over a hundred clients, of whom at least half are currently incarcerated." Most importantly, I told her that "I love this YMCA, from the sauna, to the childcare, to the readily available clean towels and I would never want to go anywhere else." However, I did remind her that this situation needed some type of resolution and that we would see what happens next Tuesday.

I am afraid my scan card will be deactivated tomorrow.

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