Thursday, February 9, 2012

War Stories From an AmFam Veteran

I’ve been a member of American Family Fitness for almost 8 years now, ever since my surprise open- heart surgery in 2003, amazing how getting cut open focuses the mind on fitness. On the whole, AmFam and I have gotten along well. I have a flexible work schedule that allows me to work out in the mid afternoon so I never have to fight the crowds. The Short Pump gym is a brand new facility and has everything I need with the added bonus of being minutes from my house. However, after 8 years of any relationship, there inevitably arise…how shall I say??...challenges.

At AmFam there is a policy against cell phone usage. There are charming little signs posted throughout spelling out the prohibition in all areas except the lobby. In addition, a public service announcement randomly runs on the ubiquitous television screens that loom about the place reminding us all of the reasons for the rule, to wit, courtesy towards other members and a concern for personal safety. I must admit to an appalling lack of Christian charity in this business of personal safety, since it would be awesome to see some self-absorbed, hot-shot walk face first into the fist of some guy doing a chest fly because he just HAD to talk to his BFF in the middle of a workout! OMG that would be worth three months of dues right there. Courtesy, on the other hand, is a different matter. The kind of people who can’t go an hour without being connected to their cell phones, constitute the lowest of the low of human development. These guys and girls are the type whose lives are of such grand importance, whose existence so complex and fragile, that they simply cannot run the risk of being off the grid for even thirty minutes. Just yesterday, I was running my 3.5 miles on the treadmill when I was joined by a portly young woman three machines down. In the 35 minutes that followed, this unfortunate woman spent 30 of them engaged in trivial conversation with what seemed to be three different people. Since she came equipped with Bose headphones and a hands-free Blackberry, she couldn’t hear any of my suggestions that she was in clear violation of the Gym cell phone policy. Which brings me to my first complaint, in 8 years, I have suffered through an endless stream of cell phone knuckleheads but not once have I ever seen any member of management ask anyone to stop using their cell phone. I guess it’s going to take a tragic accident before management gets serious about enforcement. A tragic accident maybe like some annoying woman in the midst of a crucial discussion with her BFF about something of earth shattering importance tripping over a barbell and then getting impaled by the bench press bar, the ultimate dropped call!

Complaint number two. There’s this guy at my gym who I have never actually seen working out. But I do know that he is an ex-marine. I know this because of his military haircut, and the loads of ex-marine gear he wears, cap, jacket etc.. The problem with this guy is that he spends 90% of his time at AmFam standing buck naked in front of the sink in the men’s locker room removing his nose hairs with tweezers. Now, when I say ex-marine I mean that in every possible way. This gentleman is very large and in an advanced stage of physical decrepitude. So when he bends over to inspect his nose at close range his back-side poses a real and present danger to any small children that might wander by. They could get lost and never be found again. So…Marine guy, your uh,.. rear echelon needs some covering fire in the worst way man. Semper Fi.

Complaint number three. Whenever I chose to run on the indoor track instead of the treadmill, I invariably run into the group of women who take up all four lanes talking about Paula Deen recipes walking along at the brisk pace of 1 mph. So each lap I have to yell out ..”coming through”, which takes them forever to do causing me to slow down. It’s like the feeling men get when they realize that the tee-time just ahead of them at the golf course consists of four silver-haired women all dressed in pastels, two of whom turn out to be left handed. Ughhhh….

What follows are not complaints, simply observations that one encounters at AmFam on any given day:

@ the skinny- armed guy who wears the biggest, baddest leather support belt known to exist in the free world. He also carries his drinking water in a gallon jug. Hardcore!

@ the mid-twenties guy with perfect hair who works out in extremely tight spandex and literally can’t take a step without checking himself in the mirror.

@ the New Years Resolution crowd that always annoys everyone else for a few weeks in Janurary then disappears.

@ the alarming number of people on staff at AmFam who could stand to back away from the dessert bar every once in awhile themselves!