Wednesday, 21 March 2012

You Either Went to the Gym Today...

Yesterday I joined the gym. I did it online, it took a couple of minutes. Almost too easy. It also gave me the option to not have the induction session. This costs £20, and I had been informed by the woman behind the bullet proof glass at the leisure centre* that it was compulsory.

(*Leisure Centre - why? Does anyone actually go there for leisure?)

I limped down to the gym, using the journey as my warm up; little steps, lunges, high knees, back flicks etc. I had in my bag my printed membership form which I could convert to a plastic card on arrival. Or so I thought.

"Hello." I was putting on my happy Sunday voice and face. The receptionist, a more miserable looking person it would be hard to imagine, looked up from Grazia.


I handed her my paperwork and persevered with smiling. "Can I have a membership card please?"

"The person who does that is on lunch. You can use the gym now and they'll be here when you come out." She pointed the way. I followed her outstretched over-manicured nail to the changing room.

The gym is well stocked with all the equipment a post-operative knee patient needs and then some. I had decided to use the gym just for stuff I couldn't do at home and so I started off on the static bike. I did a nice gentle ten minutes on that and then moved onto the leg press. This is the machine that allows you to lift weights with your legs. That doesn't mean that a trouser press allows you to lift weights with your trousers, although that would be fun.

I did the same weights that I'd done at the hospital and finished off with a further bit of cycling. I felt good, felt that this was something I could do to speed up my recovery and maybe catch up with Ms 3-Week-Aniston. Not that I'm competitive at all.

On the way out I saw that Ms Rable was still at the desk. "Is the membership card issuing supremo around yet?" I thought a joke might lighten her mood but she was on the phone to her mum.

"Sorry Mum, I've got to go...yes bloody work." She put the phone down, closed her magazine with a slap and looked up. "Sorry? What did you say?"

"If it is not too much trouble, it would be really fab if I could exchange this piece of home printed paper for one of your rather lovely membership cards. Is the person who can make this happen in the building?"

She picked up the phone. "Sean? A gentleman," she said the word gentleman as though she was actually saying piece of poo, "wants a membership card...yes...there aren't any...under the what?...(she moved some stuff around) ok then."

She slammed down the phone, obviously been working on the free weights I thought, and grabbed my paperwork. She started typing, wrote a number on the back of a membership card and handed everything back to me.

"Thank you. I didn't realise you could do it. I thought it was a specialist job for Sean."

"No, anyone can do it."

"Oh, but earlier  you indicated that the person who issued membership cards wasn't around."

"Did I?"


"I don't think so."

I dropped the subject and turned to leave. Blocking my way were two hefty blokes in their 50s. I hobbled round them and overheard one say to the other: "I'm just going outside for a fag. I'll see you in the gym."

I was in front of him and we exited the building together. I should have carried on walking but I'm an idiot. I turned to him.

"I'm sorry, I couldn't help but overhear you say that you were going to have a cigarette and then go to the gym."


"Well, I know it's none of my business, but you do realise that if you gave up cigarettes the benefit to your health would probably outdo anything that you do in the gym. You could stop paying for the gym and combine that with the money you've saved on cigarettes and maybe have a really nice treat, a holiday maybe."

"You know you said it was none of your business?"



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