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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Sounds in the Gym

The other day, when I was on the treadmill at the gym, I suddenly became aware of all the squeaking coming from the machines all around me. Each machine seems to have a distinct squeak; my treadmill had multiple sounds. I wondered if anyone else noticed this, or if the music that saturates the gym overrode it, or the music in headphones. There are distractions aplenty: magazines to read, several television stations to watch (I have enjoyed bits of the Tour de France, especially today, watching the riders in the wet fog; I can feel the cold, I swear, and I felt transported at times, found myself on a bicycle there, thinking, "what the hell am I doing here? It's damned uncomfortable."), and of course some people come with their own sounds.

It isn't actually a large gym, as gyms go. It's large for this small community. I read some online reviews of the gym not long ago, and laughed at the one that complained that it wasn't large enough, it isn't open enough hours, blah blah blah. You aren't going to find a larger gym here, and probably not one open more hours.  I laughed at the time yet I thought about the comment that some of the machines are "outdated" and need to be replaced.  This negative review got me thinking and re-evaluating.

The machines are too close together, the treadmills fill up fast (but only during peak hours), maybe some of the equipment is not the latest greatest, the soap pumps in the women's locker room are always screwing up, there aren't enough flat weight benches, sometimes machines are labeled "out of order" for several days in a row, and...there is the squeaking. Perhaps they need to be oiled more often? I found my view of the place changing.

Before I had read the review I was loving the family-friendliness of the place, the ozone-treated pool, the expertise of some trainers, the inclusion of a full basketball court (along with a squash court and racquetball court) and a sand volleyball court. I like that there are lounge chairs by the pool and a lounge area with large-screen television inside.  All of that is still there, still true.  It isn't perfect but it's probably the best in town. Otherwise it's hard to understand why so many people go there.

No, there is no arthritis point to this post. Perhaps just that the gym has become such a large part of my life that I think about it and evaluate it and want to make it better. And boy do I have ideas.

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