Every time I go the health club I ask them the same two questions. First, why aren’t there toilet seat covers in the women’s room? I suggested that if they didn’t want to put them in every stall they could just put one dispenser on an outside wall and while they would have to carry them all the way to the their stall of choice, at least they would have them available. Other question. Why aren’t there anti-bacterial gel dispensers anywhere in the equipment areas? I explained that when I worked out at the YMCA there were not only dispensers but alcohol wipes so people could clean the machine before and after use.
“Well, that’s the Y. They don’t have people to clean up for the guests.”
I couldn’t let that go. “You mean the people that walk around with vacuums on their backs, who are always washing the floor in exactly the same place you are trying to stand, or mopping around the machines when you’re trying to relax. The people who look like they’re tidying up but have no sense of when and where they should do it. I’d rather have an alcohol wipe and some gel and do it myself.”
“In a club of this stature we don’t ask our guests to do anything themselves.”
“Okay,” I say giving in a bit. “That answers the question about gels and wipes around the equipment but surely they don’t wipe the toilets after each use. How would they know who used them. While they are under foot, they cannot be everywhere at the same time.”
“I’ll tell management” always provides an end to the conversation.
Don’t misunderstand. I like my health club. There are nice facilities and the people who work there are never dismissive or too busy to help. Yes, sometimes they get in the way but they are well intentioned. The people who are members are a whole other story. It is clear to me that the members do not want to wipe their machines, the toilets or probably their behinds. They think it is beneath them. (pun intended). With a few exceptions—like the very very large woman who was fully dressed – sneakers and all when I discovered her in the steam room. I guess she was waiting for someone to take off her clothes because she didn’t want to do it herself. But those sneakers sure did smell. Or the woman who took 15 towels into the shower with her—I guess she wanted to be really dry. But too many of the “guests“ seem a little self consumed and maybe a bit arrogant.
I have noticed that many are dressed for a party not a workout. Their outfits match their shoes — that’s always a giveaway. They spend a great deal of time looking at themselves when they work out, as well as when they are in the dressing room. It’s like they expect something to change while they're focused on the mirror. (Mirror mirror on the wall bring me a prince or make the pounds fall.) The older women do give you an occasional smile. The younger women have no time for hello or any pleasantries — it's as if they are on a mission. Maybe if we sent these people to Iraq there would be a victory to declare. They are in a constant state of “take no prisoners”. For example, if you happen to be on a machine they want to use they will pace and make faces (like a four year old) until you are finished. If you are using the hair dryer they want to use they do the same. And it’s not like the hair dryers are in short supply. Maybe this is all a consequence of the "I’m entitled" mind set. But I’m not sure. It seems more likely that it’s about wanting something someone else has. And sometimes I think it’s just about being incapable of seeing beyond a totally limited self. Or maybe they never took a class in good manners. Whatever it is, when I can’t avoid going at peak hours, I just sit back (after I’ve intimidated someone off the machine I want to use) and look at the human circus. And then I think, just give me some gel and a wipe. Don’t these people understand that health should be more than a club. We're just sayin...