Freudian Slips: Bally's Gym, Never a Rainout

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Location: Irony, New Jersey, United States

Life takes us many places. It's a box of chocolates and a Hansel and Gretal trail of candy wrappers. I have filmed as an actor in The Happening, Invincible, The Lovely Bones, The Bounty Hunter, The Greek American, Bazookas, Limitless, TV's Its Always Sunny in Philly, Outlaw, New York, The Warrior, The Nail, Game Change, Cold Case, & commercial work includes The Philadelphia Eagles, Septa, Coors, Turbo Tax & Carnival Cruises. Freudian Slips spotlights irony in short story format.

July 28, 2005

Bally's Gym, Never a Rainout

Two hard bodies wait for the rain to stop inside the free weight room.
Flat rooftops are flat-out architectural blunders. I am convinced that any flat roof will sprout leaks over the passage of time. Water is not meant to be stationary because it is a relentless pursuer of new frontiers. I have belonged to Bally's gym for twenty years. I am sad to report that my body and the local gym should be in better shape. Enough about me. The gym has leaked rain water for as long as I can remember. They have patched and caulked the roof without arid conditions resulting. They have tarred the roof without addressing the leak. Bally's ownership is the neighbor who rides out a hurricane while Noah builds an Ark next door. They keep promising their members relocation to dry digs but nothing has come out of it. Every gym television is tuned to the weather channel to see if umbrellas will be needed for the indoor workout. There is no childcare, no juice bar, and barely enough customer parking for deliveries. The gym remains a dark cavernous rainforest full of outdated equipment and shoddy repairs. I own a Gold lifetime membership with no membership fees. I wouldn't want to pay for such nonsense.
There has yet to be a rainout at Bally's gym but life jackets flinched today. With the remnants of a recent hurricane moving north, the rain inundated the inside of the gym like never before. It was a deluge. The gym screamed liability as a slip and fall case waiting to happen. I wasn't plotting a get rich scheme but a dry piece of carpet to do stretching exercises would have been nice. Navigation around the gym was hindered by an obstacle course of buckets but patrons have grown accustomed to the folly. Aerobic steppers were turned over and used to catch the rain at every juncture. The steppers looked like capsized tugboats ordered into a fast approaching storm. In fact, every piece of plastic in the facility was used to catch raindrops. I am talking about dozens of jugs, buckets, and trash cans. I literally walked around raindrops to get my exercise in.
Due to poor landscape grading, water also rushed through two side exit doors and onto the indoor track. Rain attacked on two fronts. The real track meet was pooling enough staff to swing string mops.
I heard one staffer worry out loud. "We got to keep the rain from getting in the swimming pool."
Now there is effective emergency management. Talk about entry level staff. A few minutes later, an announcement over the intercom warned that the track was closed. No kidding! The track was under about three inches of water. You couldn't run if you wanted to but you might soon canoe. I got my jollies out wondering how many calories could be burned canoeing around the 1/8 mile jogging track. A disgruntled patron summoned the lifeguard to take care of a renegade leak in a workout room, where the fluorescent lights flickered towards electrocution.
I ribbed the landlubber of a lifeguard on duty. "When you find the spill, just add chlorine and we can call it a baby pool."
The lifeguard laughed through gritty teeth. Meanwhile, the operations manager frantically diverted housekeeping staff from one area to the next as more leaks sprung. The fire alarm sounded yet nobody could figure out why. Nobody wanted to go stand outside in the rain during a fire drill when we braved nature's elements inside. The fire alarm raged on for the next couple of minutes. I saw one guy head to the indoor swimming pool because, as he put it, he was going to get wet anyway. No gym workout is complete without a test of the Emergency Broadcast System coming on the radio. This was lollapalooza land.
Like a Titantic passenger, I went upstairs to higher ground but the same result followed. A cascade of water rushed down over a pair of stationary bikes. This was water that could be heard breaking on the gym floor. I have seen less water spilling though gutters. I steered clear of the indoor falls but it rained on my parade while I was doing a set of incline sit-ups. A raindrop complete with scratchy insulation fibers landed in my eye. As I rubbed my eye back to visual acuity, I knew I had enough. The indignity officially ended my workout session and I meandered to the locker room. Grabbing my gear from my locker, I saw a friend walking from the shower room sopping wet with a towel draped around his waist.
I chided him, "Just getting back from the jogging track?" He laughed.
I stood in the pouring rain fumbling for my car keys underneath the lonely metal frame of a canopy, which a gust of wind blew off five years ago. A funny thought occurred to me. It might not be costing me money but I am still paying for this gym membership.

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13 Comments:

Blogger justrose said...

homeowners insurance costs lots for rowhouses, and all because of the damn leaky flat roofs.

10:08 PM  
Blogger Zelda Parker said...

We have some experience with flat roofs and my thoughts on the matter tear it down! There are two porches on his parent's home that leak everytime there is a nor-easter....tear it down!

7:07 AM  
Blogger lilly05 said...

It sounds as though you had more of a workout attempting to dodge the water, what irony! Thank you for your comments on my blog.
CES

10:00 AM  
Blogger Rob Seifert said...

TANSTAAFL!

RCS

11:16 AM  
Blogger PaxRomano said...

Well now, I Think it was Groucho Marx who said, "I would never want to belong to a club that would have someone like me as a memeber".

I wonder how he'd have felt if that club's roof leaked?

1:32 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

jr,
I think its all those pictures of foregone prom dates that clog the rowhouse gutters! ha!

Zelda,
First the space program then his parent's home.

Lilly,
definitely NURSING the workout.

Robert,
awful is right.

Pax,
Groucho said he would never belong to a club that didn't serve club soda.

5:50 PM  
Blogger justrose said...

LOL Joe! Amen!

8:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joe,
The best solution is to work in Voorhees were the equipment is new, they have childcare, and a juicebar. I bet I can get you a job close by doing the same thing you currently do.....Let's do lunch(at Voorhees)
Marcus

9:35 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

Justrose,
talk about up the creek without a paddle.

Marcus,
Maybe if I got an invitaiton for lunch on a Wednesday, I could cut my workout short.

10:27 PM  
Blogger Weary Hag said...

Hm. Thank you tons for giving me yet another lame excuse for not joining a gym.

:)

7:19 AM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

Hag,
This is a water park.

8:29 AM  
Blogger LiVEwiRe said...

Heh - I'm still laughing at the thought of canoes going 'round the track! Everyone bring your floatation devices! You know, it might make the treadmill easier, though.

6:33 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

Livewire,
i am INCLINED to believe you.

6:48 PM  

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