A few weeks ago our neighbors invited Louisa to go to their gym for the afternoon to swim and do other fun things. Later that day, we arrived at the gym to pick her up and ran into a friend who is a member. He asked us if we had been there before or if we were thinking about joining. We’ve historically been averse to gyms or memberships or clubs or groups or socializing in general, so we declined the club-joining suggestion…
…UNTIL he dropped the bomb that may have changed our lives forever.
“You know they have child care for members, right?”
Then he went on to say:
“Yeah, you can drop your kids off for two and a half hours a day while you’re working out or swimming or whatever. They even have “parents’ night out” once a month and they will watch your kids for four hours while you go out to dinner or something. Last month, we dropped our kids off and just sat by the pool and relaxed for a couple of hours.”
Danny and I looked at each other, our eyes twinkling with weary hope and excitement. Expressions the likes of which one would see traversing the faces of exhausted travelers, after a 10 year journey through the desert, as an oasis just over the horizon comes into view.
I’m not sure if we’re just late to the party on this one or not, but had we known that the gym would watch our kids for upwards of 80 hours a month, we would have joined a long time ago. I mean, 80 hours of child care per kid per month is well worth the cost of membership. (And as an aside…here is an example of the math you learned in elementary school actually being put to practical use. Study up kids!)
So a few days later, we loaded up our kids and went to the gym for our orientation and tour. We dropped Annie off in the kids’ club but Louisa and Luke insisted on touring with us. We met with a nice young man who took us around the club showing us various points of interest: the café, the pool, the sauna, the salon. Then, out of the blue, he started asking us about our fitness goals. This took me aback as his line of questioning felt strangely out of context given the situation. Truth be told, my only fitness goals are to continue to fit into the clothes in my closet and not die when walking up stairs. My other issues would require plastic surgery because no amount of sit-ups is going to get rid of the residual skin from carrying a 9lb 4oz baby. But back to my story, I didn’t want to hurt the young man’s feelings, so I made something up about “toning” and “yoga.” Danny actually does have legit fitness goals, but so far has been able to maintain those goals at home. Of course, he couldn’t openly admit this during our tour.
My answer appeased our guide for a while, but then a few minutes later he started asking us about what exercise equipment we were interested in. What we wanted to say was “Listen dude…we recognize that at this point in your life, you probably don’t understand what’s going on here….but here it is: we are not interested in using your gym for fitness. We are not interested in your high tech, state-of-the-art equipment. We don’t care about all of the muscle groups that your fancy stair machine works. We have ZERO goals. What we are here for is the child care. We want to drop our kids off, sit in the sauna, soak in a hot tub and then grab a bite to eat. Alone. DO. YOU. UNDERSTAND???”
Danny recognized that I wouldn’t be able to formulate an actual coherent answer about the equipment question, so he chimed in with something about free weights and treadmills (he speaks the language). He gave enough of an answer to again satisfy our guide. Of course he didn’t mention his work out room at home full of all sorts of equipment. That would have raised more questions that we weren’t prepared to answer in front of our kids.
We eventually finished our tour, paid our money and were given little gym membership cards. So now, in an epic exhibit of adultness, we are members of a gym. We have already explored the pool, the hot tubs, the sauna and the café. It’s possible we may have even done a few classes…to maintain the appearance of a normal married suburban couple, coming to the gym to work out…because we have “fitness goals.”