No, I’m not losing my grip on reality, only on the twenty-five-pound plates.
I think they are trying to wear us down slowly, like drips on stone. First there were the signs saying we shouldn’t grunt when we lift, no do-rags (this has been amended to “no headgear except baseball caps”), and that goddawful purple and yellow paint job that makes the place look like Howard Johnson’s in drag. Next they toted out my deadlift platform, forcing me to creative use of the shrug stack. Now they have some kind of attrition thing going with the spring clips that secure plates onto the Olympic bars. I migrate from station to station filching these things from one bar to load another, like a cheap old bastard carrying one light bulb from room to room.
I keep asking the local management — who are hardcore guys, after all, just going along with this franchise’s weird mission statement as a business maneuver. They keep saying they’ll bring clips. It’s about thirty days and counting here.
At least I have the Secret Dojo of the Hidden Iron Masters. Back when they were moving out all the equipment that looked too butch and bringing in the Barney-colored stack machines, management squirreled a lot of old Nautilus type stuff in what used to be the spin class room. They squirreled it in suspiciously orderly rows with a sign telling people to keep out. Somehow the sign got scuffed and ripped until it went away.
If you don’t make a big deal of it, you can slip in there and use the old ab crunch machine, the counterbalanced pullup, a big old pec flye, several leg and arm machines and a refreshingly traffic-free area in the middle of the room, just big enough for a rollup mat. When the sight of some dumpy matron, with a hairdo, bench pressing a pair of ten pounders has pushed me to the edge, sometimes I just go in there for a moment and stroke the old leatherette.
No spring clips back there though. I have no idea how or why they leave the gym. Maybe something eats them.
Not going to give up on the place yet. Ten bucks a month. Five minutes away. I can still get a killer workout and no one gives me shit about hanging upside down on the Smith. I’m not going to let the drips win.