Lee Wochner: Writer. Director. Writing instructor. Thinker about things.


Shit happens

My gym just changed their towel policy. The new policy is:  They now don’t provide them.

I last wrote about this particular 24 Hour Fitness in August, in which I noted that I’m effectively paying for soap but not getting it. Now I’m effectively paying for towels, but not getting them either. Next I’ll be paying for weights that are no longer there. In anticipation of this change, because they notified members in advance that they’d be eliminating towel service, I’ve been stealing two towels each visit. Rationalization:  1. I’ve been paying for them; 2. I’m saving them from the dump; and 3. their communication that they’ve made this change to “help save the planet” is baloney — it’s to save money.

I was there a few days before the end of the towel policy and had a nice workout, ending, as always, with a deliberative stay in the steam room spent ignoring someone’s too-loud hip-hop beats  pouring from his ear buds (advice:  invest in hearing-aid stocks now) and then a nice soak in the whirlpool bath.  I grabbed one of my soon-to-be purloined towels and headed in for a shower.

In the corner of the floor of the stall I chose there was a wadded-up roll of soaking wet shop towels — you know, those brown coarse cardboardy thick paper towels that you find at gas stations and in gyms like this, where you use them to wipe down equipment you’ve used. It wasn’t in my way, so I didn’t care. I was well into my shower when I had a sudden thought that maybe I should look at those shop towels on the floor a little more closely… and, sure enough, they weren’t shop towels. It was actually a pile of human feces. It was very effectively posing as soaking-wet wadded-up shop towels, being the same color, but it was absolutely a pile of shit, and now started to smell like it. I rinsed off quickly and got out of the shower.

After making sure I had scalded every square inch of myself clean, I got dressed and grabbed my stuff and went to the front desk. A young woman there saw me coming and saw the towel I was stealing and said, “Do you need a towel?” (Nice of her to offer.)

“No,” I said. “I have some bad news for you.”

“You’re leaving us?”

“No,” I said. “I thought we were in this together, for the long haul.”

She laughed, and then she said something I had not expected:  “Is there poop in the shower?”

“Uh, yes, there is.” I couldn’t believe it — had they already seen this and not done anything about it?

“Which stall?”

“It’s easy to find. It’s the one with shit in it.”

She smiled to show that that would be true. Then she said, “We’ve had a lot of that. People are mad about the towel policy.”

“So their protest is to shit in the showers?” I’ve been to several protests in my life, but what sort of protest was this? Who were these guys? Had I run into them around here?

“We’ll take care of it,” she said. Then she called out to an unlucky guy working across the way. “Adam! Bad news:  I’ve got another one for you!” Adam didn’t look happy.

I’m re-evaluating my membership.

2 Responses to “Shit happens”

  1. Dan Says:

    Just how convenient is this place?

  2. Lee Wochner Says:

    It’s quite commodious. (Obviously.)

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