She looked at the computer screen a little too long. I’m not sure what it said exactly but her face implied my name was in that red font that signals “Stop this person.”
“It says here you have a balance of…”
Let’s just say it took some divine intervention to even get me to the door at Planet Fitness. After years of consistent attendance, I became just another sad, sad boy on his couch. After a fellow weight-lifter decided to rob my locker and my car, I became quite disheartened with ole P-fit. I use the robbery as an excuse to my mother but truth be told, I’m getting really great at binge-watching television. So good in fact, that I’m contemplating watching the entire series of LOST for the third time. I miss you, Desmond.
But here I was, face to face with this nice 18 year-old who had the misfortune of telling me that I owed money. The problem here was the embarrassment of not having enough money to pay it off after all the fees and late charges. I was too poor to work out! This is a ridiculous concept in itself—paying to work out in somebody else’s space. But like other silly things—keeping my lawn cut short, paying to enter a club, or buying vacation insurance–I still felt an intense amount of shame for failing the system. “I don’t have my card on me,” I told her with great conviction. “Can I pay next time?” This was beginning to crack my top 50 for most pathetic moments.
Now if you couple the shame of this (I make fun of people who take a tour of Planet Fitness due to it’s 10 dollar/month rate), with my recent several-hundred-dollar fee(s) for running through the E-Z Pass without an E-Z Pass, and a subsequent revoked license, you can imagine the type of fervor I had when I bypassed the imaginary line towards the elliptical machines. I wore my bright, neon-orange T-hoodie and sported the highest of high winter socks when I made a conscious decision to get my money’s worth. Well, there was no money actually given, but there was the real possibility that it could be the last workout of my life so that had to count for something. It was my first Saturday off in years and I was surprised to see so many people. It’s March, I thought. All the fat people should have quit by now. Maybe it was an inspirational Youtube video circulating on Facebook that had these Mainers really getting their sweat on. Maybe the anorexic-looking winner of the Biggest Loser had a greater impact than I thought. These folks were several months into their New Years resolutions and several months ahead of me. I thought about starting my workout by using the massage chairs but it didn’t seem right when I considered I was only allowed in because the front-desk girl felt bad for me. I just needed to relax, though. You shouldn’t lift heavy things after such an intense shaming but I didn’t really have a choice. My money-woes were affecting all sorts of things but I wasn’t going to let insufficient funds give me man-boobs.
So I did what any premiere athlete would do: set up the Boyz 2 Men radio station on Pandora. I have the whole thing coordinated. “On Bended Knee” for lunges, “End of the Road” for jogging, and “Water Runs Dry” for water breaks. But here was the problem. Pandora is so damn unpredictable! Ideally, you get lucky and the first song prompts the jogging. But that’s not what happened. That’s not what happened at all. “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye” came on. That’s my exit song.
So I did this awkward, walk-to-the-wall-to-stretch-my- calves move and then walked out.
I get paid soon and I paused the song when it was over so I’m pretty confident that I’ll be in great shape soon. Definitely. I probably definitely will be in great shape soon.