Saturday, October 10, 2009

Cheers to time, and a little aggression.

A quick recap before I get into my post for the day: After a week spent clearing my mind, having multiple day-long conversations with Phil, and encountering quality architectural firm contacts who focus on sustainable design here in Barcelona for my Fulbright, I am back on track. All I have to say is, thank goodness. Two nights ago, one of my roommates, Sara, and our fellow Fulbrighter and friend Amin were over. I was exhausted and it was midday. We sat down in the living room, and Sara mentioned how both her and Amin were feeling the same way as my last blogpost described my current state. I guess voicing stuff like this, whether it be in a blogpost or to friends, is vital to getting past it.

Five days ago, while in the thick of feeling like crap, I decided that a gym membership would be the perfect solution. Having gone to the gym closest to our place during my banking marathon that day about a month ago, I knew it was the one I wanted to sign up for even though it was a bit too expensive for my liking (64 euro/month). So in my dark little bedroom on that late evening, I went online to the DIR website. I found that you can sign up online for a special discount! Excitedly, I went through the steps necessary, and it quoted me at 41 euro/month. It even pro-rated the month of October since it had already started. I know, I know, I sound like a weirdo getting excited about a gym, but this is no ordinary gym. In Barcelona, its rare to see people running around or biking to stay happy and healthy. People walk around to shop and they will maybe bike to work on a cruiser. That's it. I wanted to feel like part of some community I could relate to, while also giving my daily schedule with a little structure.

So I signed up, and went in the very next day after work, at 3 pm or so. The fellow who helped me at the front desk was very friendly. I think he was new too, because he was asking the others a ton of questions. But eventually, he got a card made for me, and I was set. When I tried to slide my plastic card into the slot that resembles a subway entrance with the metal fan that rotates when you push on it, it didn't work. So I looked back at my new gym worker friend man, and he pushed a button that opened it for me, and said "mañana funcionará, ok?" I nodded.

The next day, same time, I walk in, wave, and try my card. Again, it doesn't work. I turn around, he pushes button, I walk in. You get the deal. This happened for the first 4 days. I guess I sort of wondered why my card was still not activated. I mean, I had paid and everything. On the 5th day, I was feeling ultra motivated, and got there around 2 pm. I tried my card, it didn't work, so I went up to a new fellow at the desk and asked if he could let me in or get my card to work. He was not a very friendly person from the get-go. Seemed a little too angry inside to be working at a happy-go-lucky place, so I was being extra nice to see if maybe he's just having a bad day or something. Well, he scans my card, and tells me I have to pay still. Here is the conversation:

Crankypantalones: Tienes que pagar todavia. You have to pay still.

Me: No, ya pagué hace cinco días y he venido cada dia desde allí... No, I already paid five days ago and have come each day since then.

Crankpantalones: No, has escogido la opción por internet, no? Requiere que cada vez que vienes, despues de la una, tienes que pagar 2.30 Euro. Si vienes antes de la una, sólo pagas 0.50 Euro... No, you have selected the internet option, right? It requires that each time you come after 1 pm, you have to pay 2.30 Euro (like 3.75 dollars). If you come before 1 pm, you only pay 0.50 Euro.

Me: So why did it not say this to me online, then? It had not given me this information, therefore, I will not pay for it each day. It's too stupid a system. What kind of a place makes a member pay every time? (Poor guy!) It's not right. Tell me how much it will cost me to be an actual member of this gym, one without limitations. Please, Mister.

So basically, this went on for awhile. I am just sick of being screwed over by these weird systems. The banking system, the gym system, the RyanAir flight system (that got me hard when I was coming back from Pisa to BCN), etc. So from now on, I will make a stink about stuff when they try to pass me off as a tourist with no clue. Ha. I feel bad about attacking people specifically, so I'm usually calm and nice, but if they're jerks, I will dish it right back. what happened at the gym...

He went and got his four other gym desk people, and they all tried to tell me how the system works when you sign up online - aka: they tried to calm down the aggravated American girl who was ready to shove the protein powder jug in their hard bellies.

Needless to say, I had to pay 15 euro more, and I have a membership now that is only for the evenings. So 55 euro/month for an evening-only membership... unless I feel like paying the extra 2.30 euro after 1 pm or the 0.50 in the morning. Grrrr.

Since that altercation, I went in yesterday. I first saw my friendly gym desk fellow there. He smiled and waved. Then I noticed my rude crabby gym desk guy next to him. He saw me and looked away instantly, trying to avoid eye contact. But when he looked away, he looked right at the nice guy who was now asking how I was that day. I noticed the confusion between them - one having seen me as my Minnesota nice, and one, the evil Cruela Gym Deville. I snickered to myself, and tried my card.

It didn't work.

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