But you know what? B) You deserve it, Bally's. You deserve that mental image. And I hope you all think of that image each and every time you hear mention of Bally Total Fitness Centers.
Here's the thing. Technically, Bally's is...FINE. They didn't murder my grandchildren. They didn't tell me they'd be at my home between the hours of 8 and 8 and then not show up (I'M LOOKING AT YOU, AT&T, YOU SON OF A BITCH.) They didn't eat all the Drumsticks out of the freezer without so much as leaving me the bottom of a cone where all the chocolate collects.
No. Bally's is.....fine. Their gym doesn't really feel top-notch, but hey. I'm not paying top-notch prices. But tonight they went too damn far.
Here's the thing. The Bally's I go to is in the basement of a building. A building that is right next to a river.
Let's let that sink right into the ol' noggin there.
Who puts anything--ANYTHING--into the basement of a building that is next to a river? A river in a city that is NOTORIOUS for its terrible weather patterns? Shouldn't all buildings be on some sort of STILT system?! I mean come on, Shelly. THESE people figured it out, for Christ's sake!
All this to say, yes. My Bally's has flooded. I don't know the extent of it, but I know there were firetrucks (plural) and at least one animal control truck (I'm sorry...did the ducks get out of hand? Were there otters floating around your free weights?)
At first I speculated that we might get some money back. No problem. You prorate us or some nonsense, and Joe and I will run around the block for a week instead.
Until we got the email.
"Your Bally's in closed. But lucky for you, we have 80 million OTHER Bally's locations that are all inconveniently located from where you live!" ....Yippee.
Guess what, kids? I finally got my butt over to the next closest Bally's. It is also in a basement. It sucked.
1) I got there at 8:30, since my Bally's closes at 10. Well THIS one is downtown Chicago where no one lives, so it closes at 9. Huzzah.
2) I jumped on the elliptical. In front of me was Larry King. Sans subtitles. It is the only television within eyesight. So I got to lip read Larry King talking to that gymnast girl about how she apparently had a stalker. Mostly I got to ponder the effects of blonde hair dye on a girl who looks a squirrel. Anyway, there is no one around to ask to change the channel. So I opt to watch myself in the mirror and imagine fake conversations (which is my most common day-to-day activity.)
3) At 8:40--TWENTY MINUTES before close--the guy comes down and turns off all the TVs AND all the fans.
4) So now I, who HAVE PAID for a membership, am sweating my ass off in the gym I never intended on patronizing, with no visual to focus on and no fan to circulate the basement air. I can feel my claustophobia setting in AND I can feel just how deeply I am not wanted at this gym. I get the hell out and decide that my calories are better spent walking home.
And OF COURSE I can't cancel my membership right away; I have to give a full month's notice. And by then, my flood-center gym will probably be back up and running.
Basically what I'm saying is, I unknowingly paid to be screwed over. And now I'm going to go get some cheese to go with my white whine. A-thank you.