Oh working out… how I loathe the subject these days. I don’t mind doing it, but gosh I’m so bad at it! When something hurts (you know the whole ‘feel the burn!’ thing?) I just want to give up and run away! Wait… no… I want to walk away! Not run… That’s like working out so… that won’t work.
I’ve never been very consistent with it because I tend to lose my motivation, but when I was younger I was awesome! Ha! Weren’t we all? I played lots of sports in middle school and high school and for a brief semester (before I ran off to chase a really dumb boy) I even played softball in college. Working out didn’t intimidate me because I was already in pretty good shape because of all those sports I participated in.
We live in a pretty small town and for a long time there wasn’t any kind of 24 hour gym… So when we finally got one I was all for signing up! My mom was really excited about it so I convinced her that the monthly membership was the way to go. This was back before fancy key cards or little swipey things (I’m very tech savvy) so when you signed up you got an actual key to the gym. A giant golden key that unlocked the special door anytime after the staff left…. making it a 24 hour gym!
I’m convinced that when we signed up we either got the new girl OR I looked much older than my 16 years because she failed to let us in on some very important rules about this key. We only received one for our whole family so we would have to pass it around in order to use it.
One of the cool things about this gym was that you could bring a friend whenever you wanted as long as they signed in at the front. So one day my friend, we can call her Sally, and I hopped in my adorable Volkswagen Bug and headed over to my fancy gym. I used my key to open the door even though the staff was there because I was a member and using the key just made me feel important.
Once inside I took Sally, 14 year old Sally, up to the desk to sign in. There was a super nice guy there who offered to take Sally and I on a tour since she hadn’t been there before. We went through the whole smelly place with our clueless tour guide before we stopped at the manager/director/owners? office. He introduced us and immediately this guy, we can call him Gary (I actually never knew his name but Gary feels right), engaged in conversation. A few minutes in, I mentioned that I liked coming in the evenings and using the key! His face changed and he asked how old I was. Clearly Gary knew I was a baby.
When I proudly told him that I was 16 he asked me where I had gotten my key. I told him that when my mom and I signed up she got the key and I kept it to use when I needed it. He then told me that my mother should have followed the rules. Apparently, the rules were that no one under 18 was to have the key or even use it without someone over 18 with them. He told me that my mother was told the rules when we signed up and that I needed to go home right then and give the key back before he called her. He was angry and cold. It shocked me.
Now… let me go back for a minute.
I was a sheltered child.
I was a sheltered ONLY child.
People in my world were nice and nice people didn’t speak ill of my parents.
When Gary decided to talk about my mom like she was an idiot who had deliberately disobeyed the rules (those that know my mom know what a rule-follower she is) I couldn’t keep it together. If there is something worse than being embarrassed then it’s probably crying because you are embarrassed. I couldn’t let anyone see me cry!
I told him I was very sorry that we didn’t know and made up some kind of excuse to get the heck out of there ASAP! When I made it out to my cute little car I saw our tour guide in front of the gym talking to Sally. Apparently he thought sweet little 14 year old Sally was going to sign up. I mentioned he was slightly clueless.
He could see clearly into my car from where they were so my quick-thinking solution was to grab my Bible, open it, and hold it up in front of my face as the tears of shame fell. Oh what a dork I was. I don’t know if I was just shocked by Gary’s tone with me or if I was crying because he was talking about my mom! Maybe it was a mixture of the two….
Tour guide came over to my car when Sally got in, but he came to my side. Instead of rolling down the window I chose to open the door making the encounter much more awkward. He squatted down beside my car and I told him I was just reading! Ha! This whole story makes me cringy with it’s awkwardness! I was such a dork.
He asked me if I was okay and told me to just go home and give the key back and that everything would be okay. For all his clueless-ness Tour Guide was very kind. I told him thank you and went straight home where I cried my eyes out to my mom…
and then dad got home…
When we explained to him what happened and that we were both 100% sure no one had told us this 18 and up rule he made a phone call…
This story ends with Gary making a personal phone call to me to apologize and offer me a month of free tanning at the gym to make up for what had happened…
I never went back.
So that’s the time I was gonna work out… it was a disaster! It’s also a window into my dorky teenage self. I’m still a dork, but I’ve learned a few things over the years. When I look back on that moment I wish I would have had the courage and maturity to speak to him in a very matter-of-fact tone and let him know what he could do with his key if he felt that speaking to me that way was appropriate.
But then no I don’t.
I think I would regret that much more than my awkward runaway move.
I hope you enjoyed this quite random story that makes me scrunch up my face and half laugh, half sigh. At the core of this story this was one of the first times I realized there was a life outside of my bubble. My dad isn’t always going to be there to make the mean people apologize… but I’m sure that I’m thankful for all the times he has come to my rescue.