Joining the pretty people at the gym

I’ve been working out my entire life, but the new gym in my area was unlike anything I’ve ever seen.

One of the nifty things about getting older is that sometimes we get things for free. In this case, I’m referring to that golden moment I turned 65 and Medicare kicked in. While medical insurance is certainly nice, it’s the little side bonus that got me excited. I was informed that Medicare would spring for my gym membership.

Since I’ve been working out my whole life, I was delighted to let someone else pick up the monthly tab. But when I entered my club recently, I was informed that my membership had expired.

“Don’t worry,” said the nice lady at the desk. “Just contact your insurance company and they’ll reinstate you.”

So, I did. It was then I discovered I had gym-membership options. There were apparently a number of clubs nearby that were part of the program. Instantly, I thought of the brand-new, three-story facility that had just sprung up, a fancy club at the Biltmore, a name that here in Arizona is associated with what we call the “pretty people.” I was almost embarrassed to ask if that club was on the list. Surely that wasn’t possible. The dues at my usual gym amounted to $30 a month. At the Biltmore it was $250.

“Yes, we can get you in there. It’s one of our premier clubs,” said the insurance lady.

For the uninformed, here’s what a real lap pool looks like. Aren’t those lane lines pretty?

Though I was dubious, I agreed to a visit. And what I saw at this “gym” was astounding. There were of course the usual floors filled with aerobic machines—all pristine—with separate areas for weight lifting, spinning and yoga classes, as well as basketball and tennis courts. Then I was escorted to the rooftop pool with its unobstructed view of iconic Camelback Mountain, a dining and bar area, and myriad poolside lounging cabanas. Now, I must mention here that the sparkling pool was pretty, but I paused as my guide pointed out all the amenities.

“There are no lines on the bottom,” I said.

“Um, no,” he said spreading his hands wide.

“Then how are lap swimmers supposed to get from one end to the other in a straight line?” I asked.

“I guess they forgot.”

My old Speedo just didn’t match up wih the women in thong bikinis.

As a life-long lap swimmer, I wondered how one could build a lap pool without lane lines, but then he whisked me down the elevator where I found a spa that would provide me with a manicure, pedicure, haircut and style, and a massage, if I felt so inclined. We walked past the chiropractor’s office with its warm-water massage chairs, then the sushi bar that later in the afternoon reverted to a real bar where I might have an adult beverage. Next to that was a large café boasting high-end carry-out meals, snacks—lots of them vegan—and big comfy couches where people lounged while plugged into their computers.

I considered the time of day. “Don’t these people have jobs?” I whispered to my tour guide.

“I’ve wondered about that myself,” he said quietly.

It was after I entered the women’s locker room that I realized I wasn’t in Kansas anymore. It was the preponderance of women wearing thong bikinis. As I pulled on my royal blue Speedo, I felt like I was donning something akin to a prairie dress. But as those bare bottoms sauntered by no one gawked at me. In fact, no one said a word or made eye contact, as I waded into the pristine whirlpool, followed by a cold plunge—52 degrees: Eieee!—then a steam. Fresh white towels were everywhere. When I padded into the shower area I discovered that no one carried their own products. Shampoo, conditioner, body soap, shaving cream, and razors were all arranged prettily in each shower stall. I’d been lugging around a big pink gym bag full of stuff for years. Now, I could get by with nothing more than my bathing suit, cap, and goggles.

If you’re wondering, yes, I joined, because I’m not a dope. But I’m still a bit conflicted about my membership, which, as the insurance lady said, is completely free. As I walked through the parking lot past a gleaming black Maserati and a host of top-dollar late-model SUVs that will never be driven off road, I felt perhaps I didn’t belong. Would I miss my dingy old club and the regular folks who populate the place?

We’ll see.

Find Anne Montgomery’s novels wherever you buy books.



5 thoughts on “Joining the pretty people at the gym

  1. Vonnie Hughes says:

    Been in similar circumstances Anne where I discovered that the latest trendy version of a ‘massage’ (from a male practitioner) left me in agony. Just go to oldies’ exercise groups and Zumba now plus jog gently. No more gyms.


    • annemontgomeryauthor2013 says:

      I understand, Vonnie. Not sure how this will work out. It’s really not my kind of gym. It all seems a bit silly. But…I’ll try. 😉


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