Wednesday, February 6, 2008

rude awakening

Got up this morning, put on my swimsuit, picked up the rest of my gear, and dropped Wil off on the way to Bellevue. i thought the parking garage seemed a little quiet at Epicenter, but I also think I was about 10 minutes earlier than usual. So imagine my surprise when I got out of the elevator and saw a sign saying that Epicenter Bellevue had closed, and that our memberships were being transferred to L.A. Fitness.


The woman behind the counter was friendly enough, giving me directions on how to get there, where to park, etc., and assuring me that they had a pool. So, a little befuddled, I got back in my car and (after driving around trying to find the way into the parking garage...), got there.

The woman at the L.A. Fitness counter was also friendly enough, but didn't seem to understand how I had a membership that allowed me to use both the Seattle and the Bellevue clubs, and why I wouldn't just want to sign up -- or "upgrade', she said ominously -- to L.A.F. I had to fill out a form, sign out my towels ("We've had trouble with Epicenter members stealing towels"... nice...), and then I headed down to the locker room.

Wow. The ultimate in fake fancy. I mean, yes, the wooden lockers were handsome, as was the attractive carpet and soft lighting. But the locker room was really small (seemingly more cardio machines upstairs than lockers downstairs), very crowded, and very dim. But I found an open locker, shoved my stuff in it, and then trekked down another flight of stairs, past a wall of windows, and through a locked door (code 2-2-2-2) to the tiny pool.

Three lanes. Dark. Pleasantly cold water, but a little murky. And crowded, unsurprisingly, because there are only three lanes. No swim equipment other than "noodles" and aquafit dumbbells. Snarky speedoboys. Noisy. Echoey. Most of all, no whalesong to speak of.

I was in a bad mood so I barely made it through 35 minutes of swimming. Then upstairs and into the attractive -- yet dirty -- showers. Then squeezing into a little space to change clothes, and get out of there as soon as possible.

I considered handing the L.A.F. barcode tag to the woman at the front desk (where I had to stop to "sign in" my towels...) and telling her I wouldn't need it because I wouldn't be back. Nightmare.

So now Wil and I need to decide what to do. Given the weather, I think we'll keep our gym memberships for a while. It's nice to have a place to run indoors. But I'll miss having the pool. Apparently the location up in North Seattle also has a pool, but I don't know if we'd use it. Funny if we end up being shunted off to L.A.Fitness... given that they took over my old gym.

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