We decided once we got to Charlotte, that we would find a gym that would offer something for the whole family. Fortunately, this city has amazing YMCAs, with several locations to choose from. As a former Y member, I found myself imagining how great a shape I would get in, how my husband might finally commit to exercise and relax more and how my kids would have somewhere to do some physical activity, along with meeting new friends. Y's are extremely social places and having friends to work out with makes the experience so much more palatable.
The Y we joined, like the first church we visited, is also in the same upscale neighborhood. We chose it mostly because it offers a ton of extra courses for kids, which some other locations do not. Though it's not totally inconvenient, it's definitely not the closest to our house either. Nevertheless, it is a massive, gorgeous facility with tons of classes and equipment to chose from, not to mention immaculate. I feel great about working out there, something not easily accomplished. Exercise to me is equal to taking cod liver oil...good for me but not exactly fun.
However, I think there's some sort of weird, fungal, mutant disease going around Charlotte that has not been properly identified, and which might have sprung from the floors of my Y. I encountered not one, but two YMs (Y Members or Yummy Mummies, as my husband calls them) who had complete meltdowns this week over their kids sitting on or touching the floors of the Y with their bare skin. The first YM scolded her daughter at the pool for walking on the tiles without shoes...unfortunately you aren't allowed to wear shoes in the pool, or I'm sure this kid would have had hers strapped on permanently like flippers on a duck...
I realize my kids were born in the free-spirited mess that is New Orleans and I therefore do not get freaked out about dirt, but honest to gawd, you would have thought this kid was squishing her toes in a cesspool, the way her mama was carrying on. I was stuck on the bench directly in front of her so I could neither move, nor distract myself with a book (I didn't' have one) and was forced to witness the horror that was. To emphasize her point, the YM gave me a "duh" eye roll/head shake, as if her poor kid was the only one there not getting how disgusting those floors really were. I shudder to think about that family shuffling through the French Quarter during carnival, trying to avoid stepping on revelers, throws, take out containers and half eaten lunch...
Episode number two happened in the change room. This time, some poor kid had the audacity to park her butt on the carpeted floor...I mean really, think of how disgusting it gets between daily vacuums! It wasn't as if there weren't an alternative to the floor either...each change room comes equipped with a bench, which was specifically designed to create distance between gym members and those nasty floors. YM number two emphasized this point to her daughter several times in a row, like the kid had some sort of hearing or learning disability. Once again I had managed to position myself directly in the line of fire and could neither bolt nor blatantly ignore her. Suddenly the change room curtain fabric became fascinating, as if I had missed it the first time we changed and now just discovered its pink and green, 1980s, chevron-patterned beauty.
Both experiences made me reflect on my complete disregard of the dangers of public floors. After giving it a couple of minutes of thought I concluded both YMs were probably just nuts and had some deep rooted control issues and I could therefore relax about my own laid back attitude... I am firm believer in what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger and that most definitely includes cooties.
Though the Y incidents might seem trivial, there was something about them that ran much deeper and left me feeling disturbed . I finally figured it out on the drive home though. I need to be surrounded by fun people. Call me judgemental, but folks who are germ-a-phobes just don't seem the type who, generally speaking, wanna kick it up a notch.
So next time I go the Y, I'm going rush the front desk and page all fun people and invite them to come work out with me...in bare feet, of course.