Friday, April 25, 2008

Membership has...

Earlier this month I decided to return to the gym. I canceled my NYSC membership if you recall and decided to primarily run outside and do strength training in my apartment. This actually worked really well when I had a running partner but became increasingly harder without one. Plus, I was battling with myself in trying to consistently wake up and be out the door by 7am every morning.

Instead of returning to NYSC, which I honestly liked despite them not fixing equipment as fast as one would like, I decided to explore Equinox. Equinox is this pricey, fancy-schmancy gym that I had never set foot in but heard nice things about. I really figured this would be a little posh for my taste but I went in and took a tour. Well. I used to work at Williams Island Spa back in Aventura (spa located on a ultra exclusive private residential island for the rich and famous) when I was 18 and this was better than that: super nice locker rooms, clean environment, a lot of equipment, all beautifully decorated in minimalist chic. I decided to take the plunge and pay a lot more for a gym and committed myself to going. A lot.

As soon as I started to use the facilities I noticed that there weren't a lot of towel hampers or garbage pails. Especially in the locker room. Example: they give out disposable razors but there aren't any containers in the shower area for you to deposit the safety cover or the razor once you're done. In the actual locker area, there's only two towel hampers: on your way in and right by the showers. There are three vanities with lotions, hair spray, gel, deodorant, hair dryers and tissues. There are no small garbage bins underneath the vanities, but only in the sink area and right by the entranceway.

I thought these were major design flaws. On my first day using the locker room, I had to carry my razor (along with other stuff) outside of the shower area and toss it, I had to leave my stuff on the bench and walk back into the shower area to toss my wet towel, I had to take tissues that I used at the vanity, along with my jacket and bag, and toss it in the front bin. I kept thinking how inconvenient all of this was to me, because while they sound like little things, it was inefficient, a handful, and forced me to go out of my way to clean up after myself. I noticed that the other women left their used items behind: they left their used wet towels on the benches, their razor caps in the shower, and their tissues on the vanity. I thought this was very bad form on the ladies part, bad design on Equinox's and it was all leaving a bad taste in my mouth.

At NYSC, they too have vanities and towels. But there are bins everywhere and a grumbling attendant. You're encouraged and asked to clean up after yourself. Not doing so is frowned upon. But yesterday, I noticed something else. Quietly and behind the scenes, a pack of women who work at the club were picking up towels, tissues, razor caps. They wiped down the floor, the benches, the counters. They whizzed in and out of showers, the steam room, the bathroom. They were constantly cleaning and picking up after everyone. Then it hit me: being cleaned up after is an unspoken amenity people were paying for! They want you to leave your wet towel on the bench. They want you to leave the razor cap in the shower. It's encouraged. Because there are women employed to pick it up almost as soon as you put it down. It's like having a maid.

So there I am, standing in the locker area looking around and coming to the realization that not cleaning up after yourself is an amenity for those who can pay $137 a month for a gym. That not cleaning up after yourself is considered a privilege here, not crude behavior.

One word: Wow.

Ok, a few more: Really? Like, really? We're just supposed to toss our wet towels on the bench, leave our used shit around and have other people clean it up? Doesn't' this go against everyone's upbringing? It goes against mine! Whatever happened to common courtesy? I'm supposed to be ok with leaving my wet towel on the freaking bench? Oh, everyone else is doing it. WTF? They make it so hard to do otherwise.... and, and, and.... this is what they WANT me to do! It's designed that way!

Another way to look at it is that I get a break from cleaning up. There, I don't have to worry about it. I get to relax and let someone else take care of the little things. I get to focus on what I'm there to do, not about whether or not I'm leaving the place the way I found it. After all, it's a privilege. It's like being in a hotel room. You know someone will come and clean up after you so you don't worry about using all the towels and leaving them in a heap in the corner because when you come back later on, it's all pretty and clean again.

Fascinating.
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Saturday, April 19, 2008

to tat or not to tat

I've been having a debate with myself for years. Do I get a tattoo or not? There are a few symbols that are really dear to me but the idea of permanently inking my skin, even for a symbol that means a lot, scares the crap out of me. I can't imagine that something that looks good on me when I'm 35 is going to be hawt when I'm 75. But hey, I'm going to suspend that hesitancy for a moment and talk about what I'd like and where I'd like it.

The Ouroboros
why: Symbolizing infinity, eternity, the cycle of birth and death, creation and destruction, the snake or dragon biting its tail has always been an image that I resonate with. I grew up knowing the image of snake, but it was only in college that I learned that a dragon is also used. And I love dragons. My tattoo would be a dragon ouroboros.

style: I'd like it to be red or green and a modernization of this image. Add some wings, change the shape just a bit.

where: Obviously this is a circular tattoo. I've thought about placing it on my back hip or back shoulder. Not too crazy about that. I really don't want a tattoo where I can't see it. Plus, this is a symbol that's close to my heart and if I didn't have boobs, I'd get it right on my chest. Another option is to put it next to my hip bone on the front, but eh.

verdict: This tattoo I've thought about for a very long time. However, I don't know about having a tattoo somewhere I can't see it. I want to be able to see it, look and examine it, and savor the meaning and beauty. I really don't want it to be for the enjoyment of others.


The Dragon
why: Dragons are awesome. I don't have some deep spiritual connection with dragons, but I love the way they look.

style: I've always liked Masuimi Max's red dragon tat, but it's a bit too Eastern for my taste. The styling, however, is nice. I'd like a slightly smaller size. I envision something in blue. I'd let an artist draw up a few ideas using Masuimi's as an example.

where: Again, I like the placement of Masuimi's tat. Upper right arm. Good location, I'd be able to look at it, and through the years it won't look like shit on a 70 year old.

verdict: I'm liking this one more and more.


The Anchor
why: I was always fascinated with the anchor tats I'd see on older Navy men when I was a kid. I would eye the faded green anchor on their forearm or bicep and just really wanted one too.

style: I'd like this to resemble a 1940s anchor tattoo. That simple.

where: This would definitely go on the outside of my upper right arm.

verdict: I have nothing to do with sailing or the Navy. The only reasons I'd want this is because of a childhood memory, and well, it's totally butch.

Final thoughts

While the ouroboros is the symbol I like the best, it's the dragon that would look the best on me. I really like the idea of having something on my upper right arm. My hesitation is I don't want to put something permanently on my body that I don't have a strong connection with. While I love dragons, it's specifically the ouroboros that I want, but I'm certain I don't want a tattoo on my back.

I'll have to think some more. I'd like to see some sketches of what I'd want. Then I'd have to find a really good artist. We'll see...

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Something to say

I got this really nice email from a friend of mine and asked her if I could post it and my response. Sometimes I wonder if I'm freaking you guys out with all of the personal stuff I write in here. It's not something we talk about and I felt that part of my reply to her is something I wanted to say to y'all...
subject: something to say

Was going to talk to you last Sunday, but I never got the chance. Your blog really has shared a lot of things that most people try to hide and I really admire your ability to throw it out there. I don't feel right to comment on your public comments though.??? But, it's weird that I read everything and want to discuss it with you, but I've read it and the time never comes up that is appropriate to talk to you about it.

And is that something that you'd even want? Maybe you write to get it out there, but not really discuss it. I'm not sure. But you've inspired me to write myself. I've been writing for about a month and it's because your posts are very honest and emotional. I strangely feel closer to you (thinking that I know you better), but in some ways I don't think you know that? It's really a strange mechanism to communicate life experiences. But now, I find it to be such a useful tool to put shit down and figure a few things out about how I feel or deal with things. Anyways, I just wanted to say that you inspired me and that someday I'd love to talk about some of the things you write about if the appropriate moment arrives.

My reply:

Wow. This email is unexpected. Thank you!

I do wonder if my blog is too personal at times, too awkward for others to read. I imagine it could be awkward to respond to something personal. I do write with the knowledge that people read it, and I wouldn't put anything out there that I wasn't comfortable saying to someone face to face. I find it easier to articulate my thoughts when writing vs speaking. Plus, I like the self-discovery and the risk I face in sharing vulnerabilities. Ultimately, I get to know myself better and you and others get to come along for the ride!

If you want to talk to me about stuff I've written, you can; I'm open to it. It would be nice. Sometimes it feels like I'm speaking to an empty room. I know I have readers, and you sometimes reply via email and some of my friends do as well, but it's daunting to get in there and not see comments. But, I'm not doing this as a popularity contest or to become some famous blogger nor does the stuff I write necessarily lend itself to public commenting.

I understand the idea that you feel closer to me. I felt that way when I used to read my coworker's blog (from Scholastic) and she talked about all the dates she was going on. We weren't necessarily close and after reading all of her stuff, I felt I knew her really well but not vice versa. It was a weird feeling, like I had snuck into her room and read her diary.

OMG, another coworker from Scholastic also had a blog which he didn't invite me or another coworker to read, but we read it anyway (before he found out and actually changed the URL). Anyway, in there he talked about work and us and one time, about how in the bathrooms at work when someone in the ladies room flushed, the toilet he would be sitting on would actually move because everything was connected. That really freaked us out, because the same thing happened in the ladies room and now we knew that we could feel it whenever the other flushed. Creepy.