3.31.2009

Gym carnies: Squeaker

Wifey and I pay quite a bit for watching the parade of oddities at our gym. It's more than I would like to pay and more than if we joined either of the gyms our offices partner with. For comparison, when Wifey and I were members of her office's fancy gym in Manhattan with it's uber rare swimming pool, free access to multiple locations, and access to a private beach club in Connecticut, we paid $10 less per month than what we're paying now for our hussied up version of Gold's Gym.

However, our gym comes with two deal-making conveniences that individually are compelling, but together make it the clear choice. First, the gym is open 24 hours, meaning that we can never use the "oh the gym is going to close in 30 minutes, I guess I'll have to go tomorrow" excuse. Second, the gym is a five minute walk from our apartment (yup, I've timed it). The sheer convenience overrides the exorbitant price.

Even though we pay too much for membership the gym does try to make it feel like they aren't ripping us off every month. They recently expanded the woman's locker room (what for, I don't know, but they did it). They always reupholster the seats when the pleather starts to crack. They are constantly replacing older machines with newer versions...except for one.

Despite the recent flood of next generation ellipticals there remains just one--isolated in the back row of the cardio section--that is teetering on the edge of becoming an antique. It boggles my mind as to how this one machine, a contemporary of the Nordic Track, was overlooked for replacement with it's clunky display screen and clumsy design. Generally, I wouldn't have even noticed this machine except for one characteristic: it squeaks.

It is a loud, noticeable, high-pitched squeak that can be heard throughout the gym: I've heard it over my headphones and I can hear it from the bathroom. It is repetitive, persistent, stabbing squeak--the type of squeak Hitchcock used for the shower scene in Psycho.

It is also a selective squeak. Although several people use this squeaking elliptical only one person can elicit the squeak, and she is called Squeaker.

I have limited elliptical experience, but I feel pretty confident in saying that there is only one way to use an elliptical, so Squeaker can't really be using the machine wrong. Also, I've seen people of varying weight use this machine, so I don't think it is a noise triggered by weight. She just does something right to make that noise come out of that machine. Maybe she secretes a particular kind of hormone that gets all wrapped up in the innards of the machine and causes things to rub together that otherwise wouldn't.

What is really odd about Squeaker, though, is that she is always on this same machine. At least once a week when I get to the gym she's there squeaking away. And like I said, the sound travels through headphones, so she knows she's making this noise and that everyone can hear her. But she goes about oblivious to the fact. I couldn't image being on a machine that squeaks with every other step. As it is I get self-conscious and switch machines if the treadmill I'm on squeaks or bounces.

I am also convinced that Squeaker is paying off someone on the gym staff. Like I said before the gym is pretty good about fixing equipment and has a pile of "We are in the process of fixing this equipment" signs ready to be affixed at the first sign of wear and tear. However, the repair fairy manages to look over this one particular machine.

I smell a conspiracy.

7 comments:

Adam said...

Lol. I know exactly what you mean! I've been to gyms that are the exact same way. Like they ordered one too few machines and didn't have any idea what to do!

The Laminator said...

I'm an endocrinologist, which means I specialize in hormones and I can assure you that there's NO hormonal issue at work here! That squeaker's got talent!

Marcy said...

Just kill her off. That's what I'd do :P Dayum that's gotta be annoying.

CyclingDivas said...

Maybe the new sign should read "Squeaker Alert" at the door- at which point you could choose to hang around outside for awhile while she finishes torturing the machine or bring your noise cancelling earphones, the ones that cost $200 - further adding to the overpriced but worth it gym expense.

Jess said...

That's pretty annoying, especially if you can hear it over your head phones!

Irish Cream said...

Are you sure it's the machine making the noise . . . and not Squeaker herself?

Run For Life said...

That bizarre. I always move if a machine I'm on squeaks, too. I can't imagine using the one that ONLY squeaks!