So life in Obamaville can definitely have its trying moment. For example, yesterday I went to join a nearby gym and from the minute I enter, I felt negative vibes all over. It had nothing to do with the place as it looked like every other gym in the country: people sweating on machines leading to nowhere, striving to make the promise land of a leaner, meaner body. Before I could even remove my coat, I was pounced on by the 'recruiter'- a Cameroonian man with biceps the size of my entire head. The dreaded "where are you from?" question immediately came out and he seized the "Liberian" part of my identity and turned it into a sales deal. As an 'African sister' I was offered 'inside' information that the membership fee would be increasing the next day and now was my golden opportunity to get in while it was good. I eventually had to stop the madness and just say that my only purpose was to get a feel for the gym and that he would have to wait until the end of my workout for pull out all the tricks. But nooooo, 30 minutes in, he finds me and offers the 'let's totally woo her' special of 15 minutes of his 'personal trainer' time. For those of you unfamiliar with this, this is a clear process where the recruiter shows you a snap shot of what can only truly be yours for about $100 bucks an hour: personal attention!
I was already unsure about the whole gym membership business to begin with and only do it because everything else I'm interested in (dance and yoga classes) cost at least double the price with fewer sessions per week and less cardio bang for your dollar. Plus, with temperature cold enough for flurries, running/walking outside is becoming a real challenge. But I left with a thinner wallet (with a guarentee to my money back should I quit in 15 days) and even more uncertainity about whether this was the best move for me. My sore muscles today say it might be a good idea but my continued disgruntalness says otherwise.
I know that making a deal and the drive to earn a buck is part of American way, especially when the economy is so horrible; and the American entrepreneurial/industrial spirit is definitely a good thing, but really! Experiences like that just make me miss the hot Sudanese days when drunken men with guns on the road while jogging was my only obstacle to a work out and I at least was outside in the fresh with a goofy dog as a running mate.