On a recent trip to the grocery store, my entrance was blocked by a group of fit humans promoting their gym. They were wearing expensive sneakers, matching tearaway pants, and jackets adorned with the gym’s logos. The clipboards they were holding made them look very official – like Mr. Harris, my sixth grade gym teacher.
Kylie: Hi there! My name is Kylie! I’m the manager at The Sweatshop, and we have a great promotion going on!
movita: No, thank you. I get free classes at work.
Kylie: But we’ll give you a free three-day trial!
movita: Right, but then I’d have to pay for a membership, which seems silly given that I can get classes for free at work.
Kylie: That’s so great! Where do you work?
movita: I’m a ballet teacher.
Kylie: Oh, wow! That’s amazing! So you kind of get to workout every time you go to work.
movita: Right. So you see where I’m going with this.
Kylie does not see where I am going with this.
Kylie: (nodding enthusiastically) So classes are your thing? Rather than working out on equipment?
I guess this longversation is happening.
movita: Sure, but gyms are not my thing. Ballet studios are my thing.
Kylie: Well, we have lots of classes you could take!
movita: So does my workplace. For free. But thanks anyway…
I turn to walk away, trying to end the conversation with a smile and a wave.
Kylie: But WE have a virtual fitness machine!
I get my ass back there as fast as humanly possible.
movita: What’s that now?
Kylie: It’s a computer system! If we aren’t offering the sort class you want at the time you want it, it doesn’t matter. You can still take a class! Any time of day! Simply select the class you want on the computer, and then stand in front of a big drop-down screen, and follow along! There are hundreds of classes to choose from. It’s so convenient!
movita: Whoa, hang on. You mean I’m in the middle of a gym, watching a class on a television screen, and I’m copying whatever is happening on the screen? So… everyone is watching me do, say, zumba all by myself?
Kylie: (pausing) Yes? (gives it a second thought) YES! And it’s not a television screen. It’s a very big screen. Like a movie screen!
movita: Sounds like a good way to get beat up in the parking lot.
Kylie: Oh, let me assure you, our parking lot is very safe!
movita: Not after I do a jazzercise solo in the middle of your gym.
Kylie giggles nervously, but is not deterred. She’s still smiling like The Sweatshop has single-handedly discovered the cure for Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease.
movita: So… why wouldn’t I just watch a class on YouTube – for free – and follow along in my living room? You know, without 50 people watching me jump around in front of a big screen all by myself?
Kylie: Because our system has so many classes to choose from?
movita: Of course. The internet doesn’t have much on it yet.
Kylie: So, all I need is your phone number so I can call you. We’ll set up a time for your tour, and we’ll pick your free trial classes together!
movita: BUT I GET CLASSES FOR FREE SOMEWHERE ELSE.
Kylie: So, your number?
I give her the number from my old cell phone, disconnected eight years ago.
Kylie: I look forward to seeing you soon!
movita: I look forward to wowing your clients with my jazzercise solo!
Kylie finally looks less than enthusiastic.