My first gym was the New York Health and Racquet Club, so named because it is one of the biggest rackets in the city. I went regularly, back in the unfettered day. I cardioed, I weighted, I biked, I hot-tubbed, I swam. And most importantly, I steamed. As I've mentioned way too many times on this site, I do my best thinking while sitting in stifling humidity, with a sheet of protective plastic conforming to my tenders. And the HRC's steam room had a nice feature--a cold-water faucet that let you pretend you were some Roman fatcat with a caldarium and a frigidarium, so you could alternately scald and freeze your derrierium.
I always feel like a million bucks (OK, more like 900 grand) after a good steam. I feel ... larger. And lopier, like my stride is about 10 feet long. Sometimes, before a date or audition or something, I would stop in for a quick strip-n-shvitz. Stagger in, spring out.
My last job, the investment bank that ultimately laid me off and spawned this blog, understood this. (And since it's currently sputtering along with its head barely above water, it doesn't understand much else.) We had a full-service gym, and they wanted you to use it so badly that they even let you borrow workout clothes. The idea struck me as pretty nasty at first, like using full-body bowling shoes. But it was a matter of time before my laziness took over, and there I was, wearing a gray t-shirt and blue shorts that only 10,000 or so people had worn before me. I rationalized away this thought with the aftersteam, which boiled away the boogums.
The point of all this mindlessness is that I've been working out more lately. I upgraded my gym membership to "passport," which lets me go to whatever gym I want whenever I want. (Because I'm a big fucking deal.) I got into Goldilocks mode and when to three new branches, each of which is on my way to work, in search of a good morning steam, and can you guess how many steams I've had?
I am steamless. Devoid of steam. Asteamal. Considering that this borough is resting entirely on an enormous steam ball, this is exceptionally frustrating.
I went to the first place, but I ran low on time and had to leave without steaming. At the second place, the steam room was packed and there was a line to get in. The third place had the greatest promise, because it had recently renovated. It was beautiful, clean, and empty--and part of its renovations involved removing--um, wha?--the steam room entirely. So I went back the first place, to find that the steam room is broken.
Ladies and gentlemen, I ask you: W T F-ing F? I am an achey, middle-aged father who spends half his life fending off boyslaughts and the other half running for mass transit. I need relief. R to the E to the LIEF. I'm dropping $80 a month for this gym; my pores are clogged, and the aches in my shoulders are thinking of opening up a branch office.
George Bush is behind this. Therefore, at this point, I'm expecting this and all my other problems to be magically wiped away at 11:45 EST, when the Secret Service will grab the man by the collar and waistband, hurl him headfirst into his helicopter, and send him off looking for the next thing he can ruin.