Tuesday, June 8, 2010

RTT: Gym Characters, Dwindling Rage


My mind is buzzing with random crap.  I could go on for days.  But I'll try not to.  Read this, then click on the thingy and go visit Keely.

Here's an introduction to some of the people who frequent our gym.  Our gym is in the heart of the gayborhood, and it's open 24 hours, so it's always colorful.  And I've been going there at about 11:00 p.m. lately because that's about the only time I can, so I see get to see some of the best characters.

Dancy-Pants: A handsome Latino gent, about my age (40-ish), but much more fit and with better posture than me.  He can usually be found in the group exercise area by himself, practicing his dirty dancing.  If he's not a professional, he should be.  This guy is good.  Twirls, leaps, shimmies, hip-swivels, and pelvic thrusts...oh, the pelvic thrusts.  When he's not dancing, he's in the weight room in his dance shoes and pants, rhythmically doing curls and presses while bouncing on his toes.  I guess he's never not dancing, really.

Booby Lady: Probably every gym in Southern California has several of these.  But ours is special.  She is very petite, Asian, and has comically huge gazongas.  Each one is about thirty percent bigger than her head.  She can be seen taking kickboxing and other aerobics-type classes, but not really moving all that much.  Her boobies don't move at all.  We think she must be in the adult entertainment industry.

Tat-toupee:  There are a lot of people with a lot of tattoos at our gym; many of them on their necks and faces.  But Tat-toupee has only one tattoo (at least only one that's visible while he's clothed)--a dark blue and green, densely detailed "Aloha" style floral print that covers his entire scalp.  From a distance, it just looks like he has really close-cropped dark hair.  But get up close and it's clear that his "hair" is all ink.  Could this have been less painful than a hair transplant?  Other than his head, this guy is completely unremarkable looking.

Air Tran: The first time I saw Air, I thought, Holy Crap...that chick is ripped!  At about 6'5" and 210 lbs, she looks like a sinewy NBA player with a weave, acrylic nails, and a sports bra supporting her modest, athletic rack.  But a cursory and surreptitious scan reveals that she is also in need of a jock strap.  If, as I presume, Ms. Tran is on hormone treatment to suppress her male characteristics, I can only imagine how jacked she was when her testosterone levels were topped off.

My rage lacks stamina

Yesterday, I went to the City Development Office to get an extension on my building permit.  I'm actually done (mostly) with the addition that I started last summer, but I still haven't gotten the final inspection for a number of reasons, mostly inertia and lack of enthusiasm about the prospect of having to pay more property taxes once the house is declared "done."  So yesterday I went in to pay the fee for having taken more than a year to complete the project.

Of course, I couldn't just go in and pay the fee.  First, I had to call the office and figure out the process.  This was a couple months ago.  Every time you call the office, it entails leaving your number and getting a call back later that day, or maybe the next day.  It's slow, and a little annoying, but no big deal.  So they tell me to email Agent S explaining why I need an extension, and then she'll send me a letter in a couple of weeks saying whether or not it's been granted.  A little clunky, but again, no big deal.  (Why can't Agent S just email me back? Why can't I pay online once she decides I can have the extension? Or mail them a check?  Who knows?)  

I get a letter a few weeks later.  I'm approved.  Great.  There are no instructions as to how I can pay the $99.00 fee.  So I call the office and leave a message.  I get a call back and the agent says I have to come in and pay the cashier.  I hang up and then realize I have another question.  I call back and leave a message but because it's Friday, I can't talk to anyone until Monday.  All this calling back and forth is worth it though, because the last thing you want to do is go into the permit office lacking some paperwork, or not having enough copies, or having something printed on the wrong size paper.  You will be sent away and made to start the process all over again.  It would give Kafka night terrors.

So after having talked to two separate agents at the office, both of whom assured me that all I needed was a credit card, and that I could march right up to the cashier and pay, I go in.  I brign my original permit and some other documentation, because I don't believe it will be as simple as promised.  

The cashier asks me if I have an invoice.  Nope.  Nobody gave me an invoice, and the guys on the phone didn't say anything about an invoice.  You'll have to go to the "check-in" line then.  My heart sinks.  I protest, but to no avail.  The check-in line is where they route you to the appropriate waiting area, where you will join a group of other people who writhe with boredom and anger, pulling their hair out and gnawing on their stacks of forms and blueprints until the next bureaucrat is available to analyze their needs and figure out the next place to send them.

I get to the front of the check-in line in ten minutes.  Not too terrible.  The lady asks about the invoice.  No have.  Why?  Don't know.  She decides to do me a solid by creating one on her computer.  It takes 30 seconds.  Sweet.  But she can't print it out from her computer.  I'll have to wait in Area 1 for that.  But she'll put me at the top of the waiting list since I require so little.  Area 1?  My pulse quickens.  I've been to Area 1.  That's where you go to have your plans reviewed.  Sinking feeling worsens.

I sit for forty minutes, trying to read my book, but unable to concentrate because of the helpless rage that simmers in the pit of my spleen.  Others are called to talk to their assigned desk-jockeys.  They go over reams of paper, and some receive stamps and are sent on their way.  I pretend to read.  One woman, there with her parents who have come from out of town to help her with her small remodeling project, becomes hysterical and is escorted to a quiet corner where some sort of specialist comes to console her.  I consider going berserk if it will expedite the process.

The check-in line has dissipated.  I go back to talk to the check-in lady.  This is risky.  If you appear to be trying to cut in line or otherwise circumvent procedures, things can get worse.  Much worse.  I ask her if I misunderstood--I thought I was at the top of the list, but many others have come and gone since I came to Area 1.  She is peeved.  Tells me that only Agent M can handle my case, and he has been with one client this whole time.  I just need an invoice! I say, too loudly.  Why is this so difficult?  Check-in lady glares.  I sit back down.

Forty more minutes pass.  The client Agent M was with goes away, and Agent M starts chatting with another client.  I run up to the desk to tell him that all I need is for him to click "print" on his computer.  (I really thought there must be more to it than that, because surely check-in lady would not have let me wait so long just to print a document.  Agent M must have to record something or file something, right?  But I want to impress upon Agent M that my request is ridiculously simple.)  Agent M says that, even though the previous client is gone, he still must work on said client's file before he can get to me.  He lectures me about how it would be unfair if everyone didn't wait their turn.  

With veins bulging on my neck, I calmly tell Agent M that I agree about turn-taking, and have generally been satisfied with the service in my many many visits to this office, but this is really so simple...I appeal to check-in lady.  I have to speak loudly to converse with them both.  I am now making a scene.  The calmer Agent M is, the louder I speak.  Finally, check-in lady has a solution.  She emails the invoice to a colleague on another floor who is able to access the printer.  I try to stay calm.  Check-in lady coaches her friend upstairs, and after a few tries, the printer starts to whir, and my five-line invoice comes out.  Once she hands it to me, I find that I am still unable to control the volume of my voice.


On my way back to the car, where I was sure I would find a parking ticket, the meter having expired an hour before (I didn't, somehow), I called my wife, shaking with rage.  I was going to write to Agent S, her supervisor, the newspaper, and of course compose an excoriating blog entry that would shame them all.  I would have justice!  Not just for me, but for all those other poor saps languishing in Area 1.

But after getting home and playing with the babies and drinking a milkshake, it no longer seemed that important.  I'm getting soft in so many ways.



  1. Ok, I wanna meet Air Tran and inspect her junk. I am concerned that you went home and relaxed with a shake....WTF, this isn't the Andy we all came to know and love. Am I going to end up alone drinking my sorrows away?

  2. Booby Lady: hey, she goes to my gym too. Does she wear full makeup when she's in your weight room too? I'm not sure what she expects is going to happen to her at my family-friendly gym, but that rack is definitely going to take her places.

    Tat-Toupee: Brilliant. I'm doing that. Only I'm going to get a tattoo that looks exactly like my formerly thick brown high-school era hair inked onto my scalp. It'll fool everyone! I'll look decades younger!

  3. Oh dude, don't you just love beaurocracy? Blame the French. They invented it.

    And I used to call my old neighborhood in Hollywood the gayborhood. My gym had a very similar cast of characters too. I took a dance class there and all the fabulously perfect gay men would stand around the glass doors and watch. I've never felt so self-conscious in my life.

  4. CT,
    I would offer to take a picture in the locker room for you, but I got in a lot of trouble for that last time. And not to worry--there might have been a little gin in that milkshake. Or a lot. I guess "triple martini with a scoop of ice cream" would be a better way to describe that relaxing beverage.

    I actually haven't seen Booby Lady at our gym for a while. Maybe she defected because she didn't like all the weirdos there. Yeah--I've thought about the tat-toupee as an option too. It would be cool to get one that was a cross-section of a brain, with all the parts labeled.

    I always blame the French! Yeah--when I first started going to that gym I foolishly expected to get hit on it. After a while though, I looked around and was like, "Oh, I get it...I'm chopped liver." I don't think they even bother judging me.

  5. Not sure about the icecream part, seems like it could mess up the alcohol delivery. Maybe a side car of sorbet instead?

  6. I can see where this is going...you think the rage has gone away, but it's still there, mounting with other oppressed rages. One day you'll channel this rage and use it to stop the Cold War.

    -Rocky Balboa

  7. I'll bet you anything that Dancy-Pants man was doing Zumba!

    I.Cannot.Stand. those kinds of situation. I turn red and even though I don't always mean to, I show my ass. (Only literally when absolutely necessary.) Gets things done faster though.

    Places this kind of thing occurrs most often: DSS, DHEC, Family Court, and the DMV. Eff them in the a-hole.

  8. I need one of those milkshakes...and to visit your gym. Both sound great.

  9. If you get the tattoo, let it be the HS hair, not the (ugh!) brain. Hilarious concept,tho.

  10. Tat-toupee guy just reminds me of the comic Todd Barry, do you know him? (Well, you know...of him?) He's hilarious. But he says whenever he sees someone with a head or neck tattoo he wants to go up to them and say "hey, you forgot to not do that!"

    I sounds to me like the permit office is Hell's waiting room. You gotta love bureaucracy...and by love I mean with a sawed off shotgun all "Falling Down" style.

  11. It does seem like everything is 100% harder than it needs to be. I stood in line for 20 minutes the other day to buy one gallon of milk. I could have milked a GD cow in 20 minutes.

  12. OTO,
    I don't know how long Zumba has been around, but Dancy-Pants has been doing his thing at the gym for at least 7 years. Maybe he invented Zumba!

    It's a good idea to have one of those shakes right before you go to the gym. Plenty of protein and booze.

    Don't you know by now what happens when you try to give me hairstyle advice? (I'll have to tell the story of the perm one day when the trauma subsides.)

    I'll have to look up this Todd Barry. Sounds funny. If the permit office is only the waiting room, then the actual Hell must make Dante's Inferno look like Legoland.

    I hear ya sister.

  13. It's was started in the mid 90's by a guy named Beto Perez. I guess it's just not getting huge though.

  14. I go to an all women's gym. We have LOTS of the booby women. BUT there are lots of old women too. Sometimes it's too much......

    Thank you. Just thank you.

  16. OTO,
    I think it's pretty huge. They do it at our gym, but I haven't been there before 10:00 pm in ages, so I never get to lurk around and watch. I'm really tempted to try it though, after reading about your experiences.

    I'm surprised that the booby ladies would waste their rackage on an all-female audience.

    You're totally welcome. I'm all for safety regulations, but it seems like they could do a lot of simple things to streamline the process. Of course, this is the same City Development Office that, a couple years ago, allowed a developer to build 20 ft. higher than the FAA allowed because of proximity to an airfield. Then they had to go back after it was completely built and tear off the top floor. They should have made that guy spend a little more time in Area 1.


Don't hold back.


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