A Gym Worker’s Rant


Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Lukas Spitz-Chapman, Guest Writer

For a couple of months now, I’ve been working at my local gym at minimum wage. This job involves taking temperatures and doing any work that needs doing, like reracking equipment, wiping down cardio equipment, cleaning the bathrooms, and taking out trash. If it has to be done to keep the gym as clean as possible, I’m your guy. The amount of time spent doing maintenance tasks is very short, which means I mainly get to just read my history textbook or look at my phone. When Covid isn’t a threat, it’s the perfect job for a socially awkward teenager with an expensive model building habit. I earn $60 a weekend and do basically nothing, and the things I do have to do are easy and I’m good at them. I’m also frequently praised by patrons and employers alike for my work ethic and professionalism.  

However, during the pandemic, a time that has shown the world the depths of human stupidity and selfishness, my job includes keeping the gym compliant with restrictions. Therefore, I have to deal with the covidiots who won’t put their masks on or follow social distancing guidelines. I want to be clear: almost all of the patrons and trainers are as careful as could be expected of people who think that working out is a priority in a pandemic. However, about 5% of people wear a chin diaper or have their nose out, instead of a proper facial covering. I’m the poor guy who has to tell these smooth brains to put on their masks correctly. I cannot stand these kinds of people. If they don’t like working out with a mask, they are more than welcome to leave and work out at home, where they can leave their face as naked as they want without risking infecting us all. It’s also infuriating because I should not be personally affected by anti-maskers. It is so unfair that the chances of a return to normal life are being lowered every day by the most self-absorbed morons on the planet, who have had a year to learn how to live with the new normal yet refuse to. I am doing everything right in terms of masking and social distancing. Why can’t more people do what they have to?

Even the people who know how to put on their masks can be a problem. All doors have to be kept open to maintain airflow and reduce transmission risk. Sun, rain, heat, cold, snow, it doesn’t matter; the doors stay open. I’m not even saying that it’s wide open. If it’s cold, the door is just ajar. That way, even if everyone completely forgoes Covid guidelines, there is still some airflow so the gym isn’t a complete biohazard. It’s not much, but it’s better than nothing. Understandably, this precaution makes the gym either cold or freezing depending on the outside temperature. I usually arrive before anyone else and crack open the doors. You would not believe the number of people who try to close the doors, even the ones wearing masks and social distancing. Do they honestly think those doors are open by mistake? It’s freezing outside. No sane person would be caught dead leaving those doors unsealed in normal conditions. Did they forget about the pandemic? You don’t need to be Anthony Fauci to figure out that open doors allow airflow and reduce risk of transmission. I have no problem with people asking if the doors can be closed, and then accept my answer as no. I have a problem with people who try to take matters into their own hands and close the door, or who beg when I say no. There’s this one guy who always yells at me not to open the door because it’s cold. He-Karen, consider who you’re yelling at. I’m a 16-year-old high school student getting paid minimum wage who has to get up with the aid of an alarm clock every weekend when I’m supposed to be resting for school, in order to make sure the people dumb enough to go to a gym during a pandemic don’t qualify for the Darwin Awards. If I can do that every weekend, you can work out with the doors open. Stop complaining and grow up. Do these people think that I want the doors open? I have to wear a thick jacket at all times due to the cold. I may not like the open-door rule, but I enforce it because I have to, and because it’s for my own protection.

All of the insanity and selfishness and stupidity I described is what I go through every day at work. I will be dancing in the streets when the pandemic ends, so I can work without having to worry about getting infected because some idiot doesn’t know what social distancing is. For now, I’m stuck making sure the gym is safe, yearning for a time when we can all breathe freely, without masks and without concern for our own safety. Until the day comes, I’m stuck babysitting grown men who demonstrate the least concern for others that I have ever had the misfortune to see firsthand.