Monday, July 27, 2015

There's always something

I like working out at the little public gym at Hockey Club Yunost Minsk. It’s a friendly place with an array of good equipment but almost nothing in duplicate. After I’d been going there for a while, I donated a wall clock because theirs had long ago disappeared and I thought we’d all like to know when it’s time to go home. Later I donated some audio cables and connected the TV to the room’s audio system. Still, there’s always something else to fix and the repairs are generally out of my reach.

One time I walked in and discovered that the benches were missing from all the exercise machines and all but one of the movable benches were missing the padded tops from their frames. Somebody had decided that it was time to re-cover them all and simply took them away. They came back after a few days, looking not much different from the way they had looked before they disappeared.

The showers present a special set of problems. One time somebody replaced an ordinary shower head with one of those hose-mounted showers, but they didn’t install a bracket to hold the head in place. We had to hold the head in one hand while washing with the other. I thought about donating a replacement showerhead, but worried that doing a repair that required me to bring my own wrench might be perceived as intrusive. Instead, I put a big rubber band in my bag and attached the showerhead to the hose at a comfortable height every time I took a shower. This was much better than the previous situation, when water shot out of the pipe with no head attached at all.

Sometimes there’s no hot water, and once there was no water at all. Frequently there’s no soap. I carry my own soap and I bathe in cold water when required. In Belarus, we adapt.

Today when I checked in, there were no keys at the front desk. Nastya told me that they were downstairs in the locker room, so I went down and walked in. Oops. The locker room was filled with women who had just left an aerobics class. Apparently, something bad had happened in their locker room, something that left them with a flood, so we had to share. More accurately, the guys had to wait their turn. I changed behind a door in the hallway and got on with my workout.

There’s more, but you get the idea already. In closing, let me leave you with a picture of the floor in the aerobics room. Most of the nails are lined up in a row, but at this spot, it appears that the workman had taken too big a toot on whatever he was drinking. I love it:

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