3rd of October 2017
This morning there was a thick fog all over my village.
I opened my kitchen door and looked out. What a sight ! Everything grey and mystic. The magic in the fog is something that never ceases to surprise me. My imagination takes the flight and goes into the ghost world where everything is different. What is behind the fog? Where does it go? Where does it come from? Will it last? Sailing into it can be dangerous not to mention driving into a foggy wall.
This morning, on my way to the gym in Coimbra, which is 45 kilometres away, I saw the wonders of the fog. I left Penela in sunshine and drove for about 20 minutes. Then the miracle happened. Over one of the mountains there was sunshine but the middle of the slope was covered in a grey, dark grey, cloud sailing like a slow fox dancer moving gracefully like only slow fox dancers can do.
Driving a bit further there was a wonderful blue clear sky with a thick grey fog beneath, just like a carpet, covering the mountains. Driving into the unknown, the ghost cloud, turning on the parking lights, taking down the sunglasses, was something. Nothing in front, just this thick grey carpet.
When arriving in Santa Clara, where my gym is, the fog had disappeared and the sun shone. This was a cold morning but would be up to 30 later in the afternoon. Just an ordinary morning. A glorious day ahead. Or so you would assume.
Only few months ago I began a recovery after 2 years of serious illness. The gym was vital for my recovery. I would have preferred to go to Condeixa gym, but its a small one and during the winter its really cold there so I decided to go to Santa Clara, even though it takes about 45 minutes to get there. At the beginning I was not happy in my new gym. It was not a friendly environment for me who did not have a personal trainer, by choice. I complained and it changed. Now the coaches do bid good morning which is all I wanted, just to feel a tiny bit welcome. This is not cheap place, I can tell you that. What looks to me is that the upper class is attending this place, which is ok.
In the beginning I was evaluated and had to tell the history of my health which is normal in a place like this. The coach made a plan for me, an exercise plan, which was in my mind rather useless. I followed the plan for a little while but then just gave up and used my knowledge to make my own. Of course there are machines I don´t know and have to make acquaintance with. We managed with the help of some good people, me and the machines managed, I mean.
The coach that evaluated me has been trying to help me and guide me. She was friendly and I was happy. She asked many times if I would like her to teach me the new program and even one day she took 30 minutes and made me do something different. Little did I know. This looked quite nice. At the end she asked if I wanted her to be my personal trainer? I asked about the price and said no. I told her I could not afford to. She tried to convince me and I told her it was impossible for me. I explained a bit about how my money these months go to the taxman, which I am happy about. I am happy to be able to contribute to the society that takes good care of me when I need help.
She continued to “help” me when it was her sift to look after those training on their own. I still thought she was just being friendly.
One day she told me it was impossible for her to continue “helping” me and she did not want to get some crap from the others about paying to much attention to me. Now she sat down with me and explained once again, how important it would be for me to have a personal trainer! I explained again, I did not want a personal trainer and I could not afford it. Then it came.
She told me, there was a customer of her, that earned 500 euros per month. He prioritised ! He smokes 2 packs of cigarettes per day. He pays 174 EUR per month for personal training. He has to take a lot of medicine, because of his health. HIS PRIORITY is the personal training, she said.
I asked her, as a stupid woman, how he could live? How could he pay for electricity, rent, food, medicine, health care, clothes and so on? At that time I did not know the price of cigarettes here in my land, but now I know. Her reply was, he values his health more than anything!
Right. I went home. I thought about the situation. Most of all I thought about how annoying this endlessly business trying was. I already pay 200 euros per month for the gym, 50 for the gym, and 150 for diesel on my car. Am I going to spend more on the Gym? No.
If you smoke 2 packs of cigarettes per day it is 300 euros per month. If you earn 500 per month and spend 300 on cigarettes what’s left is 200 euros. If you pay 174 for personal training and 50 for the gym you are in minus. Makes sense to me.
I came to the conclusion the either the coach thought I was an idiot or she was obsessed with getting more private clients and could not take a no for an answer.
This morning I just said good morning to her and nothing more. I was not happy about her approach and just wanted to be left alone.
Did that happen? O no! She came to the machine I was working on, stopped my training and asked why this long face today? I got pissed off. Told her to leave me alone. She was not going to give up. We are going to talk about what’s wrong next day, she told me.
No, we are not going to talk about anything, my reply was.
When going to the shower I noticed she was talking to her fellow coaches about me and my peculiar mood!
So, when I left I asked the receptionists to talk to her and tell her to leave me alone. I don´t need her degrading help. If she does not leave me alone I will complain to the boss, the receptionists know that, and if nothing works I will just leave and find another gym. There are plenty of them in Coimbra.
My point is this. I have said no, more than once. I have explained my choice. The argument, that she just does want to help me, is fine. That is business. If I don´t want to buy what I am being offered a NO should be enough. I should not be harassed because someone is desperate to get clients.
When driving home from the gym this morning I was quite happy. The sky was bluer than blue, the autumn colours shone like never before. Everything was perfect. I had stood up for myself, which was a victory in itself. The fog had disappeared until tomorrow morning and it was warm. Tomorrow is another summer clothes day and what more can I wish for? The next 7 days we will most likely have a wonderful weather and it is October. The grapevine gets more beautiful every day. The grapes are already gone into huge barrels and will make the people happy and drunk. The olives are next. Soon I will see the farmers on their way to pick the olives. It will be grate if they can do it in a warm weather. Usually they are freezing but it could be different this year.
Everything is changing in the nature. One thing does not change. We need to be able to take a NO for a answer.