November 10, 2013: Loyalty

Zach working courtesy services
I surprised Zach today. He was working downtown at Prairie Life Fitness. Zach had let me in on a little secret. I could go to any Prairie Life location at no cost. I thought I was just a member of the PLF out west. This benefit of membership had never occurred to me. So with this new found knowledge, I trekked over to 31th and Farnam for a visit.

I had been told this new facility was the cat's meow; state of the art design and equipment. It didn't disappoint. The facility is spacious and full of natural light. The view onto Farnam is nice too.

After walking in the door, I gave the young man at the front desk my member number. His response was that I must be a visiting member. My number lacked the extra digit of his more recent member adds.

Upon reflection, I pointed out to him first that I was the mother of Zach Lane, courtesy services employee. Then I told him that my membership preceded my pregnancy with Zach. That would make me a member for over twenty-one years. The young man seemed genuinely impressed.

PLF on 132nd and Center was my first gym membership. It was called Prairie Life Center at that time. My job was by Oakview Mall before the Mall was actually built. I wore leotards with a big black belt for my favored aerobics classes. My hair was big and my music came from a Walkman. I went through three pregnancies in water aerobics and on a stationary bike. I went through three post-pregnancies working off my baby weight on every machine available at Prairie Life.

I was on an elliptical machine when the story broke on the Oklahoma City bombing and on the treadmill when I learned of JFK Jr's plane went down. There were exciting football game finales watched and countless miles logged in on the indoor track when Nebraska weather did not cooperate with my running schedule.

So when the spectacular Lifetime Fitness was built across the street from my house, people continually asked me why I wasn't a member. I stubbornly gave every reason why Lifetime wasn't for me...too big, too social, too many people. Prairie Life was "more my speed" was my constant answer.

Although this was a true statement, the reality was that I felt a loyalty to my comrades at PLF. From Jason and Hollie at the front desk to the 7:30 a.m. coffee crew, I felt right at home. Gym people have the same routines. Although I don't know everyone's name, I know every familiar face. I like them. They are my peeps.

Following pressure from my kids, we finally joined Lifetime last year. Now Garrett is a member as well. And I like it. We like it.

One would assume that I have moved on from Prairie Life after making the Lifetime commitment. Nope. The loyalty gene runs too deep for me. I instead prepaid for a two year membership at Prairie. I did get a discount, but only after convincing myself that two gym memberships were necessary.

The good news: I did like the downtown facility and it's only nine minutes from my new office (I timed it). I am planning on going there tomorrow for a workout over lunch. I've decided that just like friends, you can't have too many gyms.


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