Saturday, January 19, 2013

Fitness Crisis

I've been working out at the small fitness facility in my apartment complex for over a month now. My original goal of jogging or biking by the sea daily for one year just didn't take into account the mud and flooding that occurs regularly along the sea side every time there is a large rain or the packs of dogs that are generally docile during daylight hours but very aggressive at dusk and darkness. So, I finally broke down and jumped on the tread mill about a month ago. Things had been progressing nicely until Tuesday when I hopped off the machine, sweat dripping down my chin and soaking my t-shirt, and the man-who-hangs-out-behind-the-lone-desk motioned me over.

He asked my name, address, etc. and finally indicated that I couldn't exercise any more. I needed a doctor's permission, a photo, and, of course, some cash for the membership fee. In my best Turkish (which really isn't good at all) I said this was a big problem. First, the realtor had told me my fees included the fitness center. Second I wouldn't be able to go to a doctor because they work Monday - Friday 8-5 and I work the same hours and longer.  Then I said everyone in Turkey is a "liar" (I'm not proud of my word choice) but he agreed...either that or he didn't understand.

I marched up to my apartment...obviously I hadn't worked out enough to get rid of the stress...and pounded out an email to the apartment manager. He speaks pretty good English and responded first thing the next morning when he arrived at work. His email was conciliatory and included cute little emoticons like smiley faces and hearts. He said, "No problem. Just go to the clinic at your school and have them write a little note saying you can exercise. And, I'm very sorry but your realtor was ill informed, but Soyak Mavesehir is the least expensive fitness salon in all of Izmir...100 TL for a year."  (He's got a point there..about $60/year plus a sauna that I didn't even know about..)

After reading the email I asked my supervisor if she could call the school clinic and explain what I needed. A couple minutes later, she turned to me and said, "They don't give health certificates. They can only give shots and medicine including prescribing antibiotics, but they can't write a note." She looked online and found a hospital(that's where you find the doctors here in Turkey) near my house that was open on Saturday. She wrote my request in Turkish so I would be able to show the staff and sent me off.

Fast forward to today when the only item on my agenda was to get a note so I could exercise again. I walked to the hospital at 9:00, waited in line for about 10 minutes, said a friendly optimistic hello, and showed the clerk my note. She shook her head and said they don't do those here. I asked here where I should go and she shrugged her shoulders, "Bilmiyorum." (I don't know.)

I left the hospital really irritated about a stupid rule. (I don't even think they have personal injury lawyers here or if they do, the City of Izmir must be exempt from any and all responsibility for dangerous construction zones and unmarked hazards. Anyway, I dialed the apartment manager again and offered two suggestions:

1. He finds me a doctor who will write the required note.
or 2. I write a note that says I accept all responsibility for exercising. I won't hold anyone responsible for any actions but my own.
He said he would get back to me.

I continued on my angry walk and was greeted with all kinds of things to make me smile. It was definitely a silver-lining kind of day.(The walk deserves a post of it's own.) While walking I even contemplated the fact that the guy-behind-the-fitness-desk just needed a piece of paper, and I went so far as to consider creating a fake doctor name and signature-I could design a letter head on my computer- and solve this problem.

Fortunately, I returned home just past noon and ran into the apartment manager. He said the problem was solved. I could write a note saying I would accept full responsibility for my actions. And he would take responsibility for my note. WIN!

1 comment:

  1. Yikes! Glad you got this worked out.
    Comparing this to my "fitness" crisis, of not doing anything to become fit! :)