[Originally posted at footdipper.blogspot.com.]
Though the Health Club was technically a secular institution, there were many regulars who were fairly religious when it came to their routines. The Intense How Do You Do probably feared Hell in the face of not entering the pool area at blistering pace at 6:45 am sharp, staring and pointing at the lifeguard and shouting with utmost vigor, “How are YOU doing this morning?” at which point, he could not break eye contact until he received an obligatory response. Then and only then could he “relax” in the hot tub. Neither of the Bald Foot Dippers (there were two, and we'll get into both of them later) ever deviated from their course from the door to the 3.5 foot section of the pool to dip their toes in the water, only to ignore the temperature report from their respective tootsies and get into the hot tub instead. Hat Man, despite repeated warnings and reprimands, always and without fail would shave his face (with his hat on) in the hot tub.
There was something magical about that hot tub. It wasn't attractive (the bromine sanitizer it used oxidized the copper pipes, giving the water a puke green hue), often stunk of too many bodies sweating in it at once, and had paint chips and chunks of plaster missing from it in rather uncomfortable places for one's feet and derrier. Yet for whatever reason, the hot tub brought out the zealots at the Health Club.
Twice a week, we were required to drain and re-fill the hot tub in order to maintain basic sanitation. The hot tub-ites, however, prevented us from doing so, insisting that we drain it only once a week, preferably when they weren't there. We decided that since Sundays were our slowest days we'd drain it then. The only safe days to use the hot tub were Mondays and Tuesdays. On Wednesdays, the hot tub would start to get slightly more than questionably cloudy. Thursdays and Fridays, you couldn't see the bottom of it and the acrid, chemical and body fluid smell would begin to permeate the Health Club. On Saturdays, the thing looked like a bubbling cauldron of vomit with 5 morons pretending not to notice while sitting in its hideous belly.
On Sundays it was closed to be drained, cleaned and re-filled. Naturally, our Sunday hot tub fanatics were up in arms. They'd refuse to believe that their precious hot tub could possibly be closed. They'd see their deity half-empty, surrounded by orange cones and believe that it was a test of their enduring faith. They'd rush to its side, move the orange cones and climb in, the water barely covering their kneecaps.
“The Hot Tub is closed.”
This statement was always followed by a look of bewilderment.
“I don't see no sign saying it's closed!”
“The hot tub is green and half-empty. The murky water your feet are dangling in isn't even hot. There are orange cones all around it to alert you to its closure.”
“It don't say nowhere in the rules that I can't be in here.” The rules did say just that.
“It's closed. I work here and I'm telling you it's closed. Please exit the hot tub. It will be open tomorrow. Come back and enjoy it when it's clean.”
“Man, your mother never taught you manners. You need some home training, that's what you need.”
The above was a loose transcript of an actual conversation I had with an actual hot tub-ite. I distinctly remember him talking about my mother and the “home training” remark. I'd have a similar conversation once a week, though they usually did not insult Mom's ability to raise me.
The hot tub's supernatural powers attracted some wacky ones. When Drunken Master wasn't doing the Evan Williams two-step (question: who the hell comes to a Health Club plastered?) he'd be in the hot tub, loudly moaning. I could never tell if he really enjoyed it or if he was in pain. Either way, I was pretty sure he could have used some intravenous fluids.
One of the most memorable hot tub-ites was Jamaican Hot Lady Who Does the Jets. A crude name, yes, but befitting. She had a terrific, curvy figure and loved to show it off. She'd wear something skimpy and lay on a chaise lounge, adopting inappropriate position after inappropriate position. Spreading her legs, arching her back, she'd draw the attention of the male Health Club patrons. When they came by to chat her up, though, she never responded. She was only there for the hot tub, and apparently put on that ridiculous show just for him. She just kept on going with her routine until the call of her lover was to great to bear.
With the hot tub singing her favorite love song, she would come to him. She'd enter the water slowly, standing for a few minutes, basking in his warm embrace until eventually she would find one of the stronger jets and sit down. There she would silently and sensuously gyrate until the hot tub fulfilled her needs. She would then return to her chaise lounge and gratuitously run through her poses for him again.
I wonder if the hot tub ever took pictures?