Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The mega fiesta staff meeting
It was huge. There were spotlights for goodness sake. There were films and slides and a musical number for the big finish. The fancy gym's owner was in command so the tone in the room was somber, respectful, with a hint of fear for good measure. Despite my asking several colleagues this week if they might sit with me at the meeting in case I didn't understand anything, no one did. I came in with two nice people who I think work in the spa and who were watching the tango class in the other room with me before the meeting. I didn't push to sit with them because I wanted to see where my fellow instructors were going to sit until it became clear that the answer was -- far from me. So I met a nice lady from Argentina who has been in Lucca with her Italian husband for the last ten years and who teaches swimming.

The good news is that I understood almost everything that was said and that I don't have to wear the MC Hammer pants or the circus pants if I don't want to even though that is our uniform for the next six weeks. I will wear their overly wide sneakers until I get blisters to make up for it, I guess. There was a nice moment where the big boss welcomed some of us new kids and people clapped for us. I was thinking if you are clapping, why didn't you sit with me? But in the end my row was filled up with other instructors so probably it looked like I was part of the group.

The bad news was that during the meeting I had a colpo di tosse/coughing fit and I had to go downstairs to cough for a bit which is always embarrassing. I was sucking on honey lozenges like the baby sister in the Simpsons with her pacifier, but in the end I had to surrender. The other bad news is that I am pretty much the only instructor who was not given a special class or project for this special six week initiative. Sometimes pretending I understand less Italian than I do helps and sometimes it hurts, but it is too useful as an everyday ploy for me to give it up until at least September.  (I didn't know you wanted me to WEAR the horrendous fat pants! etc.) I do have to say that the owner is a very shrewd man who has figured out that during this part of the year people stop their gym memberships and go to the beach or do sports outdoors. He is both building outdoor components to the gym and does this six week long crazy party which over the last few years has made the fancy gym the only one with any business during this part of the year.

There was a slide show with all of the photos of the chosen crew of instructors who got to go to Germany and London and travel to the fitness fairs and conferences with the higher ups including the owner. At the end, there was a musical tribute from the concert for those affected by the earthquake in Emilia Romagna and then the owner and his helpers came around with miniature six packs filled with tiny whiskey bottles and we all took a big long sip and got out of there. It was not easy to get a ride home, but I got one from the financial guy Patrizio. I don't know what I said to scare him, but by the time I got out of the car he looked scared of me. Sigh.

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