Thursday, August 01, 2013

The Bigger Bluff
I forgot to tell you that during the meeting with my boss at the fancy gym two days ago he left the room for a minute to go make some copies for me. He told his assistant, who is the head swim teacher, to talk to me for a minute. She started making weird stalling noises and said "um what can we talk about?" Good lord, lady we've been working together for six months and you never made good on your promise to have coffe with me; surely you can come up with something to ask or tell me. Nothing. So I said, "Well, you work in the pool. Let's talk about that. I've never been there. What is it like, what equipment do you have, how do you structure your classes? I would like to bring my course to the pool at some point . . ." This got her going. She told me that I didn't understand how a pool worked and I probably thought I could just do my exercises in the water. But no. There is this thing called water pressure that makes it harder to bring your leg down and easier to bring it up. Seriously? FOR GOODNESS SAKE I HAVE TWO MASTERS DEGREES; HOW STUPID DO YOU THINK I AM?? Next you're going to tell me the water is wet. I just nodded and thanked her.

Before I went to teach my final class last night, I called this student who is friends with the gym owner to ask for her advice. She told me she would gladly meet with him on my behalf, but I asked her to wait until they made the next move and to not tell anyone. She showed up at the evening class, which she had previously intended to skip, and told EVERYONE; and then after the class she had EVERYONE call my boss at home. This was kind of funny. Let me back up and say that after I never received a phone call from my boss or his assistant, I assumed we were going to part ways. Forever. I hid for a bit, but then I stood in front of my classroom's door and walked around the main room so that anyone who wanted to grab me could do so. But nothing happened. I expected three or four people to show up for my last class because a lot of people are on vacation or don't like to exercise other than in the pool when it is so hot. As I was leading the opening number my boss showed up with this weird, fake smile on his face and saw that I had somehow managed to FILL the room. Perfect. I fake smiled back and thought vaffanculo tu.

At the end of the lesson everyone clapped and yelled. It was so nice. So I went down to their changing room with them and people started telling me that they would follow me anywhere and to stay in touch. My coworker Lisa who hates me, complimented me on my dress. Where are you going? she asked. I said, My clients are taking me our for pizza. She had such a mean look on her face that my friend Alessandra stepped between us as if to block the annihilating laser beams emanating from Lisa's eyes. At the fancy gym we share clients, you see. Oops. So convinced was I that I was never coming back, I brought back the hula hoops I had borrowed so that I would not be labeled a thief. I removed my bathrobe from the instructors' changing closet. It was wet, and I imagine that all my coworkers have been using it to dry their hands when they come out of the bathroom. I then tip toed into my boss' darkened office where I spied my beloved exercise ball that I had left him as a sample when I was trying to convince him to buy a bunch for my class next year. I got my trembling hands on it and turned to tip toe it out of there when I spotted one of the other swim teachers who hates me at the computer. Her mean face was illuminated by the computer screen. Hi, I said. She laughed at me.

Then I received a phone call from the swim teacher who is my boss' assistant. We didn't hear from you, she said. I was here, I said. Listen, I said, I sat here in February and told the gym owner that I take 20 euro a lesson. I didn't say this was only true when I teach five lessons a week. I told him that because it is my rate. No one told me that when my class number increases, my rate was going to go down. So you keep my rate how it was or I am not coming back. And for the record, your boss was not correct to call my work with smaller gyms a failure. OH he didn't say that, she replied. There was a misunderstanding. He was trying to say that they failed you. Give me a break, I told her. And for the record, I added. My work has never been a failure and I have always been popular with my clients and I always will be. She said that she hoped I didn't tell people I wasn't coming back. I admitted that I told one person who told everybody else. ARGH, she said. Fifteen of them just called Giacomo. -That's when I realized that she was probably standing next to Giacomo and might even have me on speaker phone. - Well let's not make this personal, I said. It's 20 or nothing. We'll try to find the money in the budget tomorrow, she said. Fine.

Then I went out to pizza with Alessandra, Monica and Giada and we decided that if my contract passes a read from my lawyer or accountant, I probably have to sign it this time around. For one thing, if I don't, they are going to tell all of my students that I asked for more money and they agreed to give it to me and then I abandoned them anyway. So this story isn't even over yet. As I was unsuccessfully trying to sleep last night, I realized that before I had marched in to teach my last class, I had, in a fit of adrenalin,  told crazy Claudia a bunch of gossipy, angry stories about what assholes I think everyone is because I thought I would never see anyone again. WHY??? Next season is going to be blog worthy. Very much so.

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