by Melinda Gallo

Making commitments

I had no idea how much my "freelance" lifestyle is so deeply ingrained in me. I have been going to the palestra (gym) pretty much since we arrived, but I keep paying only one or three months at a time. I've gone to two different palestre, but still wouldn't commit to one year.

Dave signed up last week for an abbonamento annuale (yearly membership) at the palestra. The palestra is close to our new apartment, and I like it as it's bigger than the one we used to go to. Besides, I used to be a member when I first moved to Florence in 1997 and many of the same people still work and go there.

I found out that there are numerous advantages to having an abbonamento annuale. We can suspend our abbonamento annuale for a few weeks at specific times of the year so that we can go on vacation and not lose out on our abbonamento. And, I no longer have to carry my tessera (card) around either; I get to leave it at the desk and they just wave me through.

I went to the palestra on Saturday to pay for my abbonamento annuale, but my credit card didn't work. The girl didn't know if it was because they don't accept American Express or if something was wrong with the machine. The girl, whom I knew from when I used to go to the palestra years ago, let me work out and told me to pay next time. I offered to come back later, but she said, "Ma che scherzi." (a common Florentine expression with multiple meanings, like "don't worry about it/don't mention it." Literally it means "you're joking.")

So when I went to the palestra today, the girl who works there in the mornings, asked me, " dal 4 marzo che non vieni?" (You haven't come since March 4th?). I explained that I came on Saturday, but that my card didn't work. When she handed me my receipt, I checked to make sure that my abbonamento started on the 19th and not the 4th. I'd hate to lose two weeks just because I was lazy to go to the palestra these past few weeks.

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