I joined the downtown YMCA back in 2003 primarily because as healthclubs go, it’s really one of the best — not just because of its variety of programs or state-of-the-art equipment, but also because being in the heart of downtown it attracts a much more no-nonsense clientele. It isn’t some posing parlor meatmarket like most Bally’s and 24-Hour gyms. The people who came there had meetings to get to and deadlines to meet and so there was little mixing fitness with pleasure. It was get-in, workout, get on with your life. I liked that.

The few times I actually went.

In 2005 I tacked on an additional $12 per month to my monthly dues so that I could make use of the rooftop tennis facilities situated nearby atop the World Trade Center complex just north of the Bonaventure Hotel. Those courts held a distinct nostalgia as I frequented them on occasion in my early teens when they were the independently operated Los Angeles Tennis Club with my volunteer big brother Lloyd who was a member.

For most of that spring and summer I got my money’s worth out of that additional outlay, participating in instructional sessions and tournaments… even winning a couple. But after that with the exception of a brief return in the spring of 2006 I haven’t stayed in the swing of things, instead content to let the YMCA deduct close to $60 a month out of my checking account.  Sure, the little voice inside my head wondered why I should pay something for nothing and suggested I just take the money and burn it, but I didn’t listen. Even at my most cash-strapped earlier this year I stopped short of canceling in part because my Y membership was something of a last vestige of my life before it got turned upside down in November 2005. In the most telling irony, when I shed 52 pounds in the first half of 2005, did the Y play any part? Nope. Proper eating, walking and my bicycling did.

Yet still I did nothing.

Until today, when in the comment thread that strung out from a funny fitness-related Blogging.la post today by Jason Burns, Militant Angeleno finally talked some sense into me simply by restating with the aid of some ALLCAPS and exclamation points that healthclubs are a scam.

So I emailed the Y’s membership coordinator advising of my desire to cancel and I had to laugh when I got the reply telling me that the easiest way would be to physically come in and complete a “cancellation request form” because one of Militant’s points was how difficult these organizations make it to say goodbye.

I wrote back telling the person that might be an easy way for the Y, but in this day and age of the internet and or the United States Postal Service, there ought to be a more convenient way for me.

Funny. I haven’t heard back yet.

If I don’t I’ll just bike the long way home one of these days and suffer through any attempt to retain me and get it taken care of. Finally.