The YMCA in downtown San Antonio sucks. I tried it out last week. The building is a former Albertson’s grocery store – so, when you close your eyes you can imagine the place as it used to be, with unhelpful teenage employees in blue vests clumsily bagging your groceries. After the store closed a few years ago, the beige eyesore became a church. We called it the “Metho-dome”. It had terrible acoustics. Now it’s a YMCA and no one seems to notice or care that Vanessa Hudgens’ voice is wailing from the speakers. And, as if things weren’t bad enough, it doesn’t have a pool. The place is a former jumbo super market. No pool. Where do you run if there’s a fire? Don’t go to the pool section.
When I got back into Alexandria, I felt like the Pope. I kissed the ground when I walked into the YMCA and nodded frankly to the people who work out on the machines in their jeans and flannel shirts. It was good to be back. Combining a terrible YMCA experience with a million Mexican restaurants is a recipe for calamity. I wouldn’t last more than a couple of weeks in San Antonio before I would revoke my membership and dive straight into a plate of beef enchiladas, with guacamole, rice, refried beans, salsa and a Dr. Pepper.