Albuquerque: McLeod Mountainside YMCA

Tuesday, March 27, 2012
We’re still in Albuquerque, which is winsome enough to keep you around a while if you are aimless enough to submit to its charms.
Monday was a lost day. Write it off as the “Mad Men” hangover (if you detect a pun there, it was completely accidental).
The Ernie Pyle Library in southeast Albuquerque is closed Mondays. The one productive thing we did was visit the McLeod Mountainside YMCA, which boasts a state-of-the-art cardio room with an arresting view of the Sandia Mountains (as implied in the name) and a reserved parking spot for Don McLeod (also implied in the name).
We’ve been touring YMCAs across the nation for nearly a decade. Ernie Pyle was a roving reporter. We are roving workout enthusiasts.
Without too much effort, I can recall visiting YMCAs in San Jose, Calif., Norman, Okla., Tempe, Ariz., Pensacola, Fla., Roanoke, Va., Baton Rouge, La., Worcester, Mass., and Biddeford, Me.
In Alabama, we’ve availed ourselves of the Y in Bessemer (if you ever find yourself in Bessemer, look up Hitler’s typewriter) and the downtown branch in Birmingham.
In less than five months in Pennsylvania, we visited five different Y branches.
In Texas, we’ve been to Ys in Fort Worth, Waco and Austin. I’ve visited the Austin facility on Lamar Boulevard at least a dozen times.
In Tennessee, we’ve been to YMCAs in Knoxville, Nashville and Memphis. It’s unlikely Becky will forget the run-down Memphis Y we visited early in our first journey.
We’d only been together a fortnight or two. Everything was fresh and fluid. Mystery ruled the day. As we sat in the car outside the Y, I suffered a fit of temporary lunacy and (inexplicably enough) grabbed a pair of her panties and stuck them on my head. She looked confused, and not a little bit concerned. Just what sort of fucked-up insanity had she gotten herself into? Would she ever get out of Memphis alive?
She did, and thank the fates. Otherwise she never would’ve experienced the wonder that is the Leaning Tower YMCA in Niles, Ill, outside Chicago. We stopped there on our first trip across the country. In the front yard looms a half-sized replica of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

The Leaning Tower of Niles, Ill. That’s the YMCA to the right, where you can get a single room for $690 a month or as little as $45 a night.

Enough already. I guess by now I’ve established our YMCA bona fides and demonstrated we know a little about YMCAs in the good, old U.S.A. Yet we’d never seen a Y that came complete with a designated parking spot for some puffed-up asshole with too much money and too little humility.
Woe betide you if you park in Don McLeod’s space at the McLeod Mountainside (I’ll bet he’s still seething inside about having to share the marquee with a goddamned mountain) YMCA at 12500 Comanche Road NE, Albuquerque.
Park in Don McLeod’s spot, and you’ll get a nasty note on your windshield admonishing you to heed the clearly marked sign designating the spot for Don McLeod and Don McLeod alone. I know this because some poor bastard who had the audacity to park in Don McLeod’s reserved spot had a nasty note slapped on his/her windshield.
And I’m sure Don McLeod poured a pile of money into the construction of the YMCA that bears his name. Unless it was his father’s money, in which case he’s even a bigger dickhead than I had imagined. In any case, he wants people to know he’s an important person. He wants to make goddamn sure people remember that Don McLeod’s the fucking man around this place.
How big a dick is Don McLeod?
Big enough to take some of the money he had lying around after building himself a temple to his own wonderfulness and dump $2,400 of it into Tea Party wingnut Sharron Angle’s failed campaign win a U.S. Senate seat in Nevada.
Maybe it’s unfair to deride Sharron Angle as “Tea Party wingnut.”
If so, I offer my apologies. Won’t happen again.
Still, we’re talking about Tea Party alien Sharron Angle, who probably still believes the 9/11 hijackers entered through the porous U.S-Canada border.  Sharron Angle believes in an Old Testament version of democracy. She does not believe gay couples should be allowed to adopt children. let alone get married.
She thinks God has a plan for women, and sometimes that plan calls for women to conceive babies via rape or incest. And naturally she believes those women should carry their rape-gotten fetuses to term, because that is also God’s plan.
Once she even floated the possibility of an armed rebellion overthrow of Congress, or at least take out the insufferable Harry Reid (which, come to think of it, isn’t anywhere near the craziest thing she’s ever said).
Tea Party whack-job Sharron Angle thinks social policies that help the less fortunate are turning government into a false god.
“And that’s really what’s happening in this country,” she said, “is a violation of the First Commandment. We have become a country entrenched in idolatry, and that idolatry is the dependency upon our government. We’re supposed to depend upon God for our protection and our provision and for our daily bread, not for our government.”
It’s true! It’s true! Mea culpa, Sharron Angle! I, too, have turned the government into my own golden calf, a golden calf that shits out unemployment checks on a weekly basis.
Speaking of golden calves, here’s a musical take on the subject from the Band of Heathens, one of my Texas favorites:


I’m sorry. Totally derailed there, in spectacular fashion.
That was supposed to be an aside on the way to the Ernie Pyle Library. Instead it became an exercise in self-loathing disguised as self-righteousness.
I suppose I felt so low-down about wasting a Monday in Albuquerque that I found a convenient scapegoat for my failures in real estate kingpin Don McLeod. Next thing I know I’m taking gratuitous potshots at Sharron Angle, and just because a civic-minded guy like Don McLeod was generous enough to throw a little money her way, all the way from New Mexico. I’m sorry. I just spilled more than 700 words on a pointless digression. Perhaps it was all a subconscious effort to plug the Band of Heathens one more time.
Apologies to Mr. McLeod, Ms. Angle and to you, dear reader, if you’re out there.

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One Response to Albuquerque: McLeod Mountainside YMCA

  1. Arnold Lytle says:

    Don’t forget the Leaning Tower Y in your derailed summary. And I assure you that I remain your faithful reader. While we’re at it, Jennifer and I should have you, Becky and Max over to the house one of these days soon so we can hear more tales about your adventures in the Southwest, where we hope to go adventuring one day soon.

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