My city has a few gyms, and the closest one is a place about an hour and a quarter's walk away if you walk very fast. (Google says it's about 7.5 km.) I see it from the bus every time I go downtown. The buses aren't running regularly yet because of the blizzard last week, and I think it's silly to take a bus to save an hour's walk if your goal is to work out anyway. And the sidewalks where I live are all traversible if not clear. Plus it's been a long time since I've taken a yoga class.
I called them up this afternoon to ask them about rates and hours, and they said that they were open until 10:30. So I put on my walking shoes and headed out. The sidewalks were all not too bad in my part of town-- sometimes they were deep valleys cut into mountains of snow taller than me, sometimes they were that funny lumpy icy-snowy mix that you get when there was a couple of inches of snow left before it got trodden on and refrozen, often there was a completely clear path about a foot wide. I can't walk at my usual pace there, but I can walk.
About half an hour in, I hit a couple of patches of black ice, but again, a little black ice is OK if you walk carefully and you know to look for it. But I should have turned around as soon as I hit it, because from there on, the sidewalks got steadily worse and worse. There were still patches of clear, but there were also places where you had to either trudge through a foot of snow or walk in the street. There were a number of places where you had to walk in the street, because not only were the sidewalks completely unshovelled, they were blocked by five-foot-high snowbanks. There were places where it looked like the sidewalk was clear, but then the path disappeared after 60 feet or so, so you had to backtrack to get to the crosswalk to walk on the other side of the street. (This was a busy road; crossing it at dusk while wearing black was not an option.) By that point I kept up, because I knew I was so close, and I thought it would be so silly to get so close and then turn around. And if nothing else, the gym should have a place where I could wait for a taxi.
Finally, about two hours after setting off on what should've been a 1-hour walk, I arrived-- at an empty parking lot. The gym was closed. Nothing was lit up either. I called them again, but of course there was no answer. I could've sworn that the guy on the phone said that they were open until 10:30, and that weekdays they were upen until 12:30, and their day off was Thursday. I was absolutely positive of this. But it was absolutely, unquestionably closed.
I did remember, though, that there was a very good restaurant in that part of town. I went there with my coworkers a few months ago; it was the place where I had the first meat I had after quitting vegetarianism. It's just off the main street, so I would never have found it if I hadn't been there before, but I knew exactly where it was.
I was the only customer; the owner was watching a cooking show. He said that because of the snow, no one wanted to come out. He also said that at this time of year, almost none of the vegetables he normally grows are in season-- only bok choy from his fields and carrots from his friend's field. He said he had to buy the rest of the vegetables. Now, like any self-respecting white person, I go a little gooey when I hear that the farm where the vegetables come from is connected to the restaurant. I asked him how he cooks bok choy, and he mentioned boiled tofu. The dish is simply vegetables and tofu boiled in water until the vegetables are tender. Then you dip them in citron vinegar flavored with soy sauce, scallions, and grated daikon. So I just ordered that.
It was very good.
Then I took a cab back and swore I'd confirm the hours at least three times before trying for that gym again.