I also don't do aerobics classes. In fact, I have never done aerobics classes, even when I could have bought those cool leg warmers to wear to them. I don't have much in the way of aerobic capacity, and I don't spend much time developing it. When we first moved to Marin I went to a jazzercise class. At the end, the teacher asked if I would stand in the back of the class if I came again; I was so far off the movements that I was confusing the people behind me. I never went back.
All this is prelude to "How I Spent My Sunday Morning" this week. Smiling Shannon and Miss Barbados have been encouraging me to join them each week for a workout which leaves them drenched in sweat and filled with joy. The room is packed and the energy is high and they promised that I wouldn't be embarrassed because nobody was really looking at anyone else.
"Oh, like in yoga - it's my practise?"
"No, more like you're trying to keep up and breathe."So, when the morning-sun-warmed-air beckoned me to do a tiny bit of gardening, I indulged myself in some random digging and clipping and watering in the name of all of you who are freezing and wearing parkas and I delayed going to the gym until class-time. The boys were just stirring as I was leaving. Laundry was humming. NFL RedZone was beginning to pulsate on the television.
I went to Zumba. And neither Smiling Shannon nor Miss Barbados were there. I wasn't the oldest person in the room, but it was close. The child standing between my body and the mirror was wearing a Santa hat. I couldn't imagine that I would need to cover my head; being cold was the last thing that worried me. A cursory glance at the other participants revealed only one familiar face, and she was engaged in a lively conversation at the other end of the room. I was alone and I was going to dance.
Musette, our teacher, has wild black hair and hips which seem to be connected to her waist and thighs with bungee cords. I've never seen anyone's upper and lower legs move in so many different directions at the same time, and that is before I figured in what her feet were doing. Through it all, her arms were moving in counterpoint, further confusing the issue. She was loudly and startling surprised to find that three of us had shown up the week before Christmas to try something new, she told us that there wasn't a lot of instruction, and then she turned on the music and began to move.
Squats and lunges are familiar, so the first thirty seconds of the warm-up was well within my comfort zone. After that, all bets were off. I managed to turn in the correct direction almost all of the time. I'll give myself credit for that much. Beyond that, I couldn't do the pony when I was in 6th grade, and I've not gotten any better at it over the intervening decades. And that was just the first move. There were ball changes and samba steps and a few other contortions that were well beyond what my feet and I were managing to stamp out. But we were moving around, and shaking our tootsie rolls and I couldn't believe how much fun I was having.
The songs are 3 or 4 minutes long and there's enough of a space in between to wipe your face and grab a drink. Two liters was just enough to keep me hydrated, but next time I'm bringing an extra towel. We were jumping - I can't remember the last time I jumped - and we were swinging our hips and thrusting our arms and mostly I was focused on Musette's feet.... and trying not to crash into the girl in the pink top who was dancing next to me. I was never out of breath, but then, again, I'm not sure that I was working at 100%. A good deal of energy was going into keeping track of what I was supposed to be doing.
At the end of the hour, we cooled down with a belly dance. Please do not try to imagine me during this phase. It was not pretty. But the slower music and more languid movements gave me a chance to notice the other participants. There was 50-something Chinese gentleman in the back row; the only bit of testosterone in the room. There were the young moms and the UofA coeds and the women-of-a-certain-age, who come in all shapes and sizes and colors and who surrounded me after the music stopped.
"Did you like it?" "Isn't she wonderful?" "Can you believe how sweaty we are?"And, best of all,
"Will you come back?"Aerobic capacity is something which can be improved. Fun is something that should always be sought. Yes, ladies, I'll see you next Sunday and the Sundays after that. Apparently, it doesn't matter that I can't dance. I can Zumba......... and that's just fine.