I’ve been trying to get rid of a few pesky pounds that will just not leave this body. I walk, I bike, but I figured I needed some heavy-duty cardio, so I signed up for an aerobics dance class. I walked into my first class confident, but then, again, it was an entire class of low impact, so what’s to be scared of? Piece of cake I thought afterwards – let’s go onto something a bit more challenging. Famous last words. The second class was very “Mama Bear” kind of just right comfortable. Felt great – no problem. Let’s just stick with this, I think. But then on a whim I felt like going the other day and went to a random class in the afternoon. Big mistake…
As I explain this scenario, try to picture me as Ben Stiller doing the salsa dancing scene in Along Came Polly and my aerobics teacher as the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Why Ben Stiller? Have you seen Along Came Polly – the scene where uncoordinated Ben tries to impress his new girlfriend by learning salsa dancing? This is not unlike what I look like in this class. You have to rent the movie to get the full effect, but this is a snippet. (Press back key after video to continue reading):
Moving on, Dragon Girl greets me at the door with a bright smile and warm hello. Her eyes are as jet black as her hair. Who is this, I think. This girl with the tattoo-covered body and piercings? Then she goes up on the stage and somehow I sense that something is going to go awry. Uh oh…well, she seems nice enough. I try to warm up on my own with my ever so cool yoga downward facing dog, and I know people are probably wondering why I’m doing a yoga stretch in aerobics class. Doesn’t matter. Works for me.
Dragon Girl turns the music up to a full blast. Wait, I think, this is just a warm up. Shouldn’t we start with something softer? “OK,” Dragon Girl shouts, “LET’S DO IT!” The warm up is fast and a little on the furious side, and the music is kind of dark. Stretch left, stretch right, again, dip, over, left, right. This is just the warm up?! Suddenly we’re inching our way into the more difficult routines. The music is thumping and pumping. I’m off flying here, tapping there, sashaying to the left, turning, grapevining to the right, pointing up, down, back, forth. I’m getting dizzy. My head is whirling.
The next few songs play as the routines are revved up. I have a stitch in my side. I think how embarrassing it would be to go into cardiac arrest in front of everyone. The pace picks up even more. My hip is popping in and out. KEEP MOVING! She screams. I look up and swear I see the eyes of Clint Eastwood in “Heartbreak Ridge” screaming at his troops. I stop to get a drink. KEEP THOSE FEET MOVING! I DON’T WANT TO HAVE TO PERFORM CPR! I start shuffling my feet in place while I down a gulp of water and sashay back to my spot. I’m going to need ibuprophen tonight. I just know it.
I feel like the DRAGON GIRL is watching my every move because she shouts corrections, and her eyes seem to be always on me. I try to get out of her field of vision by moving sideways but bump into the woman next to me who gives me a dirty look, and I am forced back. I stand directly behind the girl in front of me, but she’s moving so fast, I can’t keep up. I go in the opposite direction of everyone else with the opposite foot and fall short of causing a three-girl crash and pile up. People seem to be avoiding me. KICK TO THE LEFT! KICK TO THE RIGHT! HIGHER! I wasn’t aware that kick boxing was going to be part of the program. Damn, there goes my hip again. Oh no, I think I have to pee…kegel one, kegel two…I can hold this, I know I can.
She demonstrates a low impact version (probably for me since I’m convinced I look like a buffoon), which I mimic only to have her say NOT LIKE THAT! She mimics a whimsical spaghetti-like dance with arms and legs flowing, which resembles Jerry Lewis in the Patsy. I step it up again to a fast speed, because I feel she is just daring me to do low impact. Her eyes are burning a whole in the back of my head.
GET YOUR MATS AND WEIGHTS! Oh, finally a slow down, I think. But no. We do a routine hoisting five lb. weights until I’m sure my limbs will break off. FOUR, THREE, TWO, ONE. NOW LET’S DO IT ON THE OTHER SIDE! My muscles ache. DOWN ON THE FLOOR. LEGS UP; LEGS DOWN; ROLL ON YOUR SIDE. NOW THE OTHER SIDE. This can’t be the cool down. CROSS YOUR LEGS AND JUMP UP! This I cannot do. I roll to my side and lift myself up like I used to do after giving birth by C-section when I had no stomach muscles. I’m hoping nobody’s watching, but I see the dark eyes narrowing. I get distracted by the tattoo in the middle of her chest. It looks like a sunburst. What is that on her ankle? This one moment of tattoo distraction causes a total mix up for me. I’m just about ready to surrender, and it’s over. THANKS, EVERYBODY! Dragon Girl shouts. YOU WERE TOTALLY AWESOME!!! I smile.
Although I’m shell shocked, I feel stronger. I’m actually feeling proud of myself just for surviving. The next morning I wake up with only a little tightness and a touch of lower back discomfort, which surprises me considering I was expecting a paralytic state. In my own demented mind, I find myself looking forward to the next class with DRAGON GIRL. She was awesome, too! Better practice those sashays…