Saturday, March 9, 2013

Getting Picked Last for Zumba, and Other Groundless But Weirdly Specific Life Fears

You'll never guess what just happened to me.

My brand-new Saturday morning zumba class started today, and I was my usual cool competent bundle of hot mess, fretting about a class full of snooty fit hardbodies who would shun me, or a scary Hun teacher who'd mock me because I can't grab my own foot, or (new fear!) a lame teacher who would barely get my pulse above "mildly entertained," or a nasty clique who'd hog my preferred area on the dance floor, or or or.

But I mustered my wits and girded my loins and buffed my resolve and whatever else one does, and headed out into the bright blue snow-white morning that is New England in March. This class is held at the Episcopalian church, so after trying two doors and being wrong, I trudged down the sidewalk trying not to slip, fall, and break a hip before my first class, then heard two ladies chirp, "We're following you!" "Excellent," I said, "this will be my third door. I'm feeling good." Yep, third door was the charm; we entered the church basement, where another eight women were gathered, looking nervous and awkward, waiting for the class to start.

And I cheered right up; they are women of all sizes and ages and shapes, I will fit in perfectly, even if the instructor was a Hun.

The instructor, however, remained a mystery, because she still hadn't arrived.

We waited.

We waited.

I saw a boombox on a shelf in the corner and joked with the woman standing next to me that if there were any CDs, I could lead the class in a warm-up while we waited for the teacher. She said, "Oh, I bet they've got some great CDs," and I did a jazzy finger-snapping version of "Jesus Loves Me," and we laughed.

And we waited some more.

The program coordinator was there, nervously tapping on her cellphone, and at 10:45 she said, "Oh, man, I've got an e-mail from the teacher — her mother-in-law just died, like, an hour ago, she has to go home, she has to cancel class. Oh, dear!" And as we're all kind of sighing and saying, "Oh, well, these things happen, so sorry about mother-in-law," the program coordinator suddenly grabbed my arm, looked deeply into my eyes, and said, "Could you really do it? Would you?"

Uh....

I looked at the disappointed class, who, to a woman, had just perked up. They looked hopefully back at me. I said, ". . . sure? But we don't have music . . . and it's going to be totally half-assed . . ."

They leaped into action, quickly polling the various music-playing devices available — iPods, phones, etc. — but nothing was going to work. (If I'd had my wits about me, I could have retrieved a CD from my car in less than three minutes — however, my wits had taken a little vacay.) But then we noticed that the boombox had a radio, we quickly found KISS 108 and cranked the volume . . . and we were off!!

Here's the thing: I do know many of the Italian Spitfire's routines by heart (I did some in my basement just the other night), but my muscle memory is completely tied to the music. It was so hard to remember a single routine out of context! But one thing I know about zumba is: Just keep moving. It doesn't matter what you do, just do something. So — we did something! And the program coordinator made the brilliant suggestion of forming a circle and having each woman take turns doing a "move" in the middle that the rest of us would copy, and that ended up being so awesome. One woman did boxing moves. One taught us the cha-cha. One basically ran in a circle pumping her fists in the air, and we all did that and screamed "Wooooo!!!!!" It was hilarious and also incredibly bonding.

At the end, as we did our cool-down, I realized I was dripping with sweat and so was everyone else. It was off the cuff, it was totally half-assed, and yet I think we all got a good workout.

And oh, how they applauded at the end!!

I e-mailed the Italian Spitfire and Sexi Danci Nanci right away:
Two years ago, I could never have imagined feeling confident enough to do something physical in front of people. You two have completely changed my life!!!!!!
Nanci replied, "That was without a doubt the best e-mail I have ever received. So when are you going to get licensed to teach Zumba?" And the Spitfire said, "I can so see you doing it too. You look great — you're one of my sexiest Chicas!"

Love my girls!!

And now I must finish my chores, sigh. Such a comedown! But I'm still glowing, even as I vacuum.

—Lady C, happily starring in her own totally awesome so-called life

14 comments:

  1. Mr. Lady Chardonay (aka Husband)March 9, 2013 at 9:17 PM

    Even though I know the story, reading it straight from your beautiful hand... uh, keyboard... makes me smile all the more!! Oh, I just love you so very much and am so very proud of you (and also a little intimidated, but then I'm pretty much always like that)!!!

    Your very loving and very proud Husband

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    1. Thank you, my sweety! Soon you'll be doing Tai Chi and bragging to me about how you can maintain the East-Facing Teacup for a full 30 seconds! (OK, I made that up - I have no idea what people do in Tai Chi.) But I am proud of you too. xxxxx

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  2. This one made me tear up a bit. It's strange how certain experiences when we were young burn so deeply and how those memories can insert themselves into our confident adult selves and shake our foundations to their quivering core.

    My sister once told me of an experience she had at a workshop where participants were given a nametag and told to pin it on themselves. After a guiding exercise to recall their child selves, they were told to take off their nametags but this time pin them as if they were pinning them on themselves as a child. She told me of her revelation of how gentle she was with herself and how that experience caused her to recognize and nurture her inner child self.

    This reminds me of the (fake) Vonnegut ’98 commencement speech, “Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don't be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It's the greatest instrument you'll ever own.” For anyone who was inspired by this post, I say you put on a kick-ass song, turn up the volume and rock out, even if you are in your living room in your PJs.

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    1. Aww- you teared up for me! That is so sweet. And thank you for sharing you sister's wonderful story; I loved it, and it inspired my next blog post topic - stay tuned!

      Yay! for rocking out in your PJs! We all should, at least once a day. It's good for the soul!

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  3. Good Neighbor AnneMarch 10, 2013 at 6:29 PM

    CONGRATS!! I see a new goal for you on the horizon!! ;)

    This is no joke. You want to get in shape, you want to make your own schedule, you want to dance to the music YOU like, you want to have fun, you want to make money, you want to have no more excuses (so that your so-called "Good Neighbor" Anne will quit kicking you in the butt) ... Clearly, the stars are aligned for you to pursue the zumba license.

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    1. Wow, we all have such different reactions to this little vignette, don't we? I think you and I read the signs a bit differently here...but I will certainly consider this new career path. I'm not sure the world is clamoring for a 250-pound zumba instructor, but you would likely call that another one of my excuses. :)

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  4. So. Proud.
    XO,
    Mrs. Cynicletary

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  5. You should teach Zumba! You'd be ever-so-wonderful! I just know it!

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    1. Well, see, I *did* teach zumba! And I was only semi-wonderful. But I'm glad I did it.

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  6. Getting picked last brings back bad memories from my youth. When I got older and could joke about it, I'd claim that the team leader would say, "We'll take the blind kid if you take Cindy." So two weeks ago when my Guilty Pleasure Celebrity Apprentice started, that awful The Donald Trump made Trace Adkins and Bret Michaels pick teams and it made me grit my teeth until it was over. Dennis Rodman was the last one picked which I guess was a first for him, but it still pained me. :) I tried Zumba, but the instructor was too serious and the class too crowded so I quit going. I would SO GO if you were the instructor!

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    1. If we're ever both at a B-T Convention together again, I will teach a zumba class and reserve a spot for you in the front row. (It will be Betsy-Tacy Zumba, of course; we will reeeeach for rosy apple blossoms, then bennnnnd to scoop a cup of cocoa from the pail, then we'll schottische for a bit -- it will definitely get our hearts going!)

      "We'll take the blind kid if you take Cindy" is the most wonderfully awful sentence ever. Good for you for finding the humor. What else can you do?!

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  7. I would SO love Betsy-Tacy Zumba, esp taught by you! Good for you on subbing that class. I've got to look into other Zumba options around here... My YW has had a hard time keeping teachers, sigh.

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    1. We'll do it for sure at the next Convention! (I plan to just hit the high points.)

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