I saw the sign, several times. And I thought about going but, honestly, I am the stereotypical lazy American. I may have thought about going, but that's truly the most effort I had made to stopping my couch-potoato-itis. Or to be more exact, comfy-computer-chair-itis.
But then, I got the call. You know the one. One of my girlfriends. "Girl, I can't believe how much weight I've put on. I've got to do something about this."
Now mind you she's smaller than me and always has been. Where she could reasonably be called "thick" I passed the line into just plain "fat" ages ago. I know that may seem exceedingly hard on myself (omg, is TDG developing self-esteem issues?) where the word "fat" is only a few degrees removed from words like "terrorist" or "unemployed". Just know that I call myself "fat" yearning back to a gentler time where being fat was not a crime against humanity, but merely a descriptive word that was not meant in an unkindly way.
She was fairly frantic and a bit depressed. I've been there so I could more than sympathize. She's talked me through many a moment like this. Over partners and children and parents and jobs - our troubles thoroughly hashed over as girlfriends do. Sometimes a listening ear is all that is needed, but I felt this needed more. A call to action of sorts.
Of course, when she called, I was sitting at the computer, happily munching honey barbeque potato chips and sipping a bottle of water. And quicker than you can say "Google" I'd found a website declaring that there were 48 Zumba clases within a 5 mile radius of where I live.
So I'd seen the sign. And as it turned out, she had too. She travels the same stretch of road, and the conversation went like this.
"I saw this sign for one of the classes."
"Yeah, I've been seeing one too. "
It was only a matter of time before we realized we'd been seeing the same sign. And the class we'd both been seeing was listed on the website I found. Hmmmm....
Now mind you, even as we were searching and planning, I never really thought we'd end up going to the class. As outgoing as I may be in political and most social arenas, the thought of going to an aerobics class set me up for an echo of the remembered mental anguish of junior high gym class.
Yet, I had a sinking feeling that this was one time I was going to end up shaking my ample booty in a room full of strangers. Somehow, this would be the one time that didn't end up with making an excuse or coming up with a sudden emergency, although even in the back of my mind, I was already coming up with strategies to get out of going.
But my friendship loyalty won out.
"You're not gonna back out on me are you? Promise?"
I could only pray that there would be a big enough crowd to hide my just barely on rhythm machinations and hope that I wouldn't pass out. The last time I excercised on purpose had to be sometime in the mid 1990's. And I'd never attempted anything so ambitious as a group aerobics class.
But the day came and I found myself, unable to think of an excuse not to and really didn't want to. Not only had I promised, but maybe, just maybe, this might be one of those "first day of the rest of my life" kind of experiences". Maybe, just maybe, I wanted to go and do something - I've accepted and rather like being a big woman - I have no desire to be what American's call thin. Because even I've noticed that some of the "gains" I've made recently are maybe just a bit wearing and maybe, just maybe, I can stave off the shift from "fat" to "rotund" with just a tad bit of effort.
I strapped on the only pair of Reeboks I've ever owned, threw on the only the pair of stretch pants I own that could be remotely considered excercise wear and a t-shirt that, only later would I learn, was far to heavy for this first work out.
If they had put up signs, we couldn't have spred ourselves out more judiciously but there was no need. Just walking in the room, it was easy to tell, where one belonged. The experienced and exuberant took their places up front and in the middle of the large room, spread out at intervals. The newbies that were ready for a challenge took their places in the rear to the left. They may have been new to this particular class, but they certainly weren't new to the idea of it all. The truly new, rhythmless and various older folks staked out their spots in the middle but firmly to the rear, near the few chairs. The right and rear was definitively Fat Chicks corner, newbie or no. These would be my comrades who would tire and modify all dance moves to the level we could perform, no shame, no questions asked. We would drink more water, hug the fans as if they were lifelines and tip out early when we simply had nothing left.
But it was fun, this Zumba experience. And next week will find me back in Fat Chicks corner, eyeing my bottle of water, waiting for the end of the dance, and maybe just enjoying the motion and music. I may even last the entire hour. For now, my record is 45 minutes with several generous breaks.
Maybe, just maybe, it was the first day of the rest of my life.