I’m standing in the cardio room at the community center on Saturday morning waiting for class to begin. I just dropped all three kids off at “kids club.” It’s the first Saturday I’ve actually made it to class. Weekdays are one thing, part of my routine. But Saturdays? Pffft…I’m usually a little slower, more relaxed, and in no hurry to get anywhere. Or we’re out of town. But my favorite instructor was teaching, so I went for it.
“Cardio Kick Boxing,” she announces. The room simultaneously filled with silence, groans, and hidden excitement. I’m thrilled and ready for the torturous hour that will test my strength and prove my weakness.
I get out my “There’s a Chance this is Vodka” water-bottle and place it on the window edge that overlooks the indoor pool and take my spot.
There’s a lady who looks at my water bottle and launches an attack, shrouded by my own mistaken assumption of polite small talk, “That’s exactly why all high school water bottles need to be approved,” she hisses like a cat, claws out, “I should know. I’m the school nurse and I approve the bottles.” My bottle and sense of humor apparently, did not get her endorsement, but I am amused by her candidacy, and kinda feel like I should stop by detention after class.
I nod and give her a confused half smile, take a sip from my unauthorized bottle, and walk to my spot in the room.
I notice my soft reflection in the glass. That’s enough for me. I can see my shape and form and correct as needed, and still see right through me.
The actual mirror is too damning. There is just too much glaring back for me to stand there. I honestly don’t need to see the sweat beads, red face, and overall “I’m working my ass off” appearance in hi-def. I’ll leave that area to the ladies who somehow don’t appear to break a sweat and maintain perfectly managed hair (and makeup?!?!?!) throughout the grueling workout. How does that even happen? (Seriously, if you are one of those ladies, please share your knowledge and secrets. Inquiring minds want to know…)
The music begins and with that, we are all in our rows pushing forward in place. I put on weighted gloves for an extra push and start jabbing. I take them off. The straps are too big and I envision one flying off my hand during a jab-cross sequence and shattering the window in front of me.
The sequences get faster and faster as the beats per minute increase. Step-hop-knee-jab-pause-uppercut. Step-hop-knee-jab-pause-uppercut…
The moves get more involved and more complex. Faster and faster and faster. I’m feeling awesome yet winded, coordinated yet confused.
And suddenly I’m back in middle school doing the Hora (grapevine), the running man, Kid-n-Play, the MC Hammer shuffle. I feel like Vanilla Ice: Will it ever stop?!?!?!?! (Yo, I don’t know.)
Now we’re doing sumo squats and hooks. I’m looking at a transparent me, flinging my arms across my chest while I attempt to sit on air. I can vaguely make out my ears protruding out of my head beneath my hat. I’m blowing out my cheeks as I blow out the air. I focus on the outlined reflection: my form, my (not so defined) muscles, my discolored face…and I realize that I am a gorilla.
I look ridiculous! But who cares? Even my pigtail braids are sweating! Keep going! Oooh-Oooh. Aaah-Aaah.
We switch to a new set. I can’t figure it out. The lady next to me can’t either. We look at each other, smile, and laugh in acknowledgement. It’s like we’re uncoordinated sole sisters for a few beats. We finally catch on for the tail end if the last set…I make a mental note to remember the move for next time and forget it by the time the next set begins…
We move into Karate Kid mode. I’m wax-oning, wax-offing, doing a modified crane roundhouse type thing while blocking and painting the fence. Chop! Chop! Chopping broccolay!
The instructor asks if we need a break. No reply means we keep going just one more short set before water. The school nurse is irate. I am amused.
Three minutes to go. Just the cool down and stretch…
I glance up to see the woman from kids club summoning me…and just like that, class is over for me before it ends and I disappear to tend to other doodies…