Every Tuesday night, my hubby has a group meeting at school to work on his Senior Design project with his group members and he doesn't get home until later in the evening. This means that Tuesday nights are mine, all mine, to do with whatever I so well please.
Typically, this includes an hour-long trip to wander the aisles of Target (and shamelessly throw money at frivolous things like throw pillows... oopsies), followed by a supper of (what else?) noodles with butter -- easily one of my most favorite foods of all time. I used to eat it practically every night when I moved off campus and lived in an apartment with some friends my sophomore year of college. Mmm, I love it.
Anyway, before my jaunt through Tarjay and five-star meal, I usually go to my gym and use the elliptical machine for 25 minutes (why 25? Easy. Because after your set time, you have five minutes of cool down. So why would I want to work out for 35 minutes? Thirty minutes (25 + 5 minutes of cool down) is more than enough). Oftentimes you'll find me zoned out on some trashy MTV show because they have cable there, my friends -- a luxury which we do not have in our apartment.
I'm a teacher, remember? That means I'm too poor to have cable.
Anyhow, I'm always enjoying my trashy MTV when I'm rudely interrupted by some bass thumping that shakes the building and distracts me from some quality Teen Mom time. And you know what the culprit is?
Have you ever been?
I was a pretty good follower a couple of summers ago when it came to my hometown's YMCA for the first time. It was ridiculously fun but made me sweat like a man pig (no offense, men). I heard the feeling you have when you leave class, dripping with sweat and feeling like you're going to die, described once as feeling like a hot flash during menopause.
Now, I have no idea if that's true. But if it is, please count me out of menopause. Eeeew. I hate sweating.
Anyway, if you haven't been, Zumba is a group exercise class that's basically dancing to Latin music to get your cardio in and even some toning. It is all - the - rage at my gym. Seriously. Some nights, the lobby is jam packed with middle-to-later-age women wearing jingle bell bracelets and colorful wraps tied snugly over their behinds with little gold jingly coins tied all the way around them. Think Esmerelda from that Quasimodo movie (what was that called again? I forget. Apparently not one of Disney's finest).
So here I am, Tuesday night, made my place comfortably on my elliptical trainer, ready for some good quality Gary and Amber watching (will they get their lazy butts up off their bed in this episode? And even better: will their bed finally have sheets on it? Doubtful. I don't know why I get my hopes up), when a Tuesday night Zumba regular comes over to invite me in to "the party".
They seriously used those words.
I almost laughed.
In fact, I think I might have.
But I promise that's as rude as I get, because I'm a sucker and can't say "no" to save my life (I was apparently absent the day they practiced the broken record strategy in D.A.R.E.), so I made my way into the room and felt oddly out of place without a bright pink scarf wrapped around my bootie. Regardless, I was welcomed with open arms and away we went.
Luckily, as mentioned earlier, I'd been a Zumba junkie for a few months awhile back, so I pretty easily picked up on the steps again. But I also quickly remembered how hard it is to keep a straight face during class.
Now, by no means am I a fantastic dancer. I cannot shimmy or bootie shake to save my life (which, by the way, so totally fine by me. I mean, when would that skill come in handy, anyway? While I'm teaching fractions at the whiteboard with my backside to my students? Doubtful. So creepy). And in fact, more often than not in Zumba, I look like a complete idiot. I know this. It's a fact of life for me. Which is why I just keep my feet moving and don't bother with getting too fancy with all the hip thrusting and "booty poppin'" (yeah, my booty doesn't "pop"... whatever that means).
However, there was a woman in front of me who was all in. Except she looked just about as wholesome as you could get. I mean, like, Sunday School teacher by day, cover your children's eyes by night. Her dancing was definitely PG-13. It was hilarious! Here we are, a bunch of white, upper-middle class women, who are about as far from sexy Latina as possible, and this woman is totally shaking her rear and smiling at her reflection in the mirror like she's Beyonce. She was just loving life.
Which isn't a bad thing. Granted, I did let some giggles sneak out here and there about it, but as I thought about it more, I realized it's probably an outlet for some women to just let loose and not worry about other people watching you.
Except me, I guess. Whoopsies.
But I'm sure I had someone loving on my uncoordinated moves. Good thing my club has a "no boys allowed" sign on the door.
And next time (yes, I said next time. I'm going back to join "the party"... HA!), she won't make me giggle. Because maybe next time, she'll become an inspiration. And slowly over time, I, too, will begin to channel my inner Beyonce, conquer that bootie shake (highly unlikely) and sport a jingle bell bracelet on my right wrist.
Succumbing to wearing a jingly scarf over my bootie will take a bit longer, though.