Seven years ago when Cory and I were trying to figure out how to celebrate our birthdays (which are only 4 days apart) I had a brilliant idea. [Memo to new readers: anytime I say I had a brilliant anything is probably foreshadowing to the contrary.] There was a restaurant/club downtown where they had a salsa instructor who would come out and teach everyone salsa dancing after dinner. I thought it sounded fun and interesting and much better than a run of the mill gift exchange. In hindsight, I probably would have preferred a pair of earrings. At any rate, we invited several friends to join us and prepared for a fun night. And when I say “prepared”, what I mean is that I, a 5’ 10”, and at the time a five-month pregnant woman went shopping for something to wear.
The only criteria I was trying to meet in my search was simply something NOT LAME. I was pregnant for heaven’s sakes and I was about to go salsa dancing. I didn’t need to look like Jennifer Lopez I just didn’t want to look like a complete idiot. In the end I wore maternity khakis, a sweater vest and I’m pretty sure there was a bow in my hair - I felt SO out of place. I was like Rosie O’Donnell at the Republican Convention. Surrounded by tiny women with skimpy black dresses and hips that could mix a James Bond drink on their own, I apologized to my friends and promised I would never make them do that again.
Which is why I’m trying to figure out how I ended up in a salsa class today. It’s November in Colorado, which pretty much means that exercising in the outdoors is on hold for a while. So lately I have resumed the use of my gym membership and have been religiously utilizing their treadmills and cross-trainers. But when I got to the gym today I didn’t feel like jumping on the treadmill, so I went to see what classes were going on. According to the schedule I was only ten minutes away from being able to do a class called “Cowboy Boogie” followed by, you guessed it, “Salsa”.
Can I just say something here? Whatever happened to step aerobics? I can do step aerobics. I did it for ten years and it worked for me. But those classes don’t exist anymore and I am forced to endure thirty minutes of instruction from a perky former cheerleader wearing a cowboy hat who is telling me to “pony up”.
Then came the salsa, and the humiliation of ’99 came flashing back to me. Perky former cheerleader girl was now wearing a black, flashy sarong and was telling me to shimmy. “If you don’t have anything to shimmy,” she said, “then you shouldn’t be in my class!!” Apparently, I really belonged there. I felt like a puppet under the control of an epileptic in mid-seizure. Honestly.
I was ridiculous, but I still give myself kudos for trying something new. I will give myself even more credit for knowing when to stop. I am no better at the salsa now than I was back then. Seven years ago I tried to spice up our birthdays. Today I tried to spice up my workout. Today I also decided that sometimes boring is good, and tomorrow I will get back on the treadmill.