Today I am grateful for Zumba. It’s 24 degrees in Pennsylvania today. 24. Are you kidding me? Over my swimsuit, I bundled up in sweatpants, hoodie, boots, jacket, scarf, gloves. When I get out of the pool I’m freezing so I’m prepared.

The pool was closed! Something about a pump or whatever, but closed is closed. Now what? Go home? Yeah, but I dragged my lazy butt here so it seems dumb to just give up. Monitor and adjust. Go sit with the other poolies who are having coffee. I don’t want coffee, I want the pool. Then one came in and said, “I’m not doing the pool today anyway, I’m doing Zumba! And off she trotted. “I’m going to do Zumba, too!” I said and lumbered down the hall after her. But I’m wearing sweats and a hoodie and boots, although they are slippery bottomed ones, they’re still boots. And I have a swim suit on, which means no real bra. Warning! Will they let me in with boots? Worse, will they let me in without a bra? I didn’t ask.

How bad can it be? I can dance. I found a spot way on the side where I probably wouldn’t injure anyone. Probably. I had a least 100 pounds on every person, 200 on some. One weighed 52 pounds, I swear. Maybe two were around my age. I asked the woman behind me if the class was a half an hour? “Nope,” she said. “We go for around 50 minutes.” Fifty minutes? Maybe I’ll make it twenty before I die from not-enough-exposure, in these sweats and boots.

The Asian Twiggy instructor started the music and we were off. AAARRRREEEEBBBAAAHH! I kept up pretty good with the first song, still wearing the hoodie. During the second song I started to sweat. By the third song I was “breathing” heavily. By the fourth I was ripping my hoodie off and flailing it across the room. I was gasping for air like a beagle on a treadmill with a dangling rabbit carcass in front of him.

The music was fast and the songs were long! Four-years-long! I hadn’t brought water because I have enough water in the pool. This wasn’t the pool, where I feel light and airy. I was a load in sweats. I was dying. How long has it been? 15 minutes! Good, I’ll leave in five minutes. But then the song was great and the idiotic, loud-mouthed dancer in my soul kept nagging me about how much fun this was. Bitch! I was finding my groove. I was moving pretty good. The boots slid well. I was hot but felt like I was also looking good. In my feeble, heart-pounding, sweatin’ like I stole something mine, I was movin’ like I was dancing with Derek on Dancing with the Stars. Groovy, man!

Then we did a full body turn to the left and I caught a look at myself in the full-length, no-one-mercifully-blocking-my-view mirror. Mirrors? Really? How cruel! Why mirrors? What man hung those suckers up? Images of “Fantasia” flew through my feverish brain. All I needed was a Tu-Tu and I could join the kick-line of the dancing hippos. I burst out laughing. Seriously. Sometimes my creative mind causes me trouble. A sane person would have cried. But I can’t cry at these moments because they are just too funny!

Bounce, bounce, hop, hop, step-ball-change, slide, slide, shake-shake-shake, shimmy-shimmy. Remember, these boobs can’t be controlled inside the pool, outside they have no clue how to stop and I had ‘em going. I think I bruised my chin. Oh my. I hope I didn’t hurt someone else. The sweats, belly, boots with the swim suit top were a stunning combination. Add fast movement. Stunning. I looked like a lava-lamp on steroids. I would have ripped the sweats and boots off, but the thought of my thighs visible to ME in the mirror was terrifying. That’s why I do water exercises. The heavenly water allows only my most acceptable parts to be exposed. What flops around and happens under the water. . .stays under the water.

Hop turn, slide slide, bounce bounce, arms up, wave, wave. Really? My upper arms were flapping in pre-take-off distress. When we spun one way, parts of me were still spinning the other way. It was not pretty. I had all I could do to stay standing. I was so “hot” I thought exploding like an overheated pressure cooker would be a relief. I’d have ripped off my spiky hair, if I had the strength to reach it.

“That was one of our fastest ones,” the kind saint behind me said. “You’re doing great. Is this your first time? It sure doesn’t look like it.” I would have answered her but I was praying for the ceiling to open up like on a plane and hook me up to oxygen. “Put the mask on yourself first. . .” More music. And we’re off! Holy crap, isn’t there a minute to catch a breath? I was sucking air like a respirator having a power surge.

I made it the full 50 minutes. I have no clue how. Maybe one gasp at a time really is good enough sometimes. When it was all over, I threw my hands over my head in touchdown stance and yelled, “I LIVED!” Then snatched my hoody and hooked myself up to the water cooler that I didn’t know existed outside of the room. Twenty minutes later, when I was done with my oral IV and I had taken on more water than the Titanic, I saw a few people from my cancelled water class.

“What class are you waiting for?” I gasped, head spinning to a Latin beat.
“Oh we do the Zumba Gold.”
“Zumba Old? That’s what I should have done! Old I could have done!” My ears were still ringing.
“No, Gold, GOLD, not old!” they laughed. “It’s slower music and not quite as intense as regular Zumba.”
What a concept. Maybe I’ll go to that class sometime. But first I’m hanging a shroud on that damned mirror!

Twenty-four degrees and I drove home with the windows open. All of them. Love to chat more, but I gotta go and have my husband pour a pail of Advil down my throat. I’d do it myself but I’m too blasted grateful for Zumba to lift my arms.

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