I just didn't see it coming. Toni talked me into taking an exercise class called "Hi-Low" at the gym. An hour long class. Now, I should have seen the handwriting on the wall when the nice woman behind the desk greeted me with---"it just hit me who you look like!" "Who?" I asked, thinking she'd say Meg Ryan or maybe Marie Osmond. "Remember that older...um...the cute one....the secretary on L.A. Law? Her. She was so sweet..." she stumbled through. I'm pretty sure that as soon as she said it, she wished she hadn't. "Oh yes..." I responded, trying to look okay about it. "Off to my Hi-Low class...." I casually said---all non-chalant-like. Yes, I always go to Hi-Low. Don't you? I'll bet that older--cute secretary from L.A. Law never went to "Hi-Low" I thought to myself as I cheerfully placed my membership card on the counter. No, I'll bet she never did, I mused as I walked past the swimming pool where a group of women were taking a water aerobics class. That secretary from L.A. Law probably had to take a water aerobics class, I convinced myself. Not "Hi-Low". Definitely not.
Anyway, Toni and I had a few minutes to kill before class. So, she suggested we do some machines. I would have much preferred to sit down and read a magazine or something. But, I agreed. She pointed out a few that she thought would be "easy" for me and then left me to my misery. When it was time to go, I found myself on some torturous leg machine that I could not for the life of me figure out how to get off of. So, I called out to Toni. She stopped and turned around. Naturally, I did not want to yell over to her that I was stuck on a machine. So, I motioned her over as if I had a big secret to tell her. She gladly came over. Then, I whispered to her "I can't get off of this...". I'm not sure if this is when she had her first moment of regret for taking this Hi-Low class with me or if it was when the entire class was going to the left and I was going to the right. But, from the look on her face at that moment, I am pretty sure I could hear the words that were forming in her brain....."this going to be a long night."
Now, first let me tell you---I am a pretty good group person. I have never had any fear of being in a group. Whether it's a self-help group, a study group, a group of strangers having lunch or even a meeting---I do just fine. In fact, after a little while, I somehow manage to become the leader of the group. Or, if not the leader, the most vocal. So, I really had no fear of walking into this Hi-Low class. In fact, I was pretty sure I'd be taking over in a relatively short period of time. Well....not the exercising. I didn't think I'd be taking over that. I just figured I'd be taking over the conversations. Leading the discussions and such. Did I somehow forget this was an exercise class? I'm not sure. But, one look around the room and I realized that I was out of my element. And, when the music started....I was positive that my brain power, my cute little work out outfit and my spiffy athletic shoes were not going to save me. I was on my own. With a mirror and everything. Oh yes....I could not only see me....in my pink t-shirt with the word "FABULOUS" across my chest....but I could also see everyone else. And, it was not a pretty sight. Oh, everyone else looked just fine. It was me....I was the problem. I'm still not sure if it could be categorized as comical or pathetic. It certainly was not one of my prouder moments. Every nugget of my being was flopping up and down. It appeared that no one else's did. The instructor said "Double Jack" and everyone knew what to do. And, it wasn't a double shot of Jack Daniels. She said left. I went right. She said kick back---I ran over to the wall to hold on so I didn't fall. And, so it went. Thankfully, Toni was tolerant. And, she even smiled at me a few times. Or, maybe it was laughter. Or, perhaps pity. I'm not sure. But, when I leaned over to her and said "I'm only going to do a half hour", she looked both relieved and sympathetic. "It's not that important to follow everyone exactly. It's just good that you are moving," she kindly told me in between her huffs and puffs. She was trying to be encouraging. Thank God, I raised that girl right. But, I wanted out. An hour of Hi-Low just wasn't my thing. I danced my way over to the door and sneaked out the door. I didn't even last the full half hour. Twenty-five minutes. I'm pretty sure no one noticed me escaping . They all seemed to be in some "Hi-Low" trance or something. When I finally got outside and regained my ability to stand, I decided to peek through the windows and watch the class go on without me. Everyone was so intense. Sweating. So in sync. Everyone's arms went up at the same time. They went down at the same time. Their legs went in unison. All I heard was the thumping music and the instructor's amplified voice " right....left.....kick....side....". My legs began to ache. So, I hobbled over to a bench outside of the swimming pool windows. And, there they were.....the water aerobics women. Their arms were going up and down---at their own pace, in a random fashion. They were smiling and laughing and talking. A few of them had strands of grey hair. A few of them had jigglely arms. They looked friendly and happy. They looked like me.
I just didn't see that coming. I went to a Hi-Low class.