Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Mermaids of Happy Valley


My inner thighs are killing me from…wait for it…water aerobics (though they now try to get all fancy & call it “Hydro Aerobics” --- pffffft!)   Yes, that’s right, I’ve been getting down with all the grammas in the pool.   I bet you thought I’d try to spin it and mention the 5 other ladies in the class who don’t qualify for the Senior Discount, but I’m not going to go there.   I’m calling it like it is because those 5 others in my approximate age group are flakey and don’t always show up anyway.  And when we are all in the pool we don’t really make eye contact, let alone talk.  We’re are there to work out, dammit!  We are there because 9 AM Spin class was booked and we need to burn last night’s carbs.  Or maybe we are slightly embarrassed so we avoid, avoid, avoid.  Maybe a bit of both. 

So, why H2O Aerobics?  The long story has something to do with a twisted ankle on the tennis court & a really hot morning in June when I intended to swim laps and then realized that laps are tedious business.  If I have to think about exercising while I'm exercising because that I'm not being distracted enough, then I'm going to quit early & call it a day.  The PAC has a spa, a boutique, and a café with free wifi and coffee, so I wouldn’t be the first person to fitter away my get fit-time .  The short story is that I tried it because I was already wet.  

You know how when are in Zumba amongst dancers with skinny arms, grace, and natural rhythm,  you feel like an inebriated troll in frumpy capris & clown shoes?  It's a drag.  In contrast, when you take a class in the pool where your unsightly bits are underwater and you are the youngest and possibly the most athletic of the lot, you feel fanfuckingtastic.  I’m no scientist, but I’ve got to say having a cocky attitude burns more fat.  

Being a star mermaid in Water Aerobics class comes with a little bit of baggage.  Like the old ladies who stare me down because I use the Conquistador hat-looking water resistant basket/claw things even before the instructor calls for them.  Or the forever horrific mental image of an obese 70 year old’s nip slip out the bottom of her one-piece as she hoists herself onto a floatation device.  But I deal because these classes have been doing some serious toning.  Viva la water resistance!     

A secondary benefit is the eavesdropping, because quite honestly those old ladies are treading their mouths more than anything else. They opine on and on in a liquid living room while wearing ginormous chlorine-stained floppy hats and oversized designer sunglasses.   Out of their shadowed mouths comes: bitch, brag, moan, blah, blah, blah.   Our instructor doesn’t give a shit because she’s getting paid for the hour, not by the calorie burned.  Half the time she teaches from OUTSIDE the pool.  Esther (an old lady, if the name didn’t give it away) was kvetching on about her son’s wedding last weekend so loudly that our instructor had to get into the water so we could hear her.  She was PISSED.  

Oh, btw – I’m just making up names more or less because it’s not like I actually know any of their real names, even though we’ve shared our watery workout space for nearly 4 months.  They’ve probably told me, this is my fault.  I’ve given them all nicknames anyway.  It’s easier that way.  
The make up of the class is primarily retired teachers, a semi-retired librarian, and a handful of women avoiding their retired husbands.   They all go to happy hour together and once a month take in a play downtown.   After class they sit together on the lounge chairs, trading books & waiting for the lunch time waiter service to start so they can order a glass of wine.   Truthfully, this is a pretty good set up and when I learn to be so bitter with life that I actually revel in the sour complaints of others too, I’m ready to join that social circle. 

Not everyone is welcome though.  The ancient mermaid clique shuns the sleeker watercizers.   They never try to pull the tall Asian lady with the huge fake boobies who wears the widest brimmed hat in the class into conversation.  But I think the biggest social snubs are saved for Susan.  She’s in her early 60’s with extensive plastic surgery so she looks about 70 trying to pass for 40.  Her body is smoking hot and for that I’m jealous, but the lips and the permanent appearance of wax, wind, shock and surprise is breathtaking, in the bad way.   I know all about Susan because last class during our cool down stretching the conversation turned to boob jobs.  Susan listed all her work (well, maybe not all of it, does anyone ever truly offer it all up) and compared doctors with Ellen, a woman in her later 50’s who has had 4 body lifts and 2 face lifts because she lost so much weight after gastric bypass that she turned into a Shar Pei.  She’s since gained a lot of the weight back and wants another face lift.  It’s surreal to discuss this in the pool with strangers who will pull and grab at their body parts as they describe what should be corrected next.  Now that I think about it, I’m starting to understand why these gals aren’t getting invited on theatre field trips.

And so, friends, that’s what happens in the pool during water aerobics.  I do lots of thigh work and get freaked knowing I will probably age into one of these women in the pool.  

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