N.B.: This is my second post today. See, I can be a man of my word.
My body is in mortal agony. This is not, as one might hope, from the ecstasies of physical love, but from exercise. In my determination to be a flyer come hell or high water, I went to a gymnastics class at Chelsea Piers on Wednesday, another on Thursday, and a dance class at the Broadway Dance Center yesterday. At first I was terrified that my legs were going to be in screaming pain forever, but now it’s clear that they’re going to fall off, so I won’t have to worry about it.
The Chelsea Piers web site lists several different gymnastics classes: Beginner, Beginner/Intermediate, Intermediate, Advanced, and Elite. Since the Beginner/Intermediate class claims to teach students rolls, cartwheels, round-offs, and handsprings, all of which I remember how to do from summer camp at the Jewish Community Center when I was six, I figured that the Intermediate Class was the way to go.
(A tangent here: at JCC summer camp, we each signed up for two activities of the twenty or so that were offered. I, nascent homosexual that I was, signed up for Flower Arranging and Needlepoint. I was not permitted to take either one of these activities. So I ended up in Gymnastics and something else that escapes me at the moment. I suppose I’m glad now, given that I can still do rolls, cartwheels, round-offs, and handsprings, but at the time I was extraordinarily bitter.)
Unfortunately, when I showed up for the gymnastics class I realized that there had been a misprint on the Chelsea Piers web site and that “Intermediate Class” should actually have read “Olympic-Level Gymnasts Who Will Scare the Shit Out of You Class.” There were two teachers: the main one and one who said, “If anybody needs any help, I’m in this lane.” After about three seconds, he came over to me and my cheerleader friend who’d come with me and said, “Why don’t the three of us work together over here?”
I felt as if I had shown up to summer camp wearing all my clothes backwards thinking it was Backwards Day, when actually Backwards Day had been scheduled for the following week, but then one of the counselors put all his clothes on backwards and said, “Let’s have Backwards Day together, just the two of us.” Both totally retarded and yet cherished and special.
(This actually happened to me, by the way. Except for the part about one of the counselors putting his clothes on backwards. So I just felt totally retarded and neither cherished nor special.)
By the end of the evening at Chelsea Piers, I was doing a round-off followed by a back handspring. Admittedly, this was on the tumble track (a long trampoline) and not the mat, but still. At the end of the class, the teachers very gently suggested that my friend and I try the Beginner/Intermediate Class, which met the next night. I went back, and once again I had to go in the remedial corner, but the people who were in the regular class weren’t nearly as intimidating as the people the night before had been. By the end of this class I was doing a round-off followed by a layout back flip. On the trampoline, but still. And my feet were bleeding. But still. All the triumph with half the mortification.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t quit while I was ahead, so the next day I went to a Beginner Jazz dance class, which was none of the triumph and all the mortification. Once again, the brochure had a misprint and instead of “Beginner” should have read “People Who Will Obviously Be Dancing on a Broadway Stage Very Soon.” This class was made doubly terrifying by the fact that the teacher looked exactly like James Earl Jones. Imagine taking a class in which you are by far the suckiest person there and James Earl Jones keeps staring at you and shaking his head impatiently. And there was no remedial cornerI had to suck in the middle of everybody for the whole hour and a half. [Insert group sex joke here.]
But there was one time when I did something right and James Earl Jones nodded and I just about exploded from joy.
So I spent three days in a strange combination of ecstasy and humiliation. At first I wasn’t sure whether the one was worth the other, especially with the bleeding feet thrown into the mix.
But then all doubt was removed from my mind when I weighed myself and saw that I’ve lost two pounds since Wednesday morning.