By Nikki Pelezo / Dirt Roads
It all started the day after New Year’s. I looked at myself in the mirror and looking back at me was a frumpy broad wearing the only clothes I had left to wear, a baggy pair of flannel pajamas bottoms and a size XXX t-shirt. I donned my Tweety Bird house slippers, grabbed my purse and headed to my local gym. Moments later I signed up for Zumba lessons from a size 0 gal by the name of Pepper. She explained that Zumba was the new, up and coming, way to exercise by dancing to the Latin rhythm. She convinced me that I would lose weight and inches without even knowing it.
Talk about birds of a feather, the next morning found myself and twenty other gals, pretty much the same size and age, who have been cooking with way too much butter, lined up in front of one of those ghastly ballerina mirrors. I’m pretty sure most of the gals have never seen their bodies, from the waist down, in ten years. We were wearing various athletic wear not seen since the ’84 Olympics. My purple leotard sported shoulder pads and nylon cowboy fringe. Pulling on tights from the 80’s proved to me that dry rot still exists in East Texas. Of course getting into this vintage outfit was a whole other story, as well as the leftovers hanging out everywhere.
Pepper walked in wearing the latest in athletic wear, tiny, tiny little shorts with a t-shirt not three inches long. Bare is all I could say about Pepper. She looked us over and we could tell she was speechless, as all she would say, over and over, was “oh, my–oh, my.”
She, being the pro she is, started our lesson knowing most of us wouldn’t survive the introduction, much less the six-week course.
“Imagine your hips are like the waves crashing on shore of a lovely white beach,” explained Pepper as she slowly moved her hips in an ever widening circle.
“Girls, undulation is the name of the game. Hit it Madison,” shouted Pepper.
Madison, being another size O, punched the button on the CD player and out blasted South American pelvic- moving music. Pepper’s clientele didn’t quite understand her instructions. Undulations, in this group, was more like a slow waddle with an unexplained hop. With the undulations, the gal in front of me started jiggling like Grandma’s Thanksgiving gravy and her wig slipped and landed on the floor. Pepper undulated over, never missing a beat, picked up the wig and threw it like a baseball to our pile of coats, shoes, gym bags and secret stashes of Snicker candy bars.
I heard a loud pop that sounded like a sonic boom, coming from the back of the group. Poor Viola’s leotard unsnapped at the crotch hitting her on the chin. The last we saw of her she was crawling to the locker room, holding her jaw. Viola was probably one of the more talented of the group because she was over undulating when the accident occurred. Sadly, she never returned.
Sweat poured off our brows and our muscles stung from the exertion. We were wilting and wilting fast. We must have looked near death to Pepper and Madison. Red in the face, our leotards soaked in sweat. We looked like beached whales undulating, waiting for high tide. Breathing was difficult, more like rasping and gasping. Our stomachs were growling in spite of the horrendous torture. It was 10:00 am and we were missing our snacks.
I kept at it another week and if that heart-breaking locker room rash had not appeared when it did, I’m sure I would still be there grinding away with Pepper doing the ‘Zumba’.