I suspect that people who work in service industries are taught to fill awkward silences with questions. If the guy at the bank’s computer takes too long, he starts asking how my Thanksgiving was, knowing that if I had a good one, I’m more than happy to tell him about it. If I had a bad one, I’ll abide the laws of common courtesy and just say “oh, I got to just relax at home!” (This means “I ate Funyuns in my underwear and drank a 40 because I have no family” or something. Whether or not that sounds like an awesome time is a matter of personal opinion.)
I was more than happy to tell the guy at the bank about how well my mom’s stuffing went over. We all miss grandma, but (all due respect) alzheimer’s will seriously screw up your cooking skills. I also abided the rules of courtesy and left out the part about how I came home, drank a 40 and cried out a recent breakup. These things happen.
I ran into “when in doubt, ask questions” while signing up at the local YMCA.
“So, what do you do?”
(Web design, moving into development.)
“Oh, so you type fast?”
(Yes, but mainly cause I typed a lot of letters in high school and play the piano.)
“Piano? Do you also sing?”
(Not in public.)
With that, I paid my money and had done something I’d wanted to do for a long time but had never had time or money. I joined the local Y. So, how’s it going?
The Y is the land of happy, skinny people. All of the women are toned, all of the guys are good-looking, and everybody’s rosy-cheeked and nice. I suspect that the Y is a lot like Sweden. I would feel terribly awkward and out of place, except that all of the employees are super nice and the other patrons seem to be too involved in whatever they’re doing to notice what I giant n00b I am.
You’d think by now that I would know that the locker room is pretty much ALWAYS right next to the pool. You’d think the Y would give new people some kind of tour or a map. You’d be wrong on all counts. However, once I just ASKED somebody to point me toward the locker room, I found the one at the Margaret Maddox Y (Inglewood) to be pretty nice. The one downtown is, hands down, the nicest locker room I have ever seen in my limited experience of locker rooms. In square footage, it might be bigger than my house, and the shower steam is kept separate, avoiding having the whole room turn into a nasty sauna.
Learn from my mistakes: if you just START USING the machine, whether it be elliptical, bike, or whatever, the thing will turn on and instruct you. Please do not ask me how I learned this. Please also do not tell any tv producers that they should follow me around with a tv camera for a show called “Adventures of Smart Girls with No Common Sense.”
If the class says “Advanced Step Aerobics,” this is not a descriptor of how much cardio will be done. This is a descriptor of how familiar you will need to be with WHAT THE HELL has happened to step aerobics since I took it in college. Those women were doing a full-out improv dance routine, apparently based solely on whatever the instructor was yelling. It was like really fast square dancing. I was positioned behind two leggy amazons from Planet Pilates who would literally do ballet jumps while the rest of us were marching in place. This leaves me with the following conclusion:
Assuming I did not unknowingly drop acid before class, I should hit a beginner class until I know what the hell “bus stop,” “rhumba left,” and “revolving door” are.
I also went to a sculpting class and learned that I am a total wuss. Judging from the feel of my arms 6 hours after class, I may not be able to move my arms tomorrow. Just FYI in case you need any air traffic control or baseball umpiring.
All in all, it’s been a really good experience so far. After a month of not being able to work out because of school and work, it feels really good and productive to be back at it, and to be doing something more interesting than walking the same 6 mile neighborhood loop that I always walk. Granted, this means I will no longer get cat calls from the NADC dorms, but you know: everything’s a trade off.