Wednesday, November 20, 2013

One Woman's Trash

This past weekend, we attended a costumed event at a friend's house.  My costume called for a pair of evening shoes, which I don't own.  I improvised by digging out an old, old, pair of dance shoes that I remembered having a glittery silver brocade.

As I put them on, I noticed they were in shabbier condition than I had remembered, but hey, it's a costume party at a dining room table - how important are my shoes?

As I tried to buckle the ankle strap, from which the original dye had long since worn off, the synthetic fabric making the strap had sort of melted into a gum-like substance, and couldn't be completely secured.  No matter; it's on well enough to walk from house to car into house.

Anyone else probably would have recognized the signs and selected another pair of shoes.  Not me.

It wasn't until we were seated in the dining room, about forty minutes into the party that I wondered about the breeze I felt on my right foot.  As I shifted around, the right shoe began to feel oddly looser.  And looser.  And a bit flappy.  It was only when I looked down that I realized the extent of the situation:

My shoe had disintegrated (over time in the closet) and had given up at the dinner party.
At this point, if you've made it this far, you're probably wondering why this is a blog post.  See, that wasn't just any pair of dance shoes.  It was my first ever pair of dance shoes.  I probably bought them in 1992 or 1993.  They were 20 years old, had been danced in a lot in their day, and with pretty sweaty feet (oh, the things we share with the world).
I haven't worn them in years, but have been saving them for sentiment.  Finding ballroom dance changed my life.  Finding I could teach it changed it again.  It has made me a little overly attached to what should be trash, but in my heart is treasure.  And that's why I'm keeping them.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

You know what I love about a Zumba Fitness class?  There is no way to mentally "check out." 

Not and keep up with the class.  Believe me, I've tried.  (Not on purpose, of course.)  But on those rare occasions when my thoughts have wandered for a moment or two, I've always snapped back to the present tense suddenly aware that the music has moved on without me.  (And often, the class has, too.)

It's true on both sides of the equation.  It doesn't matter if I'm leading my own classes, or being one of the led in someone else's class - a moment of mental lapse is a luxury you just don't have time for.

If you're paying attention to the music, and the choreography, and monitoring your body's exercise intensity, there isn't much time to pay attention to anything else.  And if you're the instructor, you're paying attention to all of the above, plus cueing the next move, monitoring your students' progress and safety, and maybe even providing a little entertainment.

If you did try to take a class and run the mental hamster wheel at the same time, it would probably go something like this:

"...blah, blah, blah, I know the instructor's name and all her same old announcements, what I really need is to remember to call Sally about...oh wait, the warm-up already started...feet go step-touch, step-touch, got it, so anyway, I also have to run to Publix and get some cookies or something for...oh, man, she changed the arm, OK, arm overhead, got it...where was I?...oh, yeah, call Sally, go to Publix, buy cookies, and then...whoa, didn't see that move coming...OK, 3-step and knee lift, back with a kick, add a punch - hey, that's cool, let's do that again...oh yeah,, what a great stretch...I'm so glad I'm here!"

And by then, most of us really are "here."  Once you get going, the natural pace and rhythm of the class leaves very little gap for reality to intrude.  For many of its adherents, a Zumba Fitness class is a weekly - or daily! - mini-vacation from schedules, stresses, and responsibilities.  A place to set aside the to-do list, work out the stresses in a great workout, and leave feeling totally "checked in" and focused.

I hope everybody has one of those - an activity that demands so much of your attention that for a short hour or so, no physical ailment, no personal problem, no impending event can intrude.  Something that you end feeling better than you did when you started, every time.