How to Zumba

Yesterday, my friend @whoremongers, whom I like to call Michiel, asked if I would like to join her for Zumba class. To understand what I am getting into, I look it up on the gym’s website. The description mentions Latin dance rhythms with easy dance moves. It doesn’t sound completely terrifying. There is a video of Zumba which I examine carefully to make sure no one has jazz hands. I refuse to participate in any activity that requires jazz hands.  It seems to be jazz-hands-free.

See… no jazz hands. Just a girl in a bandanna.

“Okay,” I tell her, “I’m in.”

“Great,” she says, “Bring a towel and a bottle of water. Or… a bottle of whatever you are drinking.”

I order to make this work, I have to go home, change, grab a towel and a bottle of water, pick up my kid from summer camp, and be at the gym before 5:30. I will need a few extra minutes to sign my kid up for Kid’s Club. I arrive at the summer camp a little after 5:00. If I can grab my kid and get out of there immediately, I will just make it. The people at the summer camp seem to have a different concept of time than I do. They are talking to me. They tell me about tomorrow’s upcoming field trip in detail and what time I will need drop off my son in the morning. THEN they tell me to be sure to WASH the camp shirt my kid is wearing TONIGHT so he can put it on again for the field trip.

I look at them like they are insane. Wash… Tonight. Yeah… that is going to happen. If by “wash” you mean spray it with Fabreeze.  I would usually throw money at the problem and just buy a bunch of shirts, but I don’t have time right now to even do that. I can’t wait here while everyone scurries around for shirts. I have ZUMBA CLASS, people!

Once my kid is in the car and informed of our destination, his response is predictable. “I don’t want to go to Kid’s Club,” he says glumly. He wants to go home and play video games, a hermit at the ripe old age of eight.

“It’s a club…for kids,” I tell him, “What’s not to like?” In the midst of this conversation, I have just passed the necessary exit. The funny thing about locations is that you have to drive very specifically to get to one. You can’t just fly past the required exit and expect to arrive in a timely matter. I don’t even notice that my preferred exit lies in the distant past for another ten miles. When I finally look around and wonder where the hell I am going, I’m pissed. Sometimes, I’m my own worst enemy. I get off the highway and immediately get caught by a light.

My phone vibrates. Stuck at the light, I glance down and see a text from Michiel, “Where are you woman?” I respond with two quick texts, “Late” and “Traffic.” Yes, I am late because of the traffic…. the type of traffic you encounter when you drive 10 miles past your destination for no apparent reason whatsoever. She tells me not to worry about coming into the class late, and that she will be “in the back.”

I arrive at the gym at 5:35. Zumba class is in full swing by now; however, the situation can still be resolved. I don’t remember this place having a daycare, but when I walk up to the front desk with my kid, the girl looks at my son with a smile. This makes me think they must have a daycare somewhere, otherwise she would be looking at me like I have a third head and saying, “What is HE doing here?”

“I would like to register my son for the Kid’s Club,” I tell her.

“Great,” says the girl, “that will be four dollars.”

“FOUR dollars?” I say… inside my head, of course, “You are going to keep my kid for me for FOUR dollars?” My mind is reeling. I can’t help but glance outside the glass doors and notice a rather seedy looking bar located conveniently across the strip mall. Guessing the person at the counter would probably object if I toss down four dollars and leave immediately to grab a beer, I take my son by the hand and proceed to the Kid’s Club for the paperwork.  With great haste, I fill out emergency contact information, a description of my child’s eyes and hair, and my mobile phone number as the Zumba minutes click by.

Now that the childcare situation is under control, it is time for the long awaited Zumba. I look in the window. The room is completely crowded with women. Very bouncy women fill every space in the room. The worst part is that Michiel is somewhere in this room with these women, bouncing, and I will never be able to find her. Undaunted, I enter the room and cope with the situation one aspect at a time.

My first goal is to find a place to bounce.  All the women are moving about unpredictably and waving their arms. I move cautiously through them, trying to avoid getting hit in the head. Now that I am facing an almost certain concussion, I regret filling out my kid’s daycare form so hastily. I’m not sure if the emergency contact information is even legible. I shouldn’t be here risking getting knocked in the head a Zumba class and leaving him abandoned at a 24 Hour Fitness. I’m a terrible parent. I should be sitting safely with a drink at that bar.

I finally find a narrow area of place in which to stand, set my bottle of water off to the side, and begin trying to figure out what everyone is doing. They are bouncing around. I start to bounce a little. I feel ridiculous. They are waving their arms now. I try waving my arms. I don’t like it. Then, the music changes slightly and the unthinkable happens. Everyone in the room starts doing something horrifying… something usually reserved for weddings and cruise ships… they start doing… the Macarena.

Something you may not know about me is that I blatantly refuse to do the Macarena. Once I was forced to do this dance by a group of old women shoving me out on the dance floor at a wedding reception saying, “All you young’uns have fun.” I have been traumatized by it ever since. I grab my water and flee. I’m pretty sure 30 seconds has to be an all-time record for shortest Zumba session. I should call Guinness.

I spend the rest of my time at the gym on the elliptical being grateful that this machine does not expect me to wave my arms.

So, for those of you who may find yourselves in Zumba class, totally perplexed as to what is happening, simply bounce around and do the Macarena. You will blend right in. For those of you who have no intention of doing the Macarena, at weddings, Zumba, or any other location, you may want to purchase this handy t-shirt.

Sometimes life is easier when you establish expectations in advance.


About lgalaviz
All of this hardly seems necessary.

18 Responses to How to Zumba

  1. Elisa Ashley says:

    *snorfle, cough, giggle, snort*

  2. El Guapo says:

    For some reason, I read “childcare situation is under control” as “childcare illusion is under control”.
    As for zumba, I’ll wait until it’s an olympic sport, and then just watch it on tv.
    With the sound off.
    And the video too.

  3. I have never done the Macarena but I hate it anyway. With a passion.

    Also, I’ve always been annoyed whenever someone mentions Zumba, without really knowing what it was. Having read your post I now hate Zumba too, for which I’m grateful. Things are much easier when viewed in black and white. So thank you Lisa!

  4. debihen says:

    I took my first Zumba class on Tuesday. There was a lot of bouncing, occasional turning (to which I was always going the wrong direction) but no Macarena. There was, however, a LOT of gyrating and thrusting pelvises; something I was not prepared for. First, I am certain I look nothing like Rhianna or J-Lo while gyrating and thrusting. Rather, after catching a glimpse if my reflection in a window, I concluded I looked more like a beached whale struggling to get back to the ocean. Next, seeing a lot of ladies who look like my grandma gyrating and thrusting was, in a word, upsetting.
    The positive side of my first Zumba class was that it was free, and I did not die. The jury is still out on whether or not I’ll go back. That whole Jazz Hand thing could b the deal breaker.

    • lgalaviz says:

      Yes, there was lots of gyrating and thrusting. I knew I would be terrible at that, so I didn’t even try it. I felt so out of place that I actually thought about grabbing my towel and pretending I just came in to clean the windows.

  5. Mano says:

    Spend the four dollars then go get that beer. Oh, and make sure you pick up some more fabreeze, the boy needs to smell like “ocean breeze” for his field trip.

  6. So, how long will they watch a kid for four dollars? I hadn’t realized I could so easily solve my childcare issues by pretending to work out. Now I just need one with coffee and free wifi and I’m set!

  7. I used to attend an aerobics class that was so confusing my friend and I would stand in the very back corner and quietly jog in place when we didn’t understand the instructions. The day we realized we were jogging in place for everything except the cool-down stretches, we realized we were probably doing it wrong and stopped going.

    I could never jazz-hand or macarena. I know I’d just start snort-giggling and get kicked out.

    • lgalaviz says:

      I should always consult you before these endeavors. Running in place would have worked beautifully. Plus, if I am already running in place, it will be less obvious when I make my dash for the door.

  8. DogsDontPurr says:

    Is it just me, or is the Zumba gal in the lower left of that photo also wearing a bunny tail on her white/yellow/gray Zumba suit?

  9. Kimber says:

    You must come zumba-ing with me. It’s macaroni-free (yeah, can’t bring myself to type that blasted M-word), I have a wonderful instructor AND I haven’t fallen over yet – in fact, I’ve become a wee bit addicted. Oh, and I’ve made some friends there, too – we sometimes have a Chick Nite….where we undo pretty much all the progress we just made in zumba.

  10. Whoremonger says:

    Again with the leaving out of details….
    1. There is no Macarena, guaranteed
    2. I concede there is old lady and jiggly lady (me) doing pelvic thrusts awkwardly.
    3. She was in there maybe 1.5 minutes
    4. I have no idea what I’m doing most of the time but stay at the back so I can do whatever I want.

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