Saturday, February 27, 2010

Floundering


You know those Gym Goddesses who prance on the treadmill, with tight firm little butts and rock-hard abs, and cute little foreheads which barely break a sweat?

Well that's not me.

In fact, I pretty much hate working out. Not just "don't like it", but flat out "hate it". Unless I can trick myself into working out. An example of this would be swimming. It doesn't feel like a work-out, it feels like fun. And I am not hot and sweaty. I am cool and refreshed. Or maybe walking miles and miles all around the city, exploring new neighborhoods. I lose track of how far I've walked, and end up wandering the streets of Manhattan for five miles. Enjoyable to me. Even sometimes the elliptical machine can be fun to me, as long as I have fast music and I feel like I'm dancing. I probably look bananas, but it works for me.

I just booked a trip and got my tourist visa for Brazil in April. Rio de Janeiro. And then I am going to Hawaii with a friend of mine, JoAnn in May. So it is time to get my arse in gear. *Love Weight Watchers, by the way. I've been following the point system and have lost about ten pounds so far. But I haven't really been working out, aside from walking up the 4-5 flights of stairs in my building.

So there is this place in the Meat-Packing district called The Gansevoort Hotel. It is very Sex & The City. In fact, that show has filmed there before. At the Gansevoort is a spa called Exhale. A friend of a friend was having an event there. Cocktails, mini spa treatments, and a "core fusion" class. Sounds fun right?

Here is what the rooftop pool looks like at the Gansevoort. So very Manhattan. So very meat-packing district. So very Sex & The City. So very posh, well-polished crowd.

It was a snowy day and a lot of people were backing out of the event. Here is what it looked like outside my office that afternoon:

It was a near-blizzard outside by the time 6:00 rolled around, and I was close to backing out of the event myself, but my friend talked me into going anyhow. Early, even, so that I could attend the free "core fusion" class at the spa, before the massage treatments and cocktails.

Do you guys know what core fusion is? I thought it might be similar to pilates. I liked pilates. I did it once five years ago. It felt fun and not so scary.

As a side note- I do, however, hate yoga. I went once and I sat in the back of the room and made my grocery list. It was a yoga class called Bikram where they heat up the room. It was so crowded, there were stinky women packed in the room like sardines, and I couldn't concentrate whatsoever. How is one supposed to relax in a tightly packed, 90 degree room with smelly women in "downward facing dog" two inches away from me? I told my Mom on the phone "yoga is still a little too 'new age' for my taste." Her reply? "Honey, yoga really isn't 'new age' anymore."

Where was I? Exhale. The Gansevoort. Right.....so my friend Dara and I trek it down to meatpacking through the snow. (Dara, smart girl, opted out of the class, by the way.) The class begins and there are two people "team teaching". We'll call them Jack and Jill. Jack and Jill have been married for 30 years and teaching this class together for just as long. Jill was this little waif of a woman in her 50s who didn't have an ounce of fat. Jack was similar in description. There was a DJ in the room spinning tunes to Jack & Jill's instruction and probably about 30 skinny, firm, sculpted women. And then there was me.

Oh yeah.....upon arrival, I found out that we are to do the class wearing socks. Guess whose sock had a big hole in the bottom?

We started out doing this sort of marching in place thing on the side of our mats. Okay, I thought, I can *do* this! That's when Jill instructed us to do push ups. Okay, I do not *do* push ups. This is where things go bad.....

Instead I just chose to lie down on my stomach and watch. Uh oh. Here comes Jill with her wireless mike. "What is your name?" Gulp. "Laurie?" I breathed, hesitantly.

So for the rest of the class I heard over the DJ's pounding techno beats:
"Laurie! Flex your foot!"
"Laurie! Get that butt down."
"Laurie! Your back should be flat!"
"Laurie! You need to be lower to the ground when you do this!"
"Laurie! You should not be lying on the ground lifeless like that!"

You get the drift......

I obediently tried to get my arse in gear, to no avail. I was floundering around on the mat like a dead fish for most of the class. All of the graceful butterflies around me seemed to have this down to a T. They all effortlessly did what Jack and Jill instructed. When Jill wasn't telling me what to do, Jack was at my side demonstrating. Good lord.

I couldn't even roll my eyes anymore, because they hurt.

The ONE single thing that I *could* do was a split. I was so proud of myself. My high school majorette skills have not completely vanished. Look Jill, look at me! I can do one of the things in this stupid class. Look at my perfect split! Look! I am so proud of myself!

Jill wasn't looking.

One of the last things we had to do was a full "bridge". You know- the thing where you're in a back-bend, holding yourself up. I cannot do this. It gives me a headache. I had lost momentum. When my brother and I used to play Nintendo back in 1990, there was this cruel thing you could do to the other player. You pressed the "pause" button right when Mario was in the middle of jumping over a deep ravine, and he would basically lose momentum and fall to his death and then your turn would be over. This was how I felt. Someone hit my proverbial "pause" button. I just lied down on my mat again, sweating and panting, my face red and my body exhausted.

Jack, and Jill, could you please go up the hill to fetch me a pail of water?

They did no such thing. Jack did not fall down, nor lose his crown. And Jill did not come tumbling after. The only one tumbling down was me.

Finally the class was over and everyone clapped. I clapped too. I think I was clapping for a different reason from everyone else. I was clapping because I'll never ever ever have to attend "core fusion" again.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Elbow Room

Bring me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses....

The Statue of Liberty beckons folks from all walks of life, with this motto. And indeed they arrive. They come in droves. They are tired. They are poor. And they are huddled. On the subway. During rush hour.

This rush hour 6 Train simply doesn't have enough Elbow Room to accommodate all of these huddled masses.

Either that, or I'm rubbing elbows with the wrong folks.

Yesterday's evening commute was one for the books.

First of all, I left work around 6ish. The rush has started to die a little bit by then, as it seems the trains are much more crowded at 5:00. But yesterday for some reason, there were barely any seats left. I found one on the end. There was a large woman next to me and a small space (probably about a foot and a half or so) between us. Enter Crazy Subway Guy (CSG) at Spring Street. He chooses to squeeze into that tiny spot. The woman on the other side had a little bit of room on her other side, so she must have slid over a bit. I, however, was on an end, and there was nowhere else to scoot in order to create more room. CSG digs his elbows into my side. He continues to push me and elbow me. Finally I had enough.

"Listen Buddy, I don't mind if you sit down, but seating is tight and your elbows in my ribs are very uncomfortable."

He doesn't respond to my request, but he sits still for a moment and then VERY deliberately, takes his elbow and rams it into my side.

"Okay, you win."

I get up and move to the back of the train where I stand. And that's when I observe him spitting on the floor. OMG, I think......he is going to SPIT on me. Fortunately a huddled mass of more people got on the train, separating me from Mr. CSG. He got off at Grand Central. He did not spit on me. Just the floor. Which is disgusting. People have dogs and luggage and boxes and bags that they put on the floor of the subway. Gross. But that incident has ended, at least.

Next, I overheard this conversation:
Girl 1: What do you think of people who meet on the subway?
Girl 2: I think it's disgusting. Especially when it's smelly like Indian or Chinese.
Girl 1: {Appalled look on her face}
Girl 2: Why are you looking at me like that? I think it's disrespectful when they bring their food and eat on the train.
Girl 1: I said what do you think of people who MEET on the train, not EAT on the train!

This made me chuckle. And for the record, I have seen many a-person eat on the train. It grosses me out too. And people do indeed pick the smelliest foods to stuff into their faces. It amazes me that it could even be POSSIBLE to enjoy your supper on a crowded train, a train where people spit and sneeze and smush up next to you, practically sitting on your lap.

Also- my opinion on people who MEET on the train: more power to them. I've never really met anyone on the subway myself, but my friend's grandparents met that way and were married happily for 61 years.

So then I got off the train and there was a homeless man with a beer in a brown paper bag at his side, passed out on one of those big black mysterious boxes on the platform. What the heck do those big black boxes contain anyhow? What are they there for? For drunk people who pass out upon them? For rats who scurry underneath them? Is there a secret panel that opens on them and bundles of money are stored inside them? I don't know the answer.

Then I looked at the floor. The homeless man had several brown bags with beer bottles littering the floor around the black box. Why can't people just use the garbage can that exists less than ten feet away?

Common courtesy: has it become as passe' as myspace? (Aside: Much like common courtesy, I miss myspace. I've thought about revving it back up again, but to no avail..... after all, even Tom doesn't check his myspace page anymore.)

Whatever. I had DVR'd LOST the other night and I was itching to get home and watch it. On my couch. Where elbow room runs aplenty.