People-watching happens to be one activity that I find quite enjoyable. I do it any chance I get–waiting at a restaurant, taking a break on a walk (amusement parks and airports are great places for this), and waiting for exercise classes to start. If anyone read any of my previous blogs when I was soul-searching in college, one might know that I love group exercise classes. If you didn’t read that blog… I love group exercise classes.
On Saturdays there are three classes I really like. First there is Step, then a weight lifting class, and Turbo Kick. I generally can’t/don’t want to do all three in one day. Step and weight lifting are all in one, so I decided to do those today. Now, I’ve been in other classes where step class is after, and those ladies are like vultures waiting for the class to end before they swarm the room and slam their step equipment down on our fingers while we’re finishing stretching.
I have (shamefully) become one of these ladies. It’s the peer pressure. Apparently, there is a weird fear that spreads through the waiting crowds that there are so many steppers. It wafts through the all the women who inch closer and closer to the aerobic room door. They make excuses to open the door like, “Those cyclers! We need to air that room out!” And that’s the cue to freaking go crazy and kick everyone else out. If you don’t go in ASAP, you get crowded in the back step-less and pretty much might as well leave. So, while I’ve been one of those finger-smashing step wielders, I’ve been early enough to sit, watch, and categorize the types of steppers.
- Professional Steppers– These are the ladies that start the fear-mongering at the door. Pretending to chat with other “regulars” but really shifting from foot to foot inching toward the double doors. They speed-walk in, don’t even throw their stuff down, go straight to the steps and risers, and stake out the front row. After that they bring out their special anti-slide pads and stretch like step is an actual workout. They are serious about this class. It’s like Rocky running up those stairs in the training montage. They are the champions of step.
- Gossip Moms– The gossip moms are partially champion steppers, but they act like they are just there to socialize. And socialize they do. They set up their equipment as fast as the avid steppers, but instead of stretch and show of their step diplomas, they GOOOOOOOOSSIP! “So, how’s Jack Alexander doing in super-expensive private school?” “Oh, you know, wasting my husband’s money, because, heaven knows I don’t work.” “I feel ya, honey. Every since I had an inkling that I wanted a child, I told hubby-face that I needed to stay home with my potential kid-bearing self.” “Amen. You know I got the best recipe for meatloaf from Susan.” “Oh I wouldn’t eat Susan’s meatloaf, Jerry cheated on her. It had to have been the meat loaf.” “Oh my gosh. Well, she deserved it. Did you see how fat she got?” “Yeah, obviously isn’t coming to step anymore…”
- Newbies– I fall into this category as of right now. We sort of follow the crowd of crazies into the aerobics room and get our steps and risers before they’re all gone. Then we sit on the steps and drink sips of water, eyeing the professionals and the gossips. When step actually starts, we look like nerds on a dance floor–flailing our arms around, missing cues, and looking like overall idiots. I have caught myself growling audibly at my lack of coordination meanwhile the professionals make me look and feel like a true novice. When you’re a newbie it’s best to cluster with the other newbies so you can be angry at yourselves together. Also when one of you messes up, you can get looks of understanding as opposed to sneers from the professionals.
- Regular Folks– There are some normal people in step classes, but these three groups make up the majority. The normal people generally come in later (read: on time) than the crazies and the newbies (we gotta show up early because we don’t really know what’s going on yet). They fit in their steps between the other people, which really makes the professionals mad because they were early and staked out their spots along with the 4 foot by 4 foot square they think they are entitled to because of their early arrival and hostile overthrow of the cyclers. When the normals infringe on the professionals’ and gossip moms’ squares there are many a dirty looks and whispered disapprovals passed from lady to lady. The normals take it in stride and just do their thing. They’re here for some sweat. They get it. They leave. The end. I like these guys.
I recommend going to a group exercise class. It’s not just good for your health. It’s good mental stimulation. And you may meet some nice people, too.