In Which I Embark Upon a Fitness Regime, Part One

By: Ann Brown

Somebody hold up my arms so I can type this. Ow.

I accompanied Robin to Tai Chi on Sunday. How hard could it be? I asked myself. I mean, Robin does it, and Robin is not exactly an activity freak. I have seen him eat dinner – sitting –  over the garbage can just so he can save a few steps later. I’m pretty sure I can keep up with Robin. 

Tai Chi?  Bring it.

Well. If I ever had any notion that beneath my layers of couch-sitting, TV watching, bagel-eating flab there lies in wait a layer of muscles, I am fully disabused of it now. Under my flab is, evidently, runner-up flab. Exceedingly lazy runner-up flab. And then comes a layer of bagels. And then anxiety. And then the roach I swallowed in 1969 when my mom came into my room without knocking. And finally, red hot vitriol for Dick Cheney.

I don’t care what they say – 1,331,460,000 Chinese people can be wrong. Anyone can NOT do Tai Chi.

First of all – and here’s where I suffered the most – there is no talking during the two-hour class. None. Not a word. Even if you see a hole in the crotch of Robin’s pants when he lifts his leg. Even if you imagine how funny it would be – when everyone else gives a little bow and nod hello – if you (me), there for the first time, did that slick, Vegas, shooting with your finger and clicking your tongue hello at everyone instead. EVEN if when your 25-year-old male partner is doing the pushing on your shoulders exercise, you suddenly think how fucking hilarious it would be if you were to move his hand onto your boob and wink at him. Or squeeze his nipple and you’d honk like a goose.

My plan was to hang at the back wall and pretty much be invisible. But then I got into it – as much as a person can get into it when the person has no idea what she is doing – and from my perch against the back wall, I tried my best to mirror what the teacher was doing. Then it got harder and I couldn’t follow him. Then it occurred to me that maybe I have some moves that might be even better than the 700-year-old traditional ones and I put in snippets of choreography I remembered from when I saw “In The Heights” last summer in New York. And the rumble scene from “West Side Story”. And that IN THE BOX deal everyone learns in mime class. I did The Swim. I did The Twist. I did The Mashed Potato. I was on fire. I Tai Chi’d my ass off. Albeit silently.

And then, the teacher began the movement that featured two quarter-turns to the right and suddenly, I was in the front. Only I was so into my hot shit dancing self that I didn’t notice everyone was now facing me. I struck a big jazz hands pose and opened my eyes.

It was very quiet all of a sudden. Even for a normally silent situation.

Poor Robin. Standing there with his Tai Chi peeps, people who respect him, people he sees every weekend, and he brings this person with him, his wife, who has clearly eaten one peyote button over her limit. I was like that Jodie Foster character, NELL, dancing about “the wind, the wind”. Only I was  sweatier and super out of breath.

Get away, guys, I bet he wanted to say, she’s all mine.

I saw a look cross his face that I haven’t seen since I sent a congregant in our synagogue an RSVP card for their child’s Bar Mitzvah, on which I had written on the back: Robin, the doctor wants to know if there is blood in your urine.

He was very quiet on the drive home. Preserving the spirit, I guess. Luckily, I always have a lot to say so we didn’t need to vie for time.

Yesterday, I saw on his Google history that he has been searching for Tai Chi classes that meet on weeknights (when he knows I won’t go). And he has been unusually tight-lipped about that Tai Chi class and BBQ next weekend. He keeps saying he’ll get me the address, but so far, nothing.

Also, I think he joined JDates.

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