Friday, 20 November 2009

Getting Down With OAPs

In my relentless quest for beneficial daytime experiences, I decided to take a day off swimming my mile but wanted some form of exercise.  I have noted that a group of women I generally refer to as the gray-haired mafia completely book up a large number of the daytime exercise classes at our gym, but there was one opening left in this morning's aqua aerobics.  I know it is almost always booked full, so I hopped on the last slot.  An "OAP" is island lingo for Old Age Pensioner.  If you see them having tea and cake en masse in a particular venue, it generally bodes well for quality.  I applied the same analogy to aqua aerobics.

Former readers will know I am no stranger to aqua aerobics, having made the horrifying pink elephant discovery at a previous gym's version.  Apart from the urge to look away, that class itself was very good.  Just because aqua aerobics as an exercise genre is largely populated by older women does not mean the classes are feeble.  .

The instructor was a white-haired woman in reasonable shape.  Upon arrival, average age looked to be 60, but far worse was the sight of every one wearing a headband with little yellow ears attached.  I had forgotten that today is a nationwide fundraiser called Children in Need, which benefits the Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital in London.  Their mascot is called Pudsey, and this group had taken the philanthropic spirit to a new and cheezy level.  I'm not much of a joiner when it comes to wearing hokey things - I used to struggle to put on my ID badge at work.  I also loathe hats, or anything on my head, for that matter.  But as I was the only one without ears, I succumbed to the groupthink and put a pair on.

The musical selection was a combination of remixed ABBA and every Beatles song ever written.  I didn't know it was possible to work "Eleanor Rigby" into a exercise mix, but I do now.  I very reluctantly participated, in half-gestures, when the entire class broke into "YMCA."  All in all, the class was pretty lame.  It was hard to justify going to the bother to change into a swimsuit and require a shower when I could have stayed home and learned to knit for the same calorie expenditure.  Regardless, I tried to make it as hard as possible for myself without getting too carried away and being branded "that young hooligan."  When the kegel exercises started, I knew this was pretty much a waterborne waste of time.

After class, I approached to gladly return my stupid sponge bear ears when the teacher approached me individually.  "Is this your first aqua aerobics class?" she inquired.  I immediately expected her to compliment my apparent aqua savant-ness, my perfect form, or suggest a higher intensity class.
"Oh, no," I replied.
"Well, the first rule of aqua aerobics is the gum.  Lose it!"
I was appalled, and mentally transported back to my elementary school library, where Mrs. Howsell  transformed sussing out the presence of chewing gum into a black art and issued ugly two-cent fines.  I stupidly stammered the truth - that I had forgotten it was in - but her bluntness was appalling.  I seethed and chomped even harder.  To think I had put on those stupid ears for this.  I was not thinking clearly enough to spit it out and offer it to her.

In hindsight, I don't regret my gum chewing.  I'm sure it produced my highest calorie burn of the hour.


Jamie said...

What on EARTH is wrong with that bear? It looks like the mafia gouged out half of his face or something.

Ditto on water aerobics--I am the youngest person by about 20 years, but it can be a great workout if you push yourself. I am curious about the music, as none of my classes have had the musical component. Things got really interesting last week when the kiddy pool (adjacent to but mercifully not part of the big people pool) had a Dookie Evacuation. Really.

Midwestern Girl said...

Oh my, did she smack the back of your hand with a ruler as well?!

Claire said...

Related to the Dookie Incident, do you not recall the time we water aerobicized next to the kiddie play area and spied junior climb to the top of the kid's fountain platform to take a giant wee? It more or less had the same trajectory as the fountain water. Where was his mother?