The Little Mermaid

When it comes to me and exercise, I like the idea of it way more than the actuality of it. I get into something and then I stop it before I really see any effects. I’ve been blessed with good genetics, but – like everyone – I have target areas that need toning.

My latest venture? Water aerobics. Aside from the athletic benefits, I have to admit that I really just like old people, and I figured this would be a good way to hang out with them. So I signed up. At the public pool. It’s $5 a session. The sessions are 45 minutes. I can do this!

My first order of business was to get a one-piece bathing suit. I couldn’t be flaunting around in front of grandmas in my Malibu Barbie-esque neon bandeau bikini. Not appropriate. I found a nicely-priced, full-coverage option, and headed to the pool.

By the way, it is an INDOOR pool. Not only have I never been to this pool, I didn’t even realize it was located where it’s located. This city never lets up on the surprises.

I felt like a new kid at a new school. Where do I go? What do I do? The personnel was pretty helpful and I made my way into the locker room. There were two young girls in there who were nice enough to point out the warm shower. To their credit, it was indeed warm-ish. I asked if the pool was warm. I meant “warmer than the shower.” They apparently thought I meant “warmer than the Pacific Ocean” because they said yes.

(The Pacific Ocean – off the coast of California at least – is, according to me, always various degree of frigid.)

When I walked into the pool, there was one old lady in the shallow end, where I had been told the class met. YES! Senior citizen success! She smiled at me as I walked shyly to the edge of the pool and put my foot in only to discover those little girls and I had a very different opinion of proper water temperature. KIDS.

Gerry (or I guess it could be Jerry) told me this was the warmest it’s ever been. Which sounded worse once she told me she’s been coming for over a year. I got in anyway. She was “jogging” the width of the pool, and told me I should join her because A-it was the first thing we’d have to do in class anyway and 2-it was the only way to warm up.

She offered her sharp-tongued bits of wisdom like “That’s not going to make it better” when I did things like shrink completely into the water in an effort to warm up. I immediately introduced myself, excited for the new friendship. Once she found out about my knees, she shared with me the name of the doctor who did her replacement. Because he’s the best in town. YES. (I’m not in need of a knee replacement, but I like having useful information.)

As we were water jogging and talking, we couldn’t ignore the grunts coming from the side of the pool. A guy was lifting weights and – I’m just going to say it – showing off for us. We giggled to each other like schoolgirls. Not enamored schoolgirls. Unimpressed schoolgirls. Loved it.

Then two girls walked in who were closer to my age than Gerry’s. As it would turn out, they live within walking distance of me, and we had a great convo of the various other exercise methods we had tried, what worked best, etc.

When it came time for class to start a young lifeguard came to the edge of the pool, introduced herself, and told us this session would be different. The stereo didn’t work and she couldn’t get to the weights. As Gerry previewed, she started with the lap jogs. Moving next to high knees. She kept telling us to get our knees out of the water. I’m just shy of 5’8″…I was in almost four feet of water. I did my best, which was pretty decent.

We did a few other squatting things and I was all, “when do we get to the arms?” Because despite not exercising on a regular basis, I’m quick to lament the state of my upper arms. I mean, I could be doing something every day to fix them, but ugh! Well then the girl launched into a circuit of arm exercises that I’m pretty sure were a scene cut from the beginning of Zero Dark Thirty.

She tried to get all hard assy and tell us that if we stopped (because there were no breaks during this portion of the show) that we would have to start over. I told her she seemed like the nicest person ever and it was hard to take her effortful-yet-only-semi-threatening tone seriously. Then Gerry (who was standing behind me) barked at me to straighten my arms.

My arms were TIRED. I mean they still hurt like 5 days later. And here was this octogenarian giving me the business. I loved every second of it.

It’s only a 45-minute class. And it goes by pretty fast. There is other workout equipment, and of course the pool if I wanted to extend the workout…

My only complaint is that it’s only offered twice a week – Wednesday and Friday nights. Was Tuesday and Thursday taken? Friday nights is a silly time for water aerobics. That being said, I can’t wait to go back this week. I hope more senior citizens show up this week!

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