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Monday, September 24, 2012

A New Chapter Starts Part 8


Two O’clock rolls around and it is time to teach my first class. Behind the front desk is a microphone that can be heard through the entire club. 

Isabelle has warned me not to make my announcement until exactly five minutes before two.
She is teaching a step class for beginners from one until one fifty five. I am told that she doesn't want any announcements to mess up her class and to distract her students.

The ages of the women in Isabelle’s class range between sixty five and eighty five. The only stepping they do in class is to step touch again and again in different directions, resting for ten minutes for every five minutes of exercise. Watching her class, I’m sure that Isabelle was quite the tomato in her time.

Its five minutes before class. I pick up the microphone and announce “Come take step and stretch with Geoff at two O’clock.” I can hear it booming through the club. Then I add “It will be fun.”
Nothing happens. No one in the club moves.

“Maybe people are already in class waiting for you,” Rachel mumbles under her breath to me.

I walk into the exercise studio and see that there is no one in there. The clock on the wall reads exactly 1:59pm. I walk back to the desk and ask Rachel what to do. Rachel grabs the microphone and announces “Only one more minute before Geoff’s class, you want to get in there to find a space before it gets packed.”

Again, nothing happens and no one moves.

I see Dora standing around the corner with her arms crossed looking at us and looking at the clock. Suddenly she walks behind the desk and grabs the microphone from Rachel. “To hit spit in the wind you have to catch it yourself,” she says looking at us before bringing the microphone up to her lips.

“Hello everyone this is Dora, of Dora Dee Figure Salons,” she shouts into the mic. “You have exactly thirty seconds to march your fannies into the back room to take this class.” “I want to know that my money is well spent or I’ll have to fire him” she says. She then plunks the mic on the desk causing it to feedback.

Rachel does a slow pan to me. Her eyes are wide open and she is shaking her head back and forth. Dora points to me and says “Lickety Split.” She then walks back towards her office.

The women begin to file into the exercise room very slowly.

“At least you now have a class,” Rachel adds.

I walk into the room and it’s now packed with women milling, standing, sitting and literally laying on the floor. I have to step over people to get to the front of the room.

“Hi everyone,” I say. “My name’s Geoff and I,” Use the microphone someone screams from the back of the room. I apologize, walk over and turn the mic on. “Hi everyone, my name is,” Too Loud,” screams someone else from the back of the room.

The rest of the class follows this pattern. The women scream out “Too fast,” Too Slow,” “Talk Louder,” Talk Softer,” “Speed up,”and “Slow down!”

I constantly lean over and manipulate the speed control on the cassette player. I also have a corded microphone in my hand the whole time. Unwinding the cord with every move becomes part of my routine. I am sweating my ass off, climbing up and over the step, swinging the cord into the air so it doesn’t trip me up.

Several women in the back of the class have done nothing but sit there and talk the entire time. Every now and then one of them will do a random leg lift.

The class goes on forever. With ten minutes left, I do a cool down. Several of the women walk out of the room during this time.

I can see Dora standing next to Sharon in the back of the room with her arms crossed shaking her head. As I collect my cassette tape, more women file out. No one thanks me for class. I am a disaster.

Dora walks past me on her way back to the office. “Well that was one hell of a waste of time,” she says to me as she passes.

To be continued….

Geoffrey Doig-Marx holds all written and electronic rights to his writing "A Day in the Life". It can not be reprinted in part or whole without his written consent.    


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