I tripped hastily over the exercise box as I tried to keep in step. Pausing to catch my balance, I got behind another two or so moves and scrambled to gather up the free weights sitting on the floor next to my exercise mat.
"Lets GO!" shouted the instructor with a little more army officer inflection than friendly gym instructor encouragement. Waving my arms and legs hopefully in time to the music, I wishfully imagined I looked pretty much in step....until I caught sight of myself in the perfectly positioned, full length wall mirror directly in front of me.
Unable to keep from giggling to myself, I then felt like more of a fool than ever: spasmodically flailing arms and legs and grinning at myself in the mirror like an idiot. While I contemplated on the hilarity of my situation, the rest of the perfectly tanned, toned, and trim ladies seized the opportunity to again leave me dancing to my own drum.
After about an hour, it gradually dawned on me that the pounding music had given way to a peaceful, new-age sort of tune and now everyone was posing gracefully on the floor in a variety of complicated stretching moves. Quickly sinking to the floor as unobtrusively as possible, I joined them in attemping to touch the left ear to right knee without bending the leg. It turned out to be an impossible manuver.
As I slipped quietly out the door at the end of the session, I wondered not for the first time what had possessed me to attend. It certainly was not as relaxing as a nice run in the fresh air! But as I looked at the happily chatting ladies around me, I realized that although I hadn't been the brightest candle on the cake that day, I had enjoyed a sense of comraderie. And maybe, just maybe, I'd come again....