Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Spinning in Circles

A couple of weeks ago I was at an audition to teach spin at a new gym and take on my FIFTH part-time job and I met a really frickin' crazy woman.

I realized after typing that last sentence that it's looking like (in a hushed tone), I am the crazy person of whom I speak. 

Despite evidence to the contrary, I'm not as crazy as I may sound, I swear. 

Let me explain- See, I go to the gym every Thursday morning anyway, so why not get paid for it, right? I mean, the whole reason I decided to become a spin instructor was basically so I did not have to arrive 30 minutes before the beginning of a spin class in order to reserve my bike. I could just show up, moments before class started and I'd get to pick the music for the whole class instead of listening to Van Halen or techno music for an entire hour. 

So really, it makes perfect sense to become a spin instructor if you are a control freak with superior taste in music that is prone to tardiness, as I am.

Crap.That actually makes me sound even crazier.

This was not what I was planning to write. This has taken a surprising turn, indeed.

So, anywhooooo....

A few weeks ago I drove an hour across town to the gym where auditions were taking place, one of the worst neighborhoods in town. I scanned the parking lot and ran serpentine through the parking lot wondering if I had chosen the wrong colored bandanna for that neighborhood to mop up my sweat. 

I sat down and completed in the smallest, weirdest application I'd ever seen. It was just for their, "records" since they already had my resume via the on-line application process so, whatever. It basically asked me to spell my name and give a phone number and emergency contact in case I died during class. I figured there was an excellent chance of getting nailed in a drive-by shooting in the parking lot because of my blue bandanna so I used my best handwriting on that part.

I'm guessing most of you are not spin instructors because 1) most people are not 2) if you were, you would too narcissistic to read a blog that was not about yourself, and so I'm also guessing you've never been to a spin instructor audition so allow me to tell you what usually happens:

  • You arrive at the assigned time for your audition and then stand around for about 40 minutes while the girl behind the desk tries to locate gym manager
  • You meet the other 19 instructors that you are competing against for the one job you all applied for on Craigslist
  • You act nice to your competition but secretly you hope they all suck, have seizures or pull a hamstring during their audition
  • You try to guess the ages and the number of cosmetic procedures performed on the other instructor-wannabe's. You tell yourself you look waaaay better than at least one of them (it will not matter to you that she is in her 70's and has a lazy eye)
  • You are eventually lead to the cycle room where each applicant has about 3 minutes to instruct a workout. The group consists of the gym manager and the other applicants that you just spent 40 minutes sizing up, through a song of your choice
  • You leave having no idea if you got the job or why you thought a French braid and camouflage bandanna was a good choice for your "look"
So after handing my abbreviated application back to the girl at the desk, she lead me to the workout room that looked like any other cycle room except for two things:

There was not a room full of others waiting to audition. 
There was not even a room full of bikes. 

It was just two ladies, dressed in business suits and sitting at a small table that was set directly in front of one spin bike. Uh-oh.

Linda was in her mid-forties and used to be a spin instructor. Bev was in her mid-fifties but she didn't say what her previous experience was. I had a feeling Bev was the boss as she did most of the talking. I also got the feeling that the last time Bev saw a gym was as she walked passed it on her way to Chico's clothing boutique.

Both ladies were all smiles to me as they did their best to make me feel comfortable. They asked me all sorts of questions about my past life experience, my husband and my kids. They did not ask me about my workout routine or my instructor experience. They told me that they were only in town for the auditions-  Linda was from a neighboring state, while Bev came from across the country. I realized that they were Big Wigs as they told me how the national chain of gyms they worked for had plans to build 18 more warehouse-sized gyms in the city where I live. Gulp.

And then they asked me to "teach" a class.

Now, a lot of instructing is sort of like acting, in that you have to act like one or more of the following:
1) you are not working as hard as you actually are because you can't look like you're out of shape 

2) you are working harder than you actually are because you're super tired or on your period or you already worked out that day and (or) you just feel like phoning-it-in that day

3) you have NOT heard that song by Pink a bazillion times already this week

...however, I'd never had to act like I was talking to a room full of people before this. But what the hell- I'm crazy, right? I figured they'd either think I was a nut and rip up my resume or they'd realize I could fake my way through anything and hire me. So I demonstrated how to set up a bike in front of a room full of new-to-spin gym members and then "taught" an entire four minute routine to these same, imaginary people. I threw out phrases like, "You got it!", "Don't slow down!" and "Just give me 10 more seconds!" as if I had a twenty, sweaty ladies in front of me working their asses off.

The ladies cheered for me and held direct eye contact with me as they sat at their little cafe table a few feet from me. It was a strange and surreal experience. I felt naked and wondered if this is how it would feel to go pro as a stripper for the first time. And they cheered for me as I dismounted the bike.

Bev began by congratulating me on my attitude, my enthusiasm and my choice of music and then she said she wanted to give me a little piece of advice...At this point, I think I knew she was going to say something off- but it still sort of threw me.

She said, "When you're up there- on the bike. Try to give more. I mean, you're attitude is wonderful, and you're very motivating...just try to give..."

I stood there and waited as she completed the sentence.


Um. Ok.
More what?

Bev continued and this time she gestured with her hands, palms turned upward as if she was kneading imaginary bread in mid-air, "I mean, you're up there. And you have the attention of the entire class. And they're watching you. And you're showing them how to do it. Just give them...more...." she said as she looked beyond my shoulder.

More what?
Who's on first?

So, I get it. I'm naturally very dry and monotone. I can fix that.
"So, I need to be more enthusiastic?"

"Oh no! Your enthusiasm is great!", she said with a smile, "I just want...mooore...", she trailed off.

More what?!??!?

 "Do you know what I mean?" she asked, looking me straight in the eye. Finally, an opportunity for some clarity on what, exactly, she wanted more of.

"Yes. I know exactly what you mean", I said, acting once again.

And I smiled.
And Bev smiled.

And she offered me the job that day.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

They're Just Like A-Holes

It's been a while since I've done this.

First off, I am, by nature, a flake.
Second off, fuck off, I've got shit to do!


Let's start again.

I'll start the next paragraph saying something that I've said way too many times lately.
I'm sorry if I was rude to you. I'm a bit crabby today. I've been full of excuses lately, it seems.

Let's just say I've been busy. Too busy to write. Or do anything besides go to the gym and then (maybe) do laundry* and  take nap after lunch. So yes, I'm sleeping instead of blogging while my kids are napping and/or coming out of their rooms every 17 minutes to ask, "Is naptime over yet??"

I work 2-3 days a week as a high school teacher and I teach spin class at two different gyms, 2-4 times a week. I also moonlight as veterinary technician, assisting a veterinarian in exotic animal surgeries (think rabbit rumenectomy** or an iguana inguinal hernia repair) on weekends occasionally. There's also the odd, freelance (paying!!) writing gig for a veterinary technician magazine. And then there's the other veterinarian that I work for every now and again when someone calls in sick or gets married.

But enough about me, let's talk about crazy people. Not sadly crazy, like off-their-meds-and-he's-running-around-London-thinking-he's-Captain-Cooke kind of crazy (yes, I really know someone that did that). Not dangerous crazy either. 

Just harmless, Wow-I-can't-believe-that-someone-like-you-exists-in-real-life crazy.

How 'bout you sit and think on that one, tell me about your 'Enkounter with Krazy' story and I'll tell you about mine from a couple weeks ago?


(*psst...laundry has never actually gotten done after lunch time)

(**psst...there's really no such thing as a rabbit rumenectomy but if there was, I would totally assist in that surgery because it would be awesome!)