Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Fitness Fair Fiasco
With a beautiful mother's day lunch in my belly, I can now gather the strength to tell you what happened to me yesterday.

I got up at 6 AM and met Luca and PierPaolo who were my ride to Rimini. It was Saturday. My day OFF. This fair cost me 40 euros. I was paid nothing.

We started off with a bang in that when Luca pulled up to the gas station and smoke started coming out of the diesel dispenser. He charged up 100 euros and 64 gallons only to find out that there was no actual fuel coming into the tank. That is when you start saying things in my new neighborhood that sound an awful lot like Porca Miseria.

After that things got worse.

Pierpaolo decided to torture the people in the car I was originally supposed to ride in by sending them instagrams of the muffins and hot coffee that F packed for me to bribe people to like me, basically. He also called to tell them how delicious it was and how it sucked to be them. I suspect he had wanted to be in the car with our younger, hipper coworkers but he got stuck with me and Luca who is a very sweet man of about 50 years of age who has worked at the fancy gym for the last 27 years and teaches Pilates and Striding. He's not a big talker that Luca, but I basically interviewed him on the way home and brought out his inner chatterer. It helped that neither of us wanted to fall asleep as he was driving and he had about six cups of coffee. When we got to the Autogrill we met up with the other car. I was grouchy and tired and they pretended they liked me to get muffins. They greeted me in this theatric, silly way and then Pierpaolo held tight to the bag. This one girl got kind of huffy and I gave her a muffin, but I didn't distribute them around because I figured they could fight it out with Pierpaolo and that, of course, was a huge mistake. It was the kind of thing I wouldn't have let happen if everyone spoke English and I was awake. Anyway Sara the Zumba teacher is not my biggest fan and so she has started to wear on me. It doesn't help that she has taken to entering a room by jumping in hip first and making Zumba noises like EEeeh EEeeh. It always reminds me of that Ostrich who swallows a bicycle horn in Curious George. Anyway, it's annoying. Two hours later we got to Rimini.

This is the line to get IN.

I couldn't believe how big this fair was. It was bigger than the Jacob Javitts Center in New York. It was mostly indoors and it took miles to get through halls A - D. Pierpaolo had an arm strap with his phone and money in it and he advised me to travel light. I am an excellent packer and I had my stretch ball, and lunch, and all the left over muffins, and a water bottle, a change of clothes and shoes, a mini umbrella, a travel cosmetics bag, and a camera, but I ended up going for food and water. I put my phone and keys in my tampon case which fits in the palm of my hand. Then I stuck the tampons in one of the pockets of my book bag and shoved it all in the trunk. This is a good packer's nightmare. In a way it was good that I listened to him because there was nowhere to put your bag if you wanted to participate in a class and there was a lot of ground to cover through the crowds.

When I first got there I was greeted enthusiastically by Nicolas and by Leonardo. Nicolas as we know is a flirt and a half and he is equal opportunity and so I have stopped entirely feeling flattered by him. I don't even know if he likes me at all as a person or if it is just his shtick. Very Disappointing. Leo is that crazy Zumba guy who takes all the Zumba classes he can and travels to find the best ones and is obsessed with it. He is the mascot and surrounds himself with pretty South American and Italian girls. They pet his head and he pants. Adorable. Anyway, he hugged me and put his arm around me and since my female coworkers were all ignoring me, I went with it. He let me try the boring ballet workout for a minute and then we went to Zumba. Predictable. You should know that he had already been at the fair for two days, by the time I got there. His enthusiasm was still high.
This is Leo and some of his Zumba ladies. I took about six photos of him with different groups of women. I am pretty sure he never actually seals the deal, unfortunately.
The thing that makes an Italian fitness fair, well, Italian is that it reeks of cigarette smoke. As with all fitness fairs, I imagine, everyone is both trying to get attention and to conform. I saw 99 variations on Zumba, including Bokwa. There was not even room on the fake dance floors in front of each exhibition so we had to stand on the rug in the aisles and try to make out what the instructors were doing even if it was completely different from what was going on the video screens behind them.

Every five minutes, Leonardo who speaks a heavily Spanish flavored Italian which I cannot understand, bumped into a pretty dark haired girl who hugged him and patted him and glared at me. He went off dancing with one of them finally and I told him I was going to take off to try to bond with my coworkers. I couldn't find any of them. For THREE hours. I called, but no one's cell phone had any reception. I gave up and sat down and watched people get yelled at and do partner push ups and jump over one another. To my right were people sliding on plastic mats with big slippers on their feet and knee pads on their knees gliding laterally. It hurt to watch.

TWO hours later I got a call from a client named Paola who had come to Rimini with her husband and teenage son to see the fair and do tourist stuff. They were staying overnight in a hotel. When she called the music from three different loud speaker systems was blaring so loudly that I had to shout A5 at her and hope that she could find me. She did. FORTY-FIVE minutes later. I ate some tofu. I drank water, but not so much that I would have to use the disgusting public bathrooms. My nerve pain in my legs was atrocious. I had a migraine headache. After a bit, I told Paola I couldn't take anymore and I was going to say goodbye to her and go sit near the exit until I spotted someone from work and it was time to go. I walked right into the owner of the gym and everyone. Five minutes later an organized flash mob erupted around us and a lot of people in white including my coworker Ricki burst into the minnie mouse sped up version of RESPECT. It was atrocious. Ricki is a good dancer, though.
There was zumba on steps and on trampolines.
There was Gangam Style Zumba.
There was Zumba Zumba. And Zumba on chairs.
These are some of our clients having a much better time than I had.
Some of the women looked like this when they were not in a fake photo cutout.
Here are some of them.
These people went zip lining. I didn't see it, but . . .
It's the landing I worry about. . .

These people did pole dancing in the water. Not for all the money in the world . . .

They did Zumba on uneven surfaces . ..

This is the daughter of somebody famous. EEeeha EEeeha. (Insert Zumba noise of enthusiasm.)

This is Diego. The Technogym drummer. He took my class twice and found out I was old and married. I haven't seen him since.

Here's Bokwa. Which is um Zumba.

This is how many people like Zumba. I am not one of them. This whole day was a Dr. Seuss book of Would you do Zumba in a tree? Would you do Zumba with a flea? Would you do it with a mouse? Would you do it with your spouse? No, I will not do it with a yam. I will not do it -- me I am.
I love my family who put everything in perspective after I haven't peed for twelve hours and I feel old and I am not sure how I got here. 

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