Zumba on President's Day
On President’s Day this year, I went to a Zumba class at my local YMCA.
When I dance, I look sort of like a large, wet noodle; same color, same looseness.
Dancing makes me happy.
The teacher wears those Zumba pants with the ribbons on them. Like me, like me, like me, she’s a white lady. The things I know about her are: she has two kids who go to a Catholic school, she’s a decent dancer, but she still gets really thrown off and oddly defensive if she messes up any steps.
She’s nice, like me like me like me, but on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day the week before, she had said, “Here’s an African song in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!” The whole rest of that class, I fantasized about saying to her, “Hey, Africa is a continent, and MLK was from Atlanta.” I ended up just leaving an anonymous comment in the YMCA comment box about how I love her class, but maybe she could research the songs and find out where they really come from.
It is, perhaps, the biggest challenge of my life my life my life to consider that I might not be the hero of
So on President’s Day, the Zumba teacher begins the class by saying, “Hi, everybody! Happy President’s Day.” I’d had too much coffee and without a moment’s pause, as if she was doing the call and I was doing the response written in the church program, I yelled back, “Not my President!” I have a big voice, and it echoed in the dance studio. Like me against a tidal wave, I don’t think it was worth much. I think the stakes have never been lower.
It was like throwing a big, bouncy ball to a room full of people, and nobody caught it. Nobody tried to catch it. Nobody moved, and it just bounced around the room until it rolled to a stop. I think somebody giggled for half a second. But everybody seemed stunned and embarrassed for me. Then a woman in front of me turned around with a look on her face like she smelled cat shit, and she said, “It’s SO hard, isn’t it?” I don’t know what the fuck she meant. I thought at least a couple of people would clap or agree with me. Maybe they did agree. But we just got on with
the dance class after that. My Zumba teacher pretended nothing had happened and moved on. But I bet she knows now it was me who left her the anonymous comment about MLK.