Saturday, August 21, 2010

Biking to work

This is a sensitive topic. Depending on which day it is, the attitude towards biking to work varies wildly.

Two days ago, for example, it was raining all day, meaning that both the trip to work and the trip from work was carried out in full rain gear: trousers, jacket, and a plastic bag for my handbag and my Dave bag. (I asked the boyfriend what this type of bag was called in English, and he said, "Dave. Dave the bag." So Dave it is. He's very helpful (the bag or the boyfriend, you be the judge).)

The last time that much rain happened was... only a week ago. Then, the end result was that I forgot my bike helmet on the luggage rack on the train. (I've filed a missing luggage report for it, but no luck yet. In the meantime, I've borrowed the boyfriend's which he doesn't use anyway... I swear, people stare at me when I'm not wearing a bike helmet! They all know I usually do, so they silently judge me when I don't... I just know it!)

Anyway, rain is fine sometimes but preferably on the way from work. Two days ago, I spent all day feeling like I smelled ever so slightly plasticky, like wet rain gear and wet bike helmet. Yes, it's not only wet dogs that you can smell from a distance... that day, it was also me :)

And then there is the opposite day; when the sun is shining (not too brightly) and the wind seems just right, no matter how many corners you turn... well, almost ;) And it doesn't really matter if you're going to or from work, because the ride is all that matters in that moment. That is as different from the other day as salt from pepper. The good thing is that there may be more rainy days - but I know that there will be more days like this as well :)

To be honest, I've even started to feel The Urge (cue dramatic sound bit). I kinda always thought that people were exaggerating when they said that they were addicted to a particular sport or type of exercise. I mean, addicted? Come on! I've smoked for longer than I care to think about (but not for the last 6 months, FYI); I think I know about addiction! Turns out I don't... Not this kind, not until the day I woke up, and my brain was acting like the dog in "Up": oh boy, oh boy, I am so happy, you are my bike ride, and I love you, and oh boy, oh boy, you feel so good!"

Yeah, that freaked me out a little ;)

So what does all this mean? Have I become a total health freak? The stereotypical girl who orders only salads at restaurants, and then steals bites from other people's plates when their backs are turned? Is my hair splitting from all the washing? Have my legs gotten all sexy and muscular? No, not at all (except for that second-to-last one; that may be a matter of time). In fact, the sole unofficial reason for all of these actions: the ability to eat twice the amount of popcorn as usual without feeling too guilty about it.

What did you expect? :D

1, 2, 3, pause – 1, 2, 3, pause...

The boyfriend and I are taking salsa classes. We've been to two so far, and I am very excited about it – despite the fact that I don’t really have a sense of rhythm... or an ability to hear the beat when music is playing... or the ability to coordinate various body parts, when they need to do several things independent of each other. Like, feet do this one thing and at the same time, arms do this other thing. My brain (which is normally capable of multitasking, in the normal female sense of the word) basically shuts down. It's going to take some practice :)

The boyfriend has tried to teach me the basic steps before, and that worked reasonably well – until it stopped working. Once he didn't count out loud, or I started thinking about what I was doing, or started thinking about something else entirely (like the next meal... you know me), I lost the rhythm.

I’ve never taken dance classes before (that’s actually a lie; I attended one (1) hip-hop dance class several years ago), but I figured the teacher would start us off slowly the first time, right?

That was not the case. Absolutely not.

The lesson was 1½ hours. During that time we learned:
- Two different types of steps (one going back and forth, one going sideways)
- How to switch between the two types
- How to turn (for the girls – for the guys, how to lead the girl during the turn)
- How to dance with a partner
- How to dance close together with a partner (not that close! Except with the boyfriend ;))
- How to change partners in the middle of dancing

Unplanned, I also learned:
- That it’s a little difficult to find out where to look, whether you dance alone or with a partner
- That you don’t notice how your feet are feeling while dancing, but you will notice when the class is over
- That salsa is actually quite hard, exercise-wise. To be honest, I could have used a clean shirt to change into during the break :) (TMI? Too bad.)

For the second class, the teacher plunged ahead with new routines, assuming that we had all practiced and knew the first lesson by heart. (I definitely should have practiced more. I mean, I'm sure the guy could tell just by looking who of us had practiced enough... Guilty conscience right there.)

So during the second class we learned:
- A new kind of turn, double turn, and quadruple turn
- How to make the new turn and make the switch between the back-and-forth steps and the side-to-side steps
- And how to do all this with a partner

Phew!

Still, it is a lot of fun. And I’m looking forward to finding some appropriate music and starting to practice :D

Oh yeah, forgot to add: All of the steps, turns and routines listed above? I do them in heels.