My First Friend Foray

9 Sep

I am in pain.  My butt is sore.  My entire upper body aches – back muscles, pecs, shoulders, biceps and triceps, abs.  Even the muscles in between my ribs hurt.

“Oh, dear, Cathleen,” you say sympathetically.  “What happened?  Car accident?  Flu?”

No, dear reader.  I was just trying to make friends.

I went to the gym for a lunchtime kickboxing class, intent on putting my three friend-making strategies into action.  I had settled on the particular class, first, because I needed the cardio, and second, because I figured that the other attendees would include women like me, who had free time during the day, and were therefore good friend prospects.

The class was supposed to start at 12:15, but the instructor was having trouble with her microphone.  This gave me a chance to scope out the room (Friend-Making Strategy #1) and choose my friend prospects.

There were about eight of us in the class, all women.  Two looked to be college age – too young for me.  There was one woman whom I judged to be older than me but who had rock-hard, sharply defined, stunning calf muscles – too much of a gym rat for me.  Two other women looked generally toned enough to be intimidating.  Standing in the back – always a good sign – was a woman I judged to be roughly my age.  She was neither overweight nor noticeably muscled – like me.  She had shoulder length blond hair pulled back in a ponytail.  The perfect friend prospect.

At 12:20, the class started.

Let me interject here that I think I’m in relatively good physical shape.  I don’t work out as much as I would like, but I have had a gym membership for 16 years, and I use it at least once a week.

However, by 12:25 I was breathing heavily and wondering whether I really felt a pain in my jaw, or whether my brain and body were scheming behind my back, so to speak, to convince me to leave the class.

By 12:30, my hair was damp, I had a fine sheen all over my face and arms, and I could feel drops of sweat dripping down my back.  I began fantasizing about stripping off my t-shirt and finishing the class in just a sports bra.

By 12:35 I was done.  Ready to leave, to give up, to throw in the towel, and slink out of class.

But I couldn’t.  I had to stay, to talk to my friend prospect.  Leaving the class early would have meant giving up at my first attempt at friend-making friendliness.  So I stayed, kicking and punching as best I could and praying desperately to God that the class would end at one.

I took as many water breaks as possible.  At one point, as I stepped away from whatever kick-punch-jump routine we were engaged in to take swig from my water, I was pleased to see that my friend (to be) was also taking a break.

Although the class did not end at one, the kick-punch-jump part of it, mercifully, did, and we spent the last 15 minutes doing ab work (hence, the sore abs).  I was pleased to see that my friend (to be) was, like me, modifying the tougher ab exercises.

After class, I strolled casually over to where she was standing.

“Do you do this class regularly?” I asked.  (FMS#2)

She shook her head.  “Oh, no.  This was my first time.”

“Me too,” I said.  “It was so hard!  I can’t believe how out-of-shape I am.” (FMS#3)

“Yeah,” she said.  “I’ve been doing a kickboxing video this summer, but it is nothing like the class.”

We continued our conversation as we left the studio.  I walked with her to the locker room and learned a few bits of biographical information about her.  I didn’t do a terribly good job telling her about myself, and I didn’t learn her name.  However, the conversation ended with, “See you next week!”

I was so pleased with myself that when I saw another classmate in the elevator, I struck up a conversation with her too.

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4 Responses to “My First Friend Foray”

  1. Karen September 9, 2011 at 1:27 pm #

    Well done! Glad you got off to such a quick and positive start.

  2. Tina September 9, 2011 at 4:09 pm #

    Good job! You’re brave to take these uncomfortable steps, and even braver to write about it for others to read! Sounds like I need to try a kickboxing class!

    • Cathleen Barnhart September 9, 2011 at 4:22 pm #

      Thanks Tina! If you want to rediscover muscles you’d forgotten that you have, I highly recommend kickboxing.

  3. Clara Barnhart September 9, 2011 at 9:24 pm #

    Cathy you are adorable!! I love you and I’m sure all of your new friends will too.

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