Soul Cycle, LA. I’m playing hooky and taking a mid-day class, hoping to get high-school skinny by the end of the class.
I’m surrounded by 50 or so incredibly good looking women all waiting for class. They’re not really women, they’re actually newborns. So young. they don’t need to get high-school skinny because they probably have yet to go to high school. But what better way to spend a day, than a pre-emptive strike against fat you will someday have.
A girl with tattoo’s and piercings squeezes in next to me. From the looks of the wireless microphone hovering over her ear, I assume she’s the teacher or a very confused air-traffic controller. She turns to me, a very serious look on her face.
“Who’s that girl..the one on “I Love Lucy?” she asks.
You mean, Lucy? I say.
“Yeah!” she says, now looking at me like I’m Phi Beta Genius. “Lucy! That’s totally it,” she continues. “Don’t you hate when a word is on the tip of your teeth and you just can’t remember it? I would have been up all night just trying to remember the name of that lady from I Love Lucy.”
It’s Lucy, I say again knowing there’s a chance that in the past ten seconds of our conversation, she’s forgotten.
The door to the spinning class opens, everyone files in.
A girl chimes in over my shoulder, as I set up my bike. “I never would have known that,” she says. “I went to public school. We never really studied the classics.”
A few of her friends nod in agreement.
I get on my assigned soul cycle bike, #40, of course, middle row. The front row of any spin class is for show-offs, the back row for the fatties who want to hide when the teacher screams inspirational bumper sticker themes like, “What do you want?” knowing full well that what they want is a cookie. I stick with the middle row. This turns out to be a very good decision.
The teacher, the tat’d up gal who didn’t know who Lucy was, cranks up the tunes and screams, “This is for MCA!” referring to the recently deceased member of the Beastie Boys. All the Preemies in the class scream, “Woot!” and wave their towels in the air like an angry bunch of Barbies on the verge of war. They start to spin their skinny little legs to the beat of the music and I wonder if anyone else in the room, besides me, actually knows just who the hell the Beastie Boys are.
A bright light fills the room. I look up to see a guy toting a camera over his shoulder. The teacher introduces him, a cameraman filming the class for the local news. Fuck, I think to myself, depressed that I live in a city where 50 anorexic pre-pubescents and one 40-year-old pedaling bikes that don’t move, is newsworthy. All the Preemies perk up, hoping to get their first 15 minutes of fame. I, of course, hunch down, knowing full well that no one looks their thinnest slumped over a bike. And anyway, shouldn’t there be some sort of rule, like if I paid for a class, I don’t also have to work as a biking extra for the local news?
I remain determined to ignore the Woot’ing, ignore the local news camera blast and just do what I came to do, burn every inch of fat off my aging body. But with each passing song, it becomes clear to me that the cameraman has set his sites on a few select spinners, namely the ones with the flattest stomachs, revealed by the smallest tops, worn by the youngest girls. Sure, I didn’t want to be on the news, but this cameraman, this ageist, is not going to box me out. I. Won’t. Let. It. Happen.
I spin a little faster.
The girl in front of me perks up as the camera focuses her way. I’m sure it’s because, in a sea of black-clad spinners, she’s wearing fuscia. It’ll look good on camera, I tell myself as I count each of her ribs through her exposed skin.
I spin a little faster.
The girl to my left smiles a coy smile as the cameraman does a close up on her legs, now moving like a hamster in a habit trail.
Fuck her, I think to myself, She’s not even that good, I think as I spin faster.
Finally, the camera man sets his camera my way. I perk up, wipe the sweat from my brow and attempt to move my legs as fast as humanly possible. The light from the camera blares in my face. The Beastie Boys screaming, “So what’cha what’cha what’cha want what’cha want?” I want to get off this bike is what I want. But I can’t, the camera’s on me now. It’s my turn.
I pedal faster.
The camera moves in closer.
I pedal even faster.
I breathe deeper.
I dig my feet in.
The cameraman pushes his lens in…
…As a loud cracking sound mutes the Beastie Boys’ rant, my toe-clip breaking in two–half flying to hit the girl with the ribs in front of me, the other half stuck in my bike’s pedal. My bike screeches to a halt as my foot flies out of the now-broken pedal.
The girls around me look at me in horror, than return to ignoring me in attempts to woo the camera their way.
The Teacher barks into the mic that Soul Cycle is now offering beginner’s classes. She looks my way as she emphasizes BEGINNER’S.
I yell back, I’m not a beginner. I’m 40.
But no one hears me over the Beastie Boys asking us what we want.
I sit stunned on my bike.
The girls in the room seem to get younger.
And nobody seems to care that I’m not going anywhere. Except me.
I mouth to the cameraman, Sorry.
He whispers, “Don’t worry, I wasn’t filming you anyhow.” He nods behind me revealing an extraordinarily gorgeous 22 year-old who, despite spinning at a race-worthy pace, has complete lips and lashes in place.
The spin class spins on.
I unclip my other shoe, grab my things, slip off bike #40 and slither towards the door.
I’m almost outside when the teacher yells toward me, “What was her name again?”
Lucy, I yell back, knowing full well she’ll never remember.
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