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A couple of months ago I noticed a new woman in my Zumba class at the gym. Typically, I am concentrating on remembering the dance moves more than noticing who surrounds me in class. I love that Zumba class but I am not the best dancer. However, the reason that I noticed this older woman was because she was really bad. She couldn’t get the steps right. She was always on the wrong side. She was continuously a few counts late. This would not have gotten my attention except she was right behind me. Instead of concentrating on my workout, I found myself trying not to bump into her.
Yes, she was pretty bad but amazingly, she kept coming back. Week after week, she arrived to class with a smile on her face. And each day, I found her in the spot directly behind me. As she became familiar with the dances she improved but she was still way behind in the moves. Selfishly, I began to resent being next to her but I didn’t want to give up my spot. I am not sure why this happens but in gym classes, the regulars get attached to a spot and they always go there. I did admire her persistency. If I was that uncoordinated in a class, I would probably not be back. But she was always very cheerful and seemed to be having as much fun as everyone else. It was only on the days that she arrived late that she did not get the spot behind me. And secretly, I was thankful.
Last week, there was a day that I arrived to class a bit early than usual and there she was, right behind the spot that I am always in. I glanced around and decided to try out a new place, just a few spots over from where I usually am. Just as I was talking myself into the comfort of my “new spot,” I saw the woman look my way and begin to walk over. She stopped in front of me and said with a thick accent, “Oh no, you go there” and she pointed to where I usually stand. “You see, I watch your feet to help me. You know all the dances so I watch you.”
Suddenly, I felt very ashamed. All this time, I was trying my hardest to get away from her and she was purposely standing behind me. I was helping her without even knowing. I smiled and moved over to my regular spot.