Tuesday, January 18, 2011

No skipping hip hop

When did things swerve so much toward the everyday? I am subsumed consumed by roof repairs, property taxes, immigration papers, and just keeping the house clean amidst random items falling from the roof.

One everyday thing has risen from the mundane, however. My nightly exercise class, which I never attend nightly, fascinates me. It all began three months ago when I saw a chubby guy teaching hip hop in our neighborhood park. I did some digging and found out he was associated with Oaxaca's government campaign to offer free exercise classes in public spaces. Except he wasn't, because he came after the official teacher left. He set up his boom box, stacked in reggaeton, soul, pop and retro hits, and made everyone dance like mad, for at least an hour.

The women loved him so, one night, when he burst into tears, turned off the music, and engaged in a half hour speech I could not decipher, they embraced him. They gave him change for CDs and his mototaxi to class. They congratulated him when he proudly announced he has lost 10 kilos teaching the class. And they supported him pushing me to the front of the class to help him teach, though I tried to stay in back.

So, when 2011 came but the teacher did not, the women did not want to give up on the unofficial class. Perhaps the teacher abandoned them for a paid gig, or maybe he's going to gain back those 10 kilos. All I know is that the women still show up, bringing their own boom box and their own CDs. They quibble over steps, trying to remember his routines. And, at some point, they turn to me, and ask me to come up front and lead a couple numbers. I do it willingly now, because I see how they are struggling to keep the class a class, and working together.

It inspires me beyond the endorphin rush, watching them kick ball change and grapevine and mambo and salsa and merengue. At the end of every class, they gather to guilt trip one another into coming again tomorrow, bringing a bit more resolve into those 2011 resolutions.