Do you remember when we were woken by the first plane at 6 am? Not that I miss it, but its absence, for so long now, marks the transition to this ‘new norm’. For myself I have good nights and bad nights: the bad ones tend to be on Mondays, I don’t know why. It means that my brain lets go about 5.30 am (thank goodness no planes) and I wake at 8.00 knowing I should do Interval Training on Zoom in an hour. My body feels wracked by the tossing to-and-fro of the night and I enter into a debate with myself about how it would be better to go back to sleep, while my guilt-conscious body refuses to let me rest. Part of me knows that I would hate myself if I allowed this paltry circumstance to stop me from attending a paid-for and registered meeting. The other part screams: WHAT ELSE IS DEMANDED OF ME! In the end I allow myself just 15 minutes to throw on leggings and top, though the intervening time of internal conflict has made me feel more wretched.
I do not participate in the jolly greetings of my other ‘Zoom mates’. I don’t know them and I’m glad that my muted mic doesn’t convey my scorn. There is nothing GOOD about this MORNING. Our teacher (let us call her ‘T’) eventually appears in her own square on the screen. Her tone is positive as ever, but I wonder how much sleep she’s had. Hair needs attention. God knows what I look like. She sets up in what looks like a free corner of a room in her house. Nice wood floor, one potted plant.
We have four simple exercises designed to promote heart rate, each one for 45 seconds with 10 secs rest before the next. I suddenly remember I need a knee support. Knee clicks becomes the percussion of the next half-hour. Step and tap what a simple exercise this is: we can do creative things with it. Make it big, make it small. Make it hard, make it soft. I fling my arms out and in and mysteriously discover there is good life in my bones. Next we do squats. Bad for my knee. I have to be careful, not go down too far. ‘T’ does all the exercises while keeping up a motivational and technical commentary. ‘Just 5 more seconds’. ‘Engage the core’. ‘Use those glutes’. How does she do it? I need all my breath just to keep going. Next we do step and leg curl behind. This is just gorgeous, like running in slow-mo over clouds. I just have to make sure I don’t look at anyone else on the screen so that my coordination crumbles. Last is step and knee lift. ‘You can add a hop if you like’. No, I don’t think so.
‘T’ says, ‘Very well done, we’re through our first cycle of four. How are you all doing?’ Pointless to ask since we are all muted. We go again. And again.... That initial rush of energy becomes a hard slog. I start to understand that I should pace myself better but I have a lot to prove. The nation thinks my age alone makes me a problem, while some talk of extending my quarantine indefinitely for the good of society. I’m a net drain on depleting resources.
At the end of the class I sit down in a comfy chair and consider my future.