"I've got exciting news," a coworker announced as she entered my workspace, closing the door behind her.
Not the Zumba thing again, I think to myself, bracing myself, because I know- KNOW- deep in my heart that it's the frigging Zumba thing again. I look up at her, slowly, and the look of wild excitement tells me that- yup it's the God damned Zumba thing again. Only this particular person could look so excited at the prospect of an hour of exercise. The only time you would ever see that look of pure, unadulterated enthusiasm on my face?
Maybe if I saw a chocolate fountain on a buffet line.
"Tuesday at 5:30, Meghan's coming back- for ZUMBA!!"
I force a smile at this.
"Really?" I say. "This Tuesday?" I say, thinking to myself, think of something QUICK.
She nods vigorously. "I wanted to give you the heads up. Because I know how disappointed you were last time when that thing came up. Right at the last minute."
"Yes," I say, with a nod. "It was really unfortunate timing that Alex got diarrhea so bad that day."
Because if there's one thing that's fucking awesome about having kids, it's this: A built in excuse note that no one will touch that you can wiggle you right out of any responsibility.
This is the formula:
(Insert child's name) has (insert gross medical condition. Explosive diarrhea works well. Ditto for ringworm.) so I won't be able to (insert duty you want to shirk.)
No body will ask any questions. They'll just pull a face, look all uncomfortable like, and say "I completely understand."
End of conversation.
But now she was standing in my office again, a look of hopeful anticipation on her face.
The thing is that I really do not want to hurt her feelings about Zumba. The first time she brought it up I made the mistake of saying "That sounds pretty cool. Maybe I'll check it out."
Really, I was only saying that to be polite. I wasn't going to check out Zumba any more than I was going to check out anything that might make me sweat. Unfortunately, she took this as wild enthusiasm, and firm commitment. For the ensuing week and a half she talked to me about Zumba every day.
"Try and come early," she told me. "You want to stand in the front row, that way the teacher can be more interactive with you. And that way, too, you can help us clear tables from the board room."
Clearing tables, too.
If there was any part of me that was in any way inclined towards this Zumba class, and believe me- there wasn't-- but if there was, this itself would have been a deal breaker for me.
I'm not moving any tables.
"Well, I'll have to see with Geoff's schedule right now. It's a very busy time."
Frankly, I'm surprised at how smoothly the lie comes out.
He works at a golf course. There's still two feet of snow on the ground.
Peak season this is not.
She looks slightly hurt, so I add, hopefully, "But we'll see."
She brightens up immediately. "You don't need to bring anything. Just a pair of spandex pants to change into."
Oh God help me if I have to go to this thing.
God help all of us.