Saturday, June 20, 2009

Dance of the Couch Potato (March 2, 2006)

So, here’s a secret: I’m a couch potato. I mean, seriously. A card-carrying, flag-waving couch potato. Give me a book to read, a program to watch, a website to browse, a fic to write, whatever. I’ll be happy. But try to put me into some kind of physical activity, not so much. I’m not athletically inclined, both because of ability and interest. So, all this combines into the fact that it’s hard for me to find some kind of exercise that I enjoy.

The one exception to this has always been the fact that nothing makes my heart pump—and my feet move—like music. Put me alone in a room with the stereo cranked up, and there will be some serious working out going on. But you notice I said “alone in a room”. I don’t want to be intimidated by others being around when I’m working up a sweat. I could’ve been really interested in the aerobics classes that became such a rage back in my youth, if it weren’t for all the people there. Really, they had everything: decent music, enough room to move around, and someone to guide you through a few steps so you didn’t end up looking like someone having a seizure. It could’ve been great. I might’ve even gotten over the idea of the people, if only all the people in the classes weren’t the perpetually cheery Barbie types who had mostly been fortunate enough to be born that way and really didn’t need to work out at all. I’ve always thought that gyms should have classes just for us fat people. But, I digress.

Anyway, the organized classes didn’t work out, so I got myself one of those miniature exercise trampolines. Really, with that thing and the Footloose soundtrack, a person could really get in shape. Then, later on, it was Richard Simmons and Sweatin’ to the Oldies. That was great. But all these things get monotonous after a while.

A few years ago, though, I discovered a great thing: they have dancing machines. They play music, and they show you arrows so you know which way to move your feet, and all you have to do is follow along. But, there is a problem with these wondrous contraptions: the only place I’ve ever seen them is in arcades. So, not only are they surrounded by people, they’re surrounded by young people who surely would only laugh and point when the old lady tried to get on and bust a move.

But more recently, I discovered that there are home versions that connect to video game consoles and play on your television. Well, what could be better? I put it off for quite a while, but a couple of weeks ago, I finally broke down and bought one. I mean, what the heck? My son had a game system he wasn’t using anymore, and I had at least one extra set of connection ports in my television; it seemed pre-ordained.

So now, whenever I get the house to myself, I power it up, pull out the dance mat (and the microphone, as this one has the added bonus of being a karaoke game, as well), and I go to town. Some of the music isn’t exactly up my alley, but enough of it is that I can find something to use. And, I have to keep the dance difficulty set on only the second level so far, but I’m getting better, and I hardly ever completely miss the arrows anymore. I mean, it’s not exactly Fred and Ginger—heck, it’s not Fred and Ethel—but it sure is a lot of fun. But, shh. That has to be our secret. I wouldn’t want to give up my couch potato card.