I got it into my head recently that I need to do strength training. I want to do something on the days I can’t swim. Also swimming in Portland in winter is a cold experience. My pool is indoors but there’s just a chill you can’t shake off. So I wanted to learn about free weights.

My gym offers a class called “Body Sculpt Plus Abs.” I called to see what this was all about and it sounded like a good place to start — free weights, some cardio and abs. I arrived this morning and in the class I found some of the old ladies I’ve seen in the pool. I was super excited because the old ladies in the pool are gentle and kind and we swim and hang out and the world is okay!

Seeing the old ladies meant that the class would be more like lady bonding time and loving ourselves the way we are than a public display of my lack of rhythm. So I greeted them and settled in and class began. I kept up through the warm ups, and then the free weights started. And I was okay for a few reps but soon, very soon, I could barely lift my hands to my shoulders and the instructor told us that if we couldn’t find our seven pound weights, just double up with the fives, and twos.

I was using five pounders and at that point, I went looking for these two pound weights, not to double up, just to show myself some mercy. Meanwhile the old ladies, the gentle old ladies from the pool, were not even breaking a sweat. They acted like they were feeling the burn at the appropriate times, but I suspect they were just putting the instructor on.

During the abs section I had this thought: “Oh god, I am going to vomit.”

When it was over, I tried to keep it together, but decided changing back into my street clothes would sap the strength I would need simply opening the door to my home and perhaps taking a shower. Forget washing my hair. I wouldn’t be able to reach it.

The old ladies, however, were chatting and catching up and doing some women bonding without me.

I got home, wept while taking off my sports bra, got into a hot shower and tried to figure out how to fool the menfolk into believing I’d made dinner, when I had, in fact, ordered take out and requested the driver plate the food and then, once the driver left, somehow convince Tyler to put the food in my mouth because I was fairly certain, I wouldn’t be able to manage this.

I am planning to attend the class again on Monday because I’m a sadist. But I also want the old ladies to know that I am on to them. I AM ON TO YOU OLD LADIES!