This morning I experienced the longest hour of my life. Remember my old lady work out class that was wiping me out? Well, I’ve been attending twice a week and have managed to not die and perhaps get better and stronger so that by the end of class I’m able to walk out the door and contemplate doing something other than lying in the backseat of my car in the fetal position while trying to make my fingers strong enough to dial Fancyhats and ask him to drive me home and put me to bed for the next two weeks because dear lord I will never move again.

I might have gotten a little cocky thanks to this improvement. I might have started using the 7.5 lb weights instead of the 5 lb weights. I haven’t been sore in weeks. I was feeling confident and good and not like my arms would fall off at any moment.

Until today when Nora, our kind 50 year old teacher who plays The Temptations in class, was not teaching and a person named C was teaching instead. C walked in a few minutes late and stripped off her sweatshirt to reveal biceps larger than my husband’s. She had tattoos of dolphins leaping across them. Unlike Nora who greets everyone and tells us right from the beginning how glad she is that we’re there and this is the best thing we could be doing for ourselves on a Monday morning, C barked, “YOU’RE MARCHING.” And so we did.

We used just one set of weights and the foundation of the hour was squats. With weights. I think I did 150 squats. With an additional 90 lunges.

Where Nora will tell us that we’re looking good and that low weight repetitions will lead to slender, long muscles and let’s make the room bounce, everyone!, C simply repeated these phrases: “RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW.” “GOOD TIMES.” “I CAN’T HEAR YOOOOOOOOOOU!” And, awfully, “WHAT NUMBER ARE WE ON?!???” This last one was a killer because this is Portland and we are a passive people. Everyone was silent when she’d ask this because it’s the teacher’s job to tell us, not our job — we’re just here to get the slender muscles we want and to do the best thing we can do for ourselves on a Monday morning.

About 15 minutes into the class someone realized that we should respond to the number question because if we didn’t, C would just start us back at 20, even if we had done 18 fly lunges. By the time we all realized what we should be doing, none of us had any breath left, so some joker said 12 every single time. If I could have lifted my arm and run quickly, I would have clocked him with my 5lb dumbbell.

I am not a vocal person when working out. Mainly because grunting in public is just something I am not going to do. EVER. But I found myself grunting and whimpering along with everyone else.

At one point C said, “ARE YOU HURTING?”

And I said, “Yes” very firmly in my regular speaking voice. No one heard me because at a certain point in this class our senses stopped working just to preserve our sanity.

By the time the floor workout happened, I was numb all over. I probably could have done 100 more squats just because I’d lost control of any sort of feeling of right and wrong. We started with diamond pushups (C: “DIAMOND PUSHUPS. THAT’S RIGHT. I SAID IT. RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW.”) and I had to watch her to understand that I was to put my fingers together to form a diamond. We did 40 of them. I did all 40. And I was groaning by the end. I did plank for a minute, and side plank with a weight in my hand. I did that V thing from pilates and we tossed a weight from hand to hand while in this position (C: “PUMP YOUR ARMS. PUMP YOUR ARMS.”)

At the end, I thanked C for the class and she said, “Did you like it?” I said, “No.” She laughed as only a woman who is 5’2″ with biceps larger than my waist can laugh and then she punched me in the shoulder.

I’m back home now and already missing C. I think I’d like to take another class with her, but maybe one that’s just 30 minutes instead of the full hour.