(Disclaimer: The following story will diminish me in some people's eyes, and elevate me in others. Read at your own risk.)
I went to the Queensview GoodLife for a team practice over the weekend. I noticed that they had finally upgraded the women's bathroom, after more than ten years of cringing every time I walked in. The small white tiles underfoot (underknee?) are now more modern, earth tones. The dated white countertop and sink (for leaning on and splashing my face with water), and large, cracked mirror (reflecting bleary eyes and splotchy skin) had been replaced.
The memories still flowed back, but not as strong.
It was late fall, 1997. I was working full-time at GoodLife, going to school full-time, and generally just losing my mind. Of course, I decided to take my instructor certification course at Queensview, over a weekend...which coincided with a late lab on Friday afternoon and our work Christmas party on Saturday night. Don't let anyone tell you that I didn't put all-out effort into everything back then.
Friday: The lab was just standard exercise physiology work: sometimes it involved running on a treadmill to measure VO2 max (red-faced, drooling around the breath hose, some vomiting), sometimes cycling on a stationary bike to measure lactic acid accumulation in the blood (sweating, bleeding, some vomiting), sometimes being submerged in tanks of water to measure body fat (bathing suits and -- oh yeah -- sharing exactly how fat you are with your peers). You know, standard horrifying experiments. This one, however, beat all the rest for personal discomfort and embarrassment: urinalysis. It is to the professor's credit that she waited till the last lab of the semester to bring out the old pee lab. By this point of the year, we were comfortable enough as a class that nothing much could phase us, but still, having to walk back and forth from the lab to the public bathrooms holding cups full of our own pee, was a tough go.
Well, at first.
We started by being assigned to experimental groups: coffee, salt water, insane amounts of water, reasonable amounts of water, and -- wait for it -- alcohol.
Leave it to me to be crossing my fingers and wishing for the alcohol group. And for once, I got what I wanted. Huzzah, I thought. This is working out well.
We were all sent off to the 'loo for a baseline sample...a big old cup of pee. That was more than a bit awkward. We checked each sample's density, presence of chemical elements which I don't now recall, and began.
The other two in the alcohol(ic) group were giant men - 6 feet or more in height, and BIG. They didn't even blink when they were handed their two shots of Crown Royal. Me, not so much. But really, what was I expecting, a cocktail?* I sipped as quickly as I could, shuddering and sputtering, but I got it down. For science.
The next few trips to the bathroom were, obviously, more fun. Giggly, even. We'd cheers each other with urine samples. Good times. A few hours later, we had written up our results, and were off.
By the time I left school to head to the gym, I was feeling much less drunk than I started, but knew that I probably had a bit of rye on the breath. Arriving at Queensview, I went straight to the woman running the course (Mo), boozily babbled an explanation about a human kin lab and needing to drink in order to pass, get a degree, become a contributing member of society, etc.), and tottered off to my seat.
Saturday: A full day of instructor training. It was mostly theoretical, with a lot of focus on anatomy and physiology, which was easy review for me. Every once in a while, we'd get up and go through some moves, focusing on cueing, choreography patterns, or conditioning various muscle groups. Not too taxing, and altogether a pleasant way to spend a day.
I went home to shower and get ready for our annual Christmas party. It started with a dinner, and I believe (this is where everything starts to get hazy) we were going to go out afterwards. I got all gussied up in my "naked dress" (a light peach slip dress that nothing good ever happened in), put $15 in my wallet (I was even more of a lightweight back then), and off I went.
The dinner was fun. There were a few head office attendees, including Mo and our regional manager. There was a chinese gift exchange, we made hats out of napkins (as evidenced by photos, not actual memories), and then we went back to Allie's place to continue the party. The rest of the evening went something like this: I was playing Twister....
Sunday: ...and then I woke up. In a strange bed. With shorts on over my dress. And $9 still in my wallet.
I dragged myself out of bed (which turned out to be Allie's), went home, showered and changed quickly, threw up, and went back to Queensview for my last day of instructor training. What was light and easy only a day before was suddenly impossible. The day went something like this: 40 minutes of theory, 15 minutes of practical, vomit. Forty more minutes of theory, 15 minutes of practical, vomit. All. Day. Long. I kept refilling my water bottle with cold water, and would always politely say, "excuse me," before leaving the group.
At the end of the day, All of my joints ached.** I was shaking, exhausted, and thoroughly embarrassed and disgusted with myself. The class, however, gave me a standing ovation. What a great impression on Mo, who had not only seen me stumble in after the lab, but was there the night before, and didn't think I'd survive the day! Go me! I thanked them all and excused myself one more time.
That night, I crawled into bed and called Allie. "What happened?" I whimpered. "How could I feel like this and still have $9 in my wallet?"
Apparently, head-office guy had been buying shots. And someone else covered the wine with dinner.
"And the shorts?"
Well, I was playing Twister in a dress.
So, it's been many, many years since that weekend. I look back and am still pretty embarrassed, and definitely question the wisdom of sharing this. But it happened. And everytime I go to that club, it makes me smile, for some reason. And it was a great story.***
*Actually, yes. I was totally expecting a cocktail.
**With several further studies (for science), I have come to call this "alcohol-induced arthritis".
*** And to be fair, the Friday night was, technically, school work, and the Saturday night was funded by GoodLife. I was overserved, as it were.