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A Lifeboat and a Swishy-Haired Diva

Friday, February 1, 2013

I read once about the lifeboat theory and I recently had an experience that validated it.  The lifeboat theory goes something like this: If you were stuck on a lifeboat with a female doctor, a garbage man, a sickly child, a stay-at-home-mom and a male lawyer, and were forced to decide who to throw overboard to save the others, who would it be?  Think about this for a moment. My lame brain threw the garbage man out with the trash when I first pondered the question.  It’s obviously a question of who holds enough worth to stay on the lifeboat.  The moral is that man is created equal, so really, everyone’s value is the same on the lifeboat because death doesn’t discriminate to age, race, gender, wealth or knowledge.
When I decided to throw the garbage man overboard in my selfish guess, I did so because I thought he wouldn’t be useful to the remaining survivors on the boat.  Surely the lawyer and doctor could be useful with all their book smart knowledge and stuff.  And c’mon, you can’t throw out the stay-at-home-mom.  I don't know why.  You just can't.  My decision was based on a process of elimination.  Although, the moral of the theory makes sense when I look at why I place people in order like that.  So I asked myself, “why do we (us silly little humans) get all pissed-off when someone cuts us off on the road or when we’re cut in line at the coffeehouse?”  I suppose it’s because we feel something.  For me, I feel like the person is doing me wrong in some way, and that lights a little pissed-off flame inside me.  I believe I feel like I wasn’t valued enough for that person not to cut in front of me.  After all, if I was valued then you would have walked you and your oversized ego to the back of the line like everyone else, right?  Right.
It’s really thoughtless to get pissed-off when you think someone did you wrong.  Getting angry when someone cuts you off while driving?  You’ll lose maybe a few seconds of speed.  But, somewhere along the way we learn that it is ok to fuel that pissed-off fire and pompously display the middle finger to the other driver for having wronged us.  And that’s all because we felt that the other driver was putting themselves before us.  Let’s be honest, we have all displayed our middle finger to someone else at some point in time.  Either you’ve been the line-cutee where someone has cut in line in front of you, or you are the line-cuter.  In other words, you have either physically put yourself before someone else, or you have had it done to you.  You have either thrown someone off the lifeboat or someone has thrown you off the lifeboat.
I was thrown off the lifeboat yesterday.  There is this really annoying woman in my Zumba class.  She's this breathtakingly beautiful J.Lo look alike who could rival her to a booty-shakin’ contest.  She wears her long chestnut hair down – not tying it back into a pony-tail like the rest of us (seriously, who leaves their hair down during a workout?!)  She wears shorty-shorts, smacks her gum, wears full makeup, and eyes herself adoringly in the dance-studio mirrors while the rest of us pony-tail wearers sweat like pigs with our butts fully covered wishing we could avoid staring at ourselves in the gigantic floor-to-ceiling sized mirrors.  She is the embodiment of a diva.  She gave me a lifeboat moment and here’s how it went down…
I've been going to the Zumba class on post for the last six months or so.  Zumba is this incredibly energetic dance-style workout where it feels more like joining the girls at the club rather than enduring an intense workout.  I absolutely love it and attend class three days a week every week (it's that good).  Right around my fourth month of attendance, the beautiful J.Lo look alike started going too.  Well, I later learned that she was going there before me when it was under different instruction.  She was pregnant then.  So it seems that she took four to five months off of working out to have and bond with her baby.  During her time away is when I started going there.  In classes like this, regulars tend to find their groove in a particular "spot" in class.  It's very much like your unofficial (but you make it official) seat you claim in a college class auditorium or claim on your regular bus commute to work.  You sit there so often that when you show up and someone else is sitting there you feel "off" as you try to find another seat.  I know you know what I mean.
I have my unofficial (yet I made it official) spot in my Zumba class.  It's where I stand to get my sweat on during every class.  That is, until Miss Swishy-Hair started showing up in class again.  It seems that we both made this particular spot our official (yet it’s totally unofficial) spot.  It’s definitely become a cold war battle of the Zumba spot.  It’s such a great spot.  It’s the top-left corner where I can blend in and be out in front at the same time.  The light bulb directly above went out and has never been replaced making it the darkest place in the room where I feel the least overstimulated under the too-bright, fluorescent lit room.
Last night’s Zumba class got really ridiculous over this spot.  I was the very. first. person. in the classroom.  The very first.  I got there and claimed it by sitting there quietly waiting for class to start.  I felt like victory was mine.  I was there first and it’s a first come first serve world, right?  A few minutes later Swishy-Hair walked into the room, saw me sitting in the spot we both adore, and gave me the nastiest stink-eye of the century.  Oh, the cold war was on like donkey kong.  I was there all smiling inside like I had won the beloved spot for the night.  Little did I know that she would actually have the last laugh.
Little Miss, with her un-pony tailed hair and full make-up, decided she would stand really close to me forcing me to move to another spot.  Guys, I held out as long as I could, but she was so close that I was forced to move in order to have room to actually do the workout.  I ended up filing in directly behind her, and I returned the stink-eye as she ogled herself in that darn wall-mirror.  I think I even used her face as momentum during our cross-hook punch.  Real mature.
Last night, she was first in line – placed ahead of me - because she asserted herself in front of me.  Of course I got irritated at her.  I thought it to be really rude to stand so close, forcing me to move.  And of course I felt like she had put herself before me and that made me feel dejected.  If I had even an ounce of worth to her would she have placed herself (literally) ahead of me?  Perhaps not.
Later, I reflected about how I could hunt down the happiness in this ongoing war.  And you know what I decided?  If she wants the spot so bad that she makes another person feel uncomfortable, she can have it.  I thought a lot about why I go to this particular Zumba class in the first place.  It’s not to swish my hair in the mirror.  I don’t go to feel important – as if standing in front a room of 50+ people is self-validating.  I go because it makes me happy and proud of myself for sticking to my fitness goals.  It’s also really, really fun.  It’s my precious down-time away from the kids and husband where I can let off steam and escape.  I love it too much to give in to a petty cold war.  I don’t like feeling like I got thrown off the lifeboat.  But that feeling isn’t going to take away the happiness I feel after a good workout.  So, I’m ignoring the oversized egos and choosing the happy over my unofficial (yet I made it official) Zumba spot.

1 comment:

  1. Haha, love it. Your post really did make me think about the occasions when people put themselves ahead of me and vice versa. By the way, I wouldn't have thrown the garbage man off my boat because I could potentially use his strength. At first I thought I would get rid of the the lawyer because I don't much care about lawyers but then I thought I may be able to use his strength as well. So I ended up throwing the stay-at-home mom because what I didn't bring to the table myself, the doctor could. Is that bad?


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