I'm starting another one of my periodical fitness kicks, so it was early to bed last night and then first up this morning was a trip to the gym to try out a step aerobics class for the sake of something different, and the discipline of pushing through at someone else's direction. I'm not saying it was a mistake exactly, but there's no doubt that if you see a random member of staff lining up with the rest to be part of the class, it's a fair bet it's not going to be a cinch. Thus it proved.
I've tried various group exercise classes in my time, but it's never really been my thing, and today was my first attempt at step. Not only did it involve the expected stepping up and down onto a platform, but also a number of elaborately choreographed moves of such mathematical complexity that they would not have been out of place on a West End stage. And among this, I saw only one person looking lost; the vast majority of those present were obviously very familiar with the moves, suggesting that they are regular attenders.
As I gazed upon my increasingly beetroot-hued visage in the inexorable walled mirrors, bouncing up and down on my hard-working wobbliness, a ninja weeble amongst an army of lithe elves, the thought occurred to me that it was not so very surprising that I was feeling somewhat out of place. After all, if these people are so expertly executing these manoeuvres, it must mean that they come here practically every Saturday morning. Think about that. Who gets up every Saturday morning in their lives to take a step exercise class? At this point, the truth struck me with the magnificent force of the sudden enlightening insight: I was taking a step class with a dozen or so of the fittest people in London.
Of course, I must confess that this thought process was not as smooth as that last paragraph makes it appear. In truth, I could grip only snatches of thought between long periods of furious concentration trying to grasp the geometry of the workout. I stuck it out as best I could, seeing it through to the end with more water breaks than was perhaps strictly necessary - but it was 45 minutes long in total, and I'd had enough after five. Maybe I'll go back next week. We'll see.
And then I went and saw Slumdog Millionaire, which was much more fun and much less work.