Saturday, May 17, 2014

A Scientist, an Engineer And An English Prof Walk Into A Zumba Class...

Sounds like the setup for a joke, doesn't it?

It's funny how different people process information in different ways as a function of how their brains are wired.  This is brought home to me regularly in taekwondo class.  Some people can see an instructor do something and successfully imitate it without having to consciously break down each action involved: I am not one of those people.  The instructors have been giving me grief for years (gently and with good humor) because I will say things to them like "in that move, you turned counterclockwise 270 degrees, correct?"  The analytical, scientific mind at work.  The funny thing is that there happen to be four scientists who come to the morning classes and we ALL conceptualize moves in terms of angles and degrees, much to the amusement and confusion of the rest of the class.

One of the taekwondo instructors has been doing Zumba for fun for a while now, and she finally convinced me to try it with her a couple of months ago.  I'm pretty good at laughing at myself by this point, and I needed the extra cardio as part of my prep for the upcoming red belt test anyway, so I figured what the heck.  This particular instructor is an English professor in her other life and is also a trained bellydancer, so the Zumba moves come more easily to her than most.  Thursday night, we convinced another friend to join us for the class: this friend is a civil engineer.

Zumba, like many fitness classes, is repetitive to some degree.  Those of us in analytical sorts of fields are generally good at pattern recognition and processing, so the engineer and I were getting along ok right up until the teacher stopped following the pattern she'd set, at which point we'd look indignantly at each other because were were both completely thrown off by it every time.  All the while, the English prof was laughing her fool tail off at us both because she knew full well why we were having problems and she thought it was hilarious!  Payback time's a beast.

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