water aerobics = punk as fuck

i had my first water aerobics class today. my friend jaimie & i signed up for one together. she was agitating for one of the early morning classes that meets at like 5:30am, but i didn’t want to spend all summer getting up at 5am for water aerobics & then going home & sleeping away the morning, so i picked an early evening class that meets monday & wednesday.

i have never done water aerobics before & now i am totally wiped out. i’m glad i signed up for it though. i think today is the sixth day in the row that the temperature in lawrence has been over 90 degrees (that would be the equivalent of high 30s for celsius folks). today was just under 100 degrees. i handled it well for the first few days, & then i gave up. i bought a black cotton jersey dress on sale that is basically the equivalent of wearing a really light summer nightgown in public. it has chiffon pleating on the straps so it fools people into accepting it as real clothes. even jared has accepted that it’s too hot for his usual system of fans & open windows creating air currents & cross breezes throughout the house. he’s been turning on the air conditioning before i even ask.

so jumping into a nice cool pool after suffering through a 97-degree day felt awesome! i expected the class to be all old ladies, plus me & jaimie, but there is in fact only one old lady, who recently got a knee replacement. i think her son & daughter-in-law are taking the class with her as a mother’s day present. everyone else is more or less my age. let’s just say that there are a lot of tankinis in this class.

my back was hurting all day, but i realized after i got home from class that the pain was gone. & this is despite the fact that i kind of overdid it in class. i was like, “holy shit! i am actually good at water aerobics! too bad it’s not actually a sport.” i was blazing by all my classmates during all the exercises that involved crossing back & forth across the pool. i maintained good form during all the leg & arm exercises. but that might just be because i was the only person there who didn’t feel kind of embarrassed about being at water aerobics. everyone else may have been kind of slumping down in the water in an effort to hide from the scuba divers who were clearly taking a far more exciting class on the other side of the pool. i mean, seriously? scuba diving classes? in kansas? i always just assumed that the scuba shop was a drug front.

yesterday, we went to a very weird, un-air conditioned show. i noticed a woman there in full make-up, a crinoline under her dress, fishnets, heels, a designer clutch, & approximately thirty garishly-colored psychobilly-style tattoos. she sat down next to me while jared was off playing pinball & started making fun of people’s outfits to me. it was weird because a) why the hell would someone select me to play statler to their sartorial waldorf? i was just wearing jean cut-offs & a plain black t-shirt. & b) when you’re rocking a crinoline & at least two dozen psychobilly tattoos, you’re kind of living in a glass house when it comes to fashion. but we did have a good chuckle at a dude who was wearing a button-down shirt slit up the sides with an undershirt underneath. she was like, “how sweet! he wore his best shirt. i should get his number.” i pointed out that he was straining his buttons a little & had perhaps created vents up to his armpits so the shirt would fit. what a look.

then she started complaining to me about how kids these days have no idea what punk is all about. perhaps i should mention that she was probably about ten years older than me. i don’t know if she assumed i was her age or if she just enjoyed having a captive audience, but she was all, “kids these days wear band t-shirt with khakis. khakis! punks do not wear ball caps & khaki. frat boys wear ball caps & khaki. no wonder their bands are so terrible & not punk at all. kids these days play ukeleles & they think that’s punk! they sing r. kelly songs & think they’re being ironic & punk! & when you call them on it, they’re feelings get hurt. hurt feelings are not punk!” i have to admit, i laughed. it’s true, hurt feelings aren’t very punk.

then jared & i had a long conversation about how we don’t really feel all that punk anymore. rita was there (she had just finished playing a set of what psychobilly lady had assumed to be r. kelly covers, even though it was more like t-pain) & she was like, “what?! you have a big anarchy symbol on your chest & knuckle tattoos. that’s totally punk. & jared, your t-shirt doesn’t have any sleeves. that’s punk as fuck. you guys are like the king & queen of punks.” jared was wearing his astrid oto t-shirt. a really excited dude came up to him & was like, “whoa, astrid oto! is that a patch or a print?” jared confirmed that it was a print, that it was in fact a 100% genuine astrid oto t-shirt, & the guy was like, “that’s awesome! i love astrid oto!” when he left, jared said, “i didn’t know if i should explain that i used to live with the kids in astrid oto. i wasn’t sure if that would sound like a cool story that explains the provenance of my shirt, of if i’d sound like an asshole bragging about knowing some cool band.” i told him he should have told the story, because i think astrid oto is unknown enough for it to not sound like bragging. right? plus, astrid oto is an awesome band & it was legitimately awesome that some random dude shared his love of them with us. it reminded me of how i used to make friends with other punks back before i was old & jaded & assumed that every story about how someone used to live with the kids in astrid oto was just some asshole trying to sound cool. sometimes i miss those days.

Published by Ciara

Ciara Xyerra wrote zines for the better part of two decades. She has a brilliant & adorable preschooler named Ramona & sews as much as she possibly can. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her boyfriend. She enjoys catching up on "The New Yorker", meatball subs, keeping it cranky, intersectional post-third wave feminism, dinosaurs, & monsters. If you have nothing nice to say, she recommends that you come sit here by her, so you can say not-nice things together.

One thought on “water aerobics = punk as fuck

  1. Yeah I’m always saying to myself that I’m not punk anymore and don’t feel like I have been for awhile. *picks dumpstered food out of teeth with septum spike while picking nose with tattooed finger* hehe

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