Whenever I feel like I might be crazy, I find it helps to think about people who are more delusional than I am.
Sometimes I’ll think about Courtney Love, or people who think that Two and a Half Men is “The funniest show ever!”
But mostly, I think about a guy I used to date.
I met Jonas at a fitness club, while taking a step aerobics class he was teaching. Usually I make it a point never to take aerobics classes taught by heterosexual males who choreograph routines to “Dancing on The Ceiling.” But I could tell by his instructing abilities that he really knew his stuff.
“Five, six, seven, eight . . . Step. Feet together. Alright, now rock it out. Pull, reach and pull. You’ve got it. Now ride the pony. Ride that pony hard! Nice work! One more time all the way through. Five, six, seven, eight . . .”
One day after class, Jonas grapevined his way over to where I was sweating and started chatting me up.
“You were amazing,” he said.” “For a minute there, I actually thought you were riding a pony.”
It’s true. when it comes to aerobics, my coordination is so phenomenal that it’s impossible to tell where I end and the step begins.
“I get it from my dad’s side of the family,” I said, fluttering my perspiration-soaked eyelashes. “They’re Quakers.”
He told me he loved my squats. I said I was mesmerized by his shimmys.
We had so much in common. Not only did we both enjoy having an increased heart rate, we were also both single. We even liked the same emoticons. (The winky face, and the one of the mustachio’d pope with a forked tongue eating something spicy.)
It was as if the Gods of the Crystal Light Aerobics Challenge had brought us together.
He asked me if I wanted to go out for a drink sometime. Drunk on a combination of endorphins and love, I said yes.
That weekend, he took me to Jamba Juice.
Because I had never dated an aerobics instructor before, I was nervous. First, I decided to play coy. Then I remembered that I don’t know what coy means. Finally, I just decided to wing it.
Right away, I could tell there was something different about Jonas. He just didn’t seem as “bouncy”. Also, I couldn’t help but notice that his speech was slightly slurred. I must have been staring, because he asked me if something was wrong.
“Oh, nothing,” I said. “I mean, I was just going to say that you have beautiful eyes.”
“Thanks,” he said. “If you play your cards right, maybe I’ll let you borrow them.” I laughed. He reached into his satchel and pulled out a melon baller. I changed the subject.
“So, what do you do when you’re not teaching aerobics?” I asked.
He said he was an entrepreneur, and was working on his latest invention.
“It’s called mind-step aerobics. It’s just like step-aerobics, only it’s for the mind.”
I asked him how many imaginary calories it burned.
“If I told you, I’d have to kill you.” I laughed. He pulled out an apple corer and drew it across his neck in a cut-throat motion. I looked around for alternate escape routes.
We walked up to the counter. Jonas ordered the vitality superfruit juice with extra EXTRA blueberries. “I want to be able to see them antioxidizing in my cup,” he said.
During the date, Jonas talked about aerobics. I talked about myself. He showed me pictures of his aerobics medals. I showed him my bored face. He asked me if I believed in the power of jazz hands. I said no. He pushed me off my stool with his jazz hands.
Later, he invited me back to his house for a night cap. Drunk on probiotics, I agreed.
After making me a wheat grass shot, he went to his room to “slip into something more comfortable.”
When he finally came out, he had his bedsheet wrapped around his body like a toga.
“Twelve-hundred thread count Egyptian cotton,” he said, hugging his body. “It’s like being molested by a cloud.”
Jonas walked over to the stereo and hit play. “Now it’s time to really dance on the ceiling,” he said, shuffling his way over to where I was sitting.
“I hope you don’t think I’m going to sleep with you,” I said. He laughed. I laughed. Finally, I was starting to feel a real connection.
Seven minutes later, while in post-coital embrace, he told me that his heart would be forever mine. I told him the same thing I tell every guy I sleep with on the first date: “Ditto.”
“Really?” he said. “Well, then why don’t we make this official?”
“You…you mean marriage?”
He laughed. “Of course not, silly. I meant let’s transplant our hearts into each other.”
While he was in the kitchen looking for an ice-cream scoop, I quickly threw on my clothes and ran out the door. Then I did the half-walk-half-cab ride of shame home.
Because I changed my number and cancelled my gym membership, I didn’t find out until later the reason for Jonas’s strange behavior. Turns out he’d been suffering from temporary brain damage after being scissor-kicked in the head by one of his students.
Unfortunately, by then I had already developed a thing for my yoga instructor.
A few weeks later, while surfing the net, I came across a story about a jealous Pampered Chef Consultant, who stabbed her cheating fitness instructor ex-boyfriend with a paring knife.
Granted, she was the one who killed him, but still. I couldn’t help but think it was a sign.