Sticking it to the car inspector

Got the car inspected today. Thankfully, it passed. As well it should, given we recently pumped over $1,200 worth of repairs into it. Still, its odometer reads 146,902 miles and a car can’t last forever, as people don’t. The anxiety of sitting there waiting for the judgment to come down — the judgment of one man with bad teeth, neglected skin and a dorky hat — can seem unbearable. And not so good for one’s own health.

IMG_1210[1]Ours is probably not the safest car in the world, just as I’m not the fittest person in the world. Given the precisely wrong alignment of circumstances, this 2005 Honda Element (they don’t make ’em like they used to? They don’t even make ’em anymore) could prove a death trap like any car on the block.

Yet it got its sticker, a free pass for another year to terrorize the streets, like a gold star from a fussy piano teacher for having mastered this week’s etude.

In another state, under a different set of measures, it might not have qualified as “safe.” Even at another garage, a different greasy guy who might have been grouchier that day or more nitpicky or didn’t like the way I looked might have slapped on the blanched circle with a spike through it, that symbol of shame with which I would have paraded around marked as if with a scarlet “A” for 15 days and eventually pay through the teeth to spare society, those other drivers I share the road with, to get whatever it was “fixed” — or merely passable — up to the standards of some random guy’s random judgment.

It’s like going to get your bloodwork done or getting a physical and waiting anxiously for results. As if these gauges will finally tell me what I’m about, as if any of it would come as a surprise. At some point the numbers dictate how many pills I have to take, how big a dent in my disposable income I suffer, how great a percentage of my toiling at work gets rechanneled back into merely extending my days tethered to my desk.

This is him, ladies. The man who make our live a living hell every time we step on the Wii Fit and the little animated scale on the screen wiggles its carthodes at you: shame, shame, shame.

This is him, ladies. Adolphe Quételet, the man who makes our lives a living hell every time we step on the Wii Fit and the little animated scale on the screen wiggles its cathode rays for shame, shame, shame. See the evil in his eyes.

Is my BMI within the arbitrary scale for what’s “normal” as decided by some mid-19th-century Belgian statistician, Adolphe Quételet, whom no one has ever heard of and was probably a freakishly built endomorph who suffered from apoplexy (which he did), massive internal bleeding, ensuring he weighed significantly less than your typical red-blooded, prepping-for-a-doomsday-famine American?

No. Yeah, I’m not normal. Once again, I’m off the charts. An alien who cannot pack herself into the confines of what it means to be safely human and live an expected average life span of 81.2 years because I behave beyond the limits of what’s needed to merely survive. I miscalculate every day the amount of stored energy I need vs. what I expend, writing instead of running, reading instead of reaching for it, getting inspired instead of physical. I don’t need any bad-girl sticker, people can just look and see the internal imbalance.

But the car passed the test. I might have a heart attack or stroke behind the wheel, but the vehicle is A-OK, my ticket to tool around among unwitting mortals another year. Don’t have to sweat this again until March 2014.

Whee.

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Kazaxe: High-impact clubbing

Disco ball in blue

Image via Wikipedia

This is not your mother’s jazzercise. It’s ladies’ night at 10 a.m. on a Monday morning.

Kazaxé (pronounced ka-za-SHAY), invented in someone’s basement by Asuka-Bom, seems a distant cousin to the Zumba craze. The difference is it doesn’t feel like anybody’s freakin’ craze, because it thrives with zero marketing, and retains a nasty, underground feel. Thanks to roaring word-of-mouth, it has been forced to move to a larger basement — behind the Total Wine (!) and entering at the loading docks, beneath the Annandale (Va.) Boys & Girls Club. (Tell them Terry sent you.)

This experience is for ladies of all ages — and a few good men — who don’t get enough club time. A $5 cover (or as little as $3.33, if you buy a multivisit pass) covers mingling, disco search lights, gargantuan fans, mirrors, ear buds for the booming music, water from fountains or a fridge stocked with bottled (it’s not open bar but 50 cents extra), and at least three sexy dancers on stage to emulate. There was even the smell of smoke, in every exhalation of the hyper, tattooed lady next to me.

I admit I got lost on some (OK, all) of the hip-hop moves, but it doesn’t matter if you do nothing but grapevines, electric slides or Sandra Dee‘s moves in “Grease” — you will sweat mercilessly, and each somatic cell — maybe even some gametic ones — will be smiling after the hour is through.

At the start of the dimly lit (thank goodness) class, instructor Farrah asked who was new, so I raised my hand, aware that she would then be spotting me for signs of crisis. At first I thought that my moves were to dancing what karaoke is to singing — best done in the privacy of my bathroom. Soon I found my zen, and she would check on me, coax out a little nod, so she knew I wasn’t going under. Twenty minutes in, though, when a frenetic merengue came on, I became a BEAST. My half-Puerto Rican heritage took over, my bottom half on automatic blender so I could focus on all the crazy arm moves. Wait, who is that caterwauling? Oops. Me.

But when the healthfully narcissistic guy on stage took the lead with his impossibly jive moves during a lightning-round remix of T-Pain‘s “Take Your Shirt Off” … teasing and finally, yes, stripping off his shirt, a-twista in da air like a helicopta … I knew I was hooked.

Time to buy more scrunchies.

A sampling: