That one time I joined a cult

That one time…

Most of the world’s best stories start with the same four words: “Remember that one time…?”. Say these four words out loud and I’ll bet that your mind fills in the blank the same way google suggested answers pop up in your web browser. This column is dedicated to some of my “that one time” moments. Some (most) of these moments are embarrassing, some are hilarious, some are truly moving, and all of them are truly memorable.


That one time I joined a cult 

You know, I never really got the hang of the Spanish imperative until I found myself in a dark room with strobe lights and pounding music.

Let me wind up a little.

Here’s a little grammar refresher for those of you who have repressed the memory of taking the SAT: the imperative mood is a gramatical mood that forms commands. Basically, every time your roommate tells you to “shut up!” (¡cállate!), or your grandma tells you to “eat more!” (¡come más!), they’re using the imperative. This mood was always one of the conjugations that I kind of just glazed over during Spanish class. It’s not that hard to form, and I just gave up on the irregulars. In short, I never really gave the imperative its full due. That is, until I joined a cult.

Given how commanding these words are by their very nature, they’re perfect for any sort of cult-like activity:

“¡Empuja, empuja!” “Push! Push!”

Her voice rang in my ear as I forced my poor legs to keep going. Push! Push!

“¡Pon más peso!” “Increase the weight (resistance)!”

Loathing her, I twisted the knob to the right making my thighs labor all the more intensely with each pedal.

Yup. I joined the cult that is spinning.

While not quite Soul Cycle, the spinning classes at In Out Gym certainly do the trick. My first spin class was quite the experience. I walked in a couple minutes early feeling apprehensive, only to feel even more nervous after seeing some spandex-clad-protein-shake-chugging super stars already on their bikes. Honestly, I was just planning on winging it. So, I just tucked myself into a corner on a bike that more or less seemed to be adjusted for me. Actually, that’s a lie. I tried adjusting my bike but I was too weak to even twist the adjusting knobs but I didn’t want to switch bikes like a fool. In my defence, the knobs were rusty.

Then, Sabrina, cult leader and avid fan of the imperative, walked in.

“¡Vamos chicas, empiecen!” “Let’s go ladies, START!”

Ok, I said to myself. They say you never forget how to ride a bike. And I mean come on! This is a stationary bike. How hard can it be? In fact, for the first couple of minutes I was feeling pretty good about myself. But APPARENTLY, I was doing everything wrong. Sabrina took one look at my form and quickly said “¡Para!” “Stop!”.

Sabrina came over and helped me adjust my straps and pushed my handles to the right height. She then showed me how to hold my arms, elbows in and at 90 degree angles with your shoulders when in a leaning forward standing position. She then went back to her bike and proceeded to completely destroy me.

Now, the reason why spinning classes have often been compared to cults is that in the midst of the pain, and the sweat (so much sweat), and the abusive yelling, and the lights, and the music, everyone actually really enjoys themselves. Was I destroyed? Yes. Did I absolutely love it? Also yes.

As Elle Woods once said, “endorphins make you happy, and happy people don’t kill their husbands!”. Alternatively, “endorphins make you happy, and happy people keep spinning!”. Like I said in my last post, I’m trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle here in the land of asado (barbecue), alfajores (two cookies glued together by dulce de leche), and malbec (beautiful wine). I’m also sincerely trying to improve my Spanish. So, ¿por qué no los dos? The cult that is spinning seems to really be doing both for me at the same time.

*A note about the pic. Sadly, there are no gross and sweaty photos of me at la clase de spin. However, doesn’t this cool mural that I found in Palermo Soho look kinda cult-y? Yes? No? Oh well, I tried.

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