Thursday evenings are the unofficial ladies’ night at my physical therapist’s office. Tonight when I arrived the only patients there were 2 other ladies and when I finished up several hours later, I left 7 women behind. Of course, I was the only one under 50, but what does that matter? We’re all hooked up to the same stim machine in the end…
At first the other ladies left me alone and chatted about the weather in PT terms- Is it supposed to rain tonight? I think so, my knee is killing me– while they stretched their hammies with long green straps. I was in the middle of a good yawn when one of my favorite 50-somethings shimmied on over to do a few leg presses on the machine right across from me and my lat pull-downs. Finally face-to-face, she must’ve felt some subconscious need to address my contextual youth. So she starts in, “When you’re my age everything will hurt all the time.” “It already does”, I tell her, with a smirk. “Are you an athlete?”, she asks next, nodding away because she already knows- without any casts, scars, or crutches, what else could I be doing in here? “Yes, well, er, I’m a ballet dancer. Professionally. I’m a professional ballet dancer.”
Then it happened. As if I had screamed the words BALLERINA OVER HERE through a megaphone, the ladies looked over at me, watching with wide eyes that reflected the tiny tutus of their childhoods as I moved on to my seated rows. My initial interrogator and the weather observer on the stationary bike next to her couldn’t ask their questions fast enough. Who do you dance for? How many hours? Are you dancing in the next performance? What’s your injury? Stress fracture in your spine?! How did that happen? But you’re so young! Festival Ballet? Doesn’t Baryshnikov’s daughter teach there?
Why had it taken me so long to realize I was surrounded by my target demographic? Thursday evening PT seshes are my new favorite.