Lately, my pilates teacher has jumped on the shock-the-monkey (that'd be me) bandwagon, stimulating my eardrums while making my muscles sore. I look forward to my two classes a week with him not only because he works my ass off, or because the way he counts backwards and says, "Aflojo" (at ease), dragging out the vowels from here to eternity, makes me feel like I'm listening to Jane Fonda's Workout in Spanish.
The other thing I love about going to class has nothing to do with pilates at all. Aside from "cinco, cuatro, tres..." and "aflojo," I never know what I'm going to hear. Some days, it's Argentine folklore. Other days, it's a familiar voice that I can't quite pinpoint. Unfortunately, when I ask who it is, my instructor never has a clue. I could have sworn we were listening to Pulp the other day. I'm sure I heard something obscure by Van Morrison once or twice, and Spanish-language Christmas music. Last week, he even threw something that sounded a lot like Pat Boone's In a Metal Mood: No More Mr. Nice Guy or Paul Anka's Rock Swings into the mix. (Personally, I can't really tell them apart.)
His playlist also has included the bold, beautiful and instantly identifiable: Enya, Norah Jones (an apparent favorite among pilates teachers in BA), Sinead O'Connor's 2005 reggae album (Throw Down Your Arms), Sheryl Crow's 1996 self-titled album (which re-acquainted me with the long-forgotten greatness of "If It Makes You Happy"), the Beatles and the Stones. Thankfully, he seemingly has averted the Lady Gaga obssession that has afflicted every other porteño (make that every other human), and he's spared me la tortura of having to complete his fearsome abdominal routine while Shakira shrieks in my ears.
Today, I bonded with a fellow student, an Argentine who has spent time living in London and already had been promising to bring Florence and the Machine to class, over our shared love of mid-'90s Britpop: Suede, Blur, Pulp, Texas, the Verve, etc. All the great music is not exactly conducive to my concentrating on breathing -- out/in, out/in -- keeping my shoulders relaxed, and tightening my stomach muscles, but it sure makes an hour of extreme pain (and gain) go by a lot more quickly.