The Snake People
Updated: May 4, 2022
Never gonna happen
Here I am in La Jolla, California, trying to finish a book whilst also escaping the cold and gray New England winter. “Higgins,” I said, “don’t just sit on your butt out there. That big yellow thing in the sky? It’s the sun, and your vitamin D levels are sub-human, so get out there twice a day.”
Dear God, no.
So I did. Not only do I stroll down to the beach with my coffee each morning (because I’m on East Coast time and therefore very confused), I signed up to take a yoga class here. I take yoga in Connecticut. A lovely class called Gentle Yoga in which the teacher doesn’t make me do anything that might hurt my wonky knee. Sometimes, I almost fall asleep.
That’s what yoga is for, right?
Apparently not. I went to a “drop in” yoga class taught by a very lean man named Gerhardt (his real name). Hey, I figured. I take yoga! How hard can it be?
Oh, my God, peeps. I had walked into a class NOT geared toward my wonky knee, “cuddly” tummy and tight hamstrings. Within seconds, Gerhardt had spotted me as the weak link in the mix and felt it was his yogic duty to correct my form. “Yes, yes, a little deeper, turn your foot upside down, touch the back of your head to your heels, that’s it.” His accent did little to allay my fears that he would kill me in a slow, deliberate manner.
Within ninety seconds, I was drenched in sweat, shaking and praying to God and Buddha that Gerhardt’s eyes would pass over me. Both God and Buddha were busy, alas, so G. and I were engaged in this sort of battle; him wanting me to be limber and, uh, strong, and me wanting to be dead.
Meanwhile, my classmates were doing all sorts of boneless, weird, twisty things. They were like snake people. The young man next to me (who was shirtless, and sure, he was pretty), could balance on his head with all four limbs in the air. Soon, I thought as I tried not to grunt, he would levitate and turn into an eagle. The women in front all seemed to belong to the US Gymnastics team and were balancing on one hand and there I was, trying not to have my knee crumble into dust.
But guess what, gang? I made it through all 75 horrible minutes of the class, the only one not clad in LuLu Lemon but instead in the yoga pants I bought from Target twenty years ago and my precious Blackbeard’s Bait & Tackle t-shirt from Cape Cod. I did it. I showed those lean Californians that what we Yankees lack in muscle tone, we make up for in grit.
However, I had ridden my bike to class, as I am car-less here. And maybe the yoga had taken more of a toll than I thought, because as I was stopped at a red light, I was suddenly lying on the sidewalk. “Hm,” I thought. “How did I get here?”
Say what you will about Yankees and our curmudgeonly ways, we stop when someone falls to the ground. La Jolla-ians do not. (Tsk tsk!) I bet if Dr. Seuss were still alive, he would’ve definitely stopped. Alas, he is not.
And so I righted myself, checked to make sure nothing other than my ass and pride were bruised, and headed home. Drank four glasses of water and went to bed at 7:30.