The last time I went drinking with my yoga friends Janis and Hope, we were celebrating Hope’s recent marriage. This time, I’m not sure what the occasion was. If there was an excuse for it, we all forgot about what it was — even though Janis kept calling attention to her recent traumatic shoulder dislocation. I don’t think you should go drinking just because somebody got carted away from a yoga class by the EMS crew, but maybe we did.
As usual, the two of them bickered about the wine. Even Janis’ daughter Laura, who came along, too, had a zillion opinions about the wine. That made me realize, once again, what low standards I have about wine. Namely: Is it wet?
Then they all had to taste the various wines, one of which Hope refused because she didn’t like the smell.
“You didn’t even taste it,” I pointed out.
“Yeah, but it didn’t smell like something I’d want to taste,” she said dismissively.
“What does poussin mean?” somebody else asked.
“Young chicken,” Janie said.
“I’ve never heard that before,” I said. “Are you sure?”
“Of course, I’m sure.”
“Why don’t you taste the wine?” Laura asked Hope.
“Because I don’t need to,” Hope said.
“What does poussin mean?” Janis asked the waiter.
“Young chicken,” he said.
“See? I was right,” she gloated.
Then Hope announced she couldn’t get the oysters with prosciutto because she was a vegetarian, even though nobody had ever heard that before — and didn’t oysters have feelings, too?
“I’ve been a vegetarian for 35 years,” Hope claimed. She didn’t say anything about oysters’ feelings.
We drank the wine, which Hope grudgingly admitted tasted better than it smelled, and Janis once again recounted the drama of her dislocated shoulder.
Hope grumbled about a yoga teacher who kept calling her Joy instead of Hope. “If they can’t remember my name, I’m not going to their class,” she said.
“Do you think I should sue about my shoulder?” Janis wanted to know. “I’m still mad about it.”
Then, Janis, Laura and Hope got into an argument about whether the 92nd Street Y was on the Upper West Side or the Upper East Side in New York, with Hope maintaining she was a native of New York and everybody else was wrong. I tried to interject a salacious story about somebody who had ties to the 92nd Street Y, wherever the hell it was, but since I couldn’t remember the name of the party in question, realized the story had lost its zing.
We drank. We ate our vegetarian oysters. We never got around to ordering the poussin or deciding whether Janis should file a lawsuit. We stood outside and hugged one another.
All of a sudden, I realized why we’d gone drinking. We get along too smoothly when we’re in yoga. We have to go drinking so we can argue and bicker and bring balance into our lives. Yin and yang, namaste — or, as the French would say, Bottoms up.
The minute the rest of them turned the corner, I finally remembered the name of the person in the salacious story. I’m saving it for our next get-together.
(Copyright 2009 by Ruth Pennebaker)