Oh, sure. They’re shooting it out in the Democratic and Republican primaries, blood is spilling around the world, mayhem reigns in too many corners of the universe, and there seems to be some kind of football game being played Sunday that doesn’t include the Dallas Cowboys. Life is violent and unfair and unpredictable.
But that’s why I do yoga. To escape from all the above and to avoid being crabby and spiteful and physically decrepit. To get gaa-gaa and woozy and feel that all is right and aligned with the universe, even though — or probably because — I know it’s not.
I’d just surfaced from a particularly satisfying shavasana (a/k/a corpse pose) last week when my friends Janis and Hope told me our favorite yoga teacher’s classes were being canceled. Stupid! Unfair! Bad decision!, we muttered to each other as we rolled up our mats.
We’d email the gym owner, we decided, to protest the decision and show our support of our teacher.
So we did. We each wrote reasonable, polite emails, asking that the decision be reconsidered. We all three got back reasonable, polite emails from the gym owner that supported his original decision.
Fine, I thought. Fair enough. At least I aired my opinion. Case closed. (Talk about low maintenance. Just pat me on the head and I’m content for months at a time.)
But Janis wrote another email, arguing her original points and adding a few more. Again, a polite, reasonable email. I read it with interest, thinking this is why Janis is a good lawyer and why I would never be. I hate conflict and she doesn’t mind it. She continues to argue her position while I’m already in a state of surrender. Any wonder why I never practiced law?
A return email from the gym owner: He didn’t want to talk to Janis until she cleaned up her “condescending” attitude. Janis wrote back, announcing she wouldn’t be seen at the gym anytime soon.
We all go into a deep psychological swivet. More emails are exchanged. Apologies are semi-made, semi-accepted. We gather in the halls, whispering and griping and plotting our next move. The yoga class supervisor walks past, ignoring us and failing to make eye contact. Clearly, we are three troublemakers.
Hope announces she’s going to be speaking to the gym owner. (Note: Hope would make the best lawyer of the three of us. She’s the kind of formidable person you always, always want on your side — in a war, a spat, a yoga class. If she’s going to be talking to the gym owner, I want notice so I can vacate the premises and head for the nearest bar with my fingers stuck in my ears and the music turned up loud.)
Somewhere along the way, musing about the antiquated notion of how the customer’s always right, I wonder about my choices in life. Why don’t I do something relaxing and holistic and self-affirming, for a change? Come Sunday, I’ll be watching the Super Bowl instead of going to yoga.
(Copyright 2008 by Ruth Pennebaker)