I like those people who can relax by sipping herbal tea or sniffing a sprigget of lavender. Those things don't relax me; they excite me into unstable, manic behaviors. Anything that is known to be relaxing has the opposite effect on me. It makes me think: "By God. I'm sitting here like a lump. Other people are doing things. I ought to be doing things, too. Not sniffing this spray of parsley! I am a fool and a wastrel. Relaxation will invite death, like a quick dagger in the night."
After such a realization, I usually run around and gnaw on the edge of the stairs, and do an occasional push-up.
Things were easier when I smoked cigarettes. I could just snarf one of those babies down whenever I felt like I was feeling too "alive" or maybe I was breathing a bit too much "oxygen." Times were good then, yes siree. If ever I felt this weird sensation called "energy," I could quell it right away by sucking on a little stick of paper and tobacco laced with pesticide. It was effective. That bothersome "energy" would go away and I could relax.
I honestly don't know what to do with half the energy I have, which is why cigarettes were so helpful. Without them, I find myself leaping about like a springbok and trying to stab people with a plastic scimitar. Sometimes, when sitting placidly in a meeting, I am really thinking about how I might choreograph Veruca Salt's "I want it now!" for 2010, while high-stepping down the conference room table and kicking the lattes left, right, left, right. Duck, you silly little Oompa-Loompas!
There must be other ways to relax. Some people take baths. I don't care for them. Your bits are never fully submerged. The water never stays hot for long.
Many people do yoga to relax. I find yoga frightfully stimulating, but in a scary way. First, the rooms in which people do yoga are filled with naked feet. There are many unpleasant details to be gleaned about these feet, if you look at all closely. Many people do not practice appropriate hygiene in this area, yet they gleefully strip their socks off.
Many of the feet have bunions.
Then there is the flatulence. Every time you bend to get into a certain posture, the old fellow behind you lets out a toot. Sometimes the whole room is tooting away merrily. The tooting is often accompanied by bad smells, as would be anticipated.
The people who practice yoga are also really "into it" and I admire their ability to be transported by the experience. They have glittering eyes and seem peaceful, like their organs have been feng-shui'ed into alignment. They never desire a cigarette! They have natural energy, and wouldn't tamper with it. The yoga devotees cart their own little rolled-up sticky mats with them everywhere they go. What's the matter with the communal sticky mats offered by the health club or yoga studio? Could it be that these sticky mats have been tainted...by feet! Naked feet!
Sticky mat. It reminds me of sticky buns. I don't like sticky buns, either. There is a great deal that I don't like. I can't imagine a worse fate than being forced to eat sticky buns all day long, without respite. I would feel most decidedly ill.
How many times can one do a Sun Salutation? I have been in a yoga class where we did the thing maybe 50 times. I was going to snap and kickbox someone in the eye. I had my sights set on the instructor, who kept murmuring "Breathe in! Breathe out! Don't get in your own way. Don't think. All your thinking is garbage! Junk!"
There was one yoga class I did like. It was at Kripalu, a yoga center in the Berkshires. My dear friend treated me to a weekend at this place, despite my antipathy to the mess of naked feet that were sure to be in residence. There was a hot tub in the basement, which we called Boob Soup. They served dry groats for dinner. There was a curried, oiled scent to the air.
The class I liked was called Yoga Dance. A woman stood in the center of the room with a microphone, while live drummers beat out a frenetic and exciting rhythm. Everyone started dancing about like crazy. The woman with the microphone would shout out instructions: "Strike a pose. Any pose. Move with it! You're a wildcat. You're a tiger! Growl! Growl, tiger, growl. Prowl around the room and snarl with joy at those you meet! Snarl! Snarl!"
I have a vivid memory of some older gentleman hopping about in "tree pose" like a bouncing stork, while holding his hands up like whiskers near his face. He splayed his fingers out and wiggled them. "Growl!" he went. "Growl, growl!"
If only all yoga could be like this, I would not be so scared of the feet.