"Hey, Alex, how's it goin'?" asked my friend Kristin, always sweet and bubbly with a big smile on her face.
"Oh, I'm alright. Tired. My back hurts. I'm exhausted. My stomach feels gross all the time. I guess I'm kind of stressed out. You probably don't want to hear any of this. I'm the worst. Sorry," I yelled listlessly over the loud music at Live Wire, sucking all the energy and fun out of the room with every weary complaint. Yes, you can be loud and listless at the same time. It's amazing the effort we make to complain, even when we're so tired that we just can't even deal. Poor Kristin. If this conversation were with anyone else, I'd have stopped it after 10 seconds, and yet she smiled and nodded. I'm an asshole.
This is how most of my conversations have been going lately. It's absolutely pathetic. When did I turn into that annoying person at the party who whines about stress or gassiness, or who talks about how cheese now adversely affects her bowel movements? Seriously, what the hell happened?
Time catching up to me can be to blame. An intense work schedule doesn't help, either. The hot weather's been giving me a non-stop case of Jacuzzi tits, a term I coined to mean when a pool of hot sweat forms in your underboobs. And I truly believe I own the world's most uncomfortable mattress, and it's making me cranky. Kristin kindly and patiently listened as I grumbled and then offered a solution: "You should come to reiki yoga with me. It's really awesome."
Reiki is a form of natural stress reduction, relaxation and healing invented in 1922 by a Japanese Buddhist (thanks, Internet!). It has a lot to do with spiritual and physical healing by transferring "life-force energy" through the palm of your hands. Spirits and ghosts are somehow also involved. Itís probably one of the hippie-est things ever.
If there's one place I stick out in a "one of these things is not like the other" sort of way, it's in a location dedicated to relaxation. Everything makes me nervous or provokes laughter, and my body seems to react in a way that ruins the mood for me and everyone else. I hurried into Mosaic Yoga in Golden Hill five minutes late, paid the woman at the front, left my hoodie and sneakers in a wire basket and entered the muggy studio.
Everyone was in child's pose, sitting on their feet, arms stretched out on the floor in front of them with their face touching the floor, as calming, atmospheric music played softly. It was hot as balls in there. I had a slight sniffle that day, and when I entered the room, my nose decided to unleash a roaring stream of snot onto my shirt. It's like my nose was all, "Look how peaceful this is. Let's fucking ruin it."
Not wanting to create any more of a disturbance, I quietly wiped my snot off with my shirt because I'm a sexy, sophisticated woman who doesn't do the obvious thing, like grab a tissue. I rolled out my yoga mat and got into child's pose with the rest of the group. The instructor floated past us like a blue ghost, her billowy turquoise pants trailing behind her. I looked up, and she gave me a You're-gross-but-I-accept-you-as-a-child-of-the-universe sort of look. Understanding and judgmental, all in one.
"Breath in deeeeeply," she whispered in a spooky way that made me think she might actually be a ghost hired via Ouija board to conduct this class. "Let aaall the stress, grief, pain and negative energy faaaall ooouut of your booodyyyy." So my nose did just that.
When I was a little girl, my brother did that horrifying brother thing where he would pin me to the ground, hock up a loogie, then proceed to let it slowly fall from his lips until it was almost touching my face then slurp it back up before it connected. I'd scream from the side of my mouth like a mad stroke victim or Daniel Day Lewis in My Left Foot, terrified that if I screamed normally, my brother's nasty spit would land in my mouth. Anyone who has a gross brother has had to endure this abuse. And, honestly, 25 years and five kids later, he hasn't changed all that much and would probably still inflict this torment on me if he could manage to pin me down.
Anyway, I basically started playing this same revolting game with my yoga mat. Unlike my brother, I didn't revel in the horror being wreaked upon my victim. My victim wasn't even a living creature, and yet I was silently apologizing to it for torturing it in such a vile manner. Especially after the snot finally connected with the mat and began to call all its friends to join it. I just wanted to chill the fuck out, and my nose refused to allow it. I blame the yoga ghost lady and her magical spirit-world powers.
We stretched and yoga ghost instructed us to connect with our past lives. She then had us lay on our backs, arms and legs spread out wide in the shape of a pentagram. I obliged, snot running into my ear.
"Allooow the spirits in the room to enter your body and heeeaaall it of its negative energy," she coaxed.
Oh, no, lady. I just read an article about women who claim ghosts visit them at night and force their otherworldly boners into them without consent. If this isn't asking for it, I don't know what is. No thanks.
Hold on. I'm not only snotting my way through this class, but now Iím also concerned about being assaulted by a ghost? I really need to learn to relax, man.