Monday, August 26, 2013

Stretching in Spurts

By 11:45 a.m. yesterday, it was clear I’d be able but not willing to leave my home base for the remainder of the day, even though I was wired from the morning’s caffeine and carbs. Have you ever been wired and lethargic at the same time?

I haven’t done yoga in awhile. Every now and then, my body begs for it. Going in for a refresher class is hardly a bad idea, but unless you’re a glutton for community interaction or gunning for guru status, yoga isn’t an undertaking that requires weekly appointments with an instructor or an entourage. As long as there’s a foundation of formal training under your belt and you have a reliable memory, you can run through the drills on your own, on an as-wanted basis.

Instead of doing 60 or 30 minutes straight, I rolled out my mat and left it lying in the same location all day. When I passed by, I periodically pulled over to strike and hold a few poses. While off the mat, I kept an eye on it from a reclined position on my bed or the couch, admiring how lovely the long purple rectangle looked against the color of my flooring. Following the example I’ve set with my ironing board, I may continue to leave the mat unfurled, out in the open, until it starts to become one with the surrounding d├ęcor. My philosophy about uncarpeted floors is that you can rarely have too many rugs.

This morning, I woke up feeling massaged – not deep-tissue massaged, but close enough. And removing this mat from my main closet has helped me notice that, although it’ll be tight, I do have the space to jam another suitcase in there. Upper West Side T.J. Maxx, here I come. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

An Evening Alongside My Dream Son

Teenagers (preps, perfectionists, goths, skateboarders, thespians, mutes, junior thugs) and I see something in each other. Who doesn’t value a good gravitational pull? Three of them strode into the Laundromat the other night and we, at first sight, had ourselves a bit of a past-life connection. The tall one sat near me in the waiting area, where I was playing round after round of Candy Crush on my phone.

“Excuse me,” it didn’t take him long to call out. I knew we’d speak.

“Are you scared of waterbugs?” he asked.

“Yeah,” I said. (Actually not really, although I used to be. It would have been too antisocial to say “No.”)

He pointed at a beast that slowly crawled a few feet away, on the other side of me. “Look at him go,” I narrated, following it with my eyes, pretending to care. I asked him what the difference is between a waterbug and an extra-large roach. His nonsensical, long-winded answer demonstrated that he hasn’t a clue.

He volunteered that he’s terrified of bugs and would have gotten up and ran if he were sitting where I was. Now we were talking. It was a startling admission, considering he had the presence of a person who would kneel in front of an oncoming tour bus if it meant protecting the two girls he came in with. How often are boys his age - and men two, three, and four times his age – tough enough to fess up to their fears that candidly, especially when they concern something so outwardly trivial? Half class clown, half varsity athlete, smart but not studious, Homecoming Court but not King, at risk of one day looking back at high school as his heyday – that was my first impression of him. My second impression is that only the authentically confident ones have any prayer of winning Most Likely to Succeed.  

Monday, August 12, 2013

Can’t Take the Heat (or Bright Lights) and Will Gladly Get Out of the Kitchen

I’ve never been afraid of the dark. Although the light doesn’t intimidate me either, I don’t perform optimally under too much fluorescence or sunshine. Late fall and all of winter are my favorite seasons.

From about early June through late September, I keep my windows open. My kitchen window faces an apartment in a building that’s next door to mine. No one currently lives there. The previous renters were public nuisances who viciously screamed at their kids, in between blasting Celine Dion’s greatest hits, at all hours. “Shut up,” I occasionally sing-songed out my window, late at night. “Tell your mother to shut up,” the chief screamer advised. One time she lectured that I should have said, “Please keep it down,” while someone in the background calmly barked out something more menacing, something vulgar. With my bathroom window open, I’ll be sitting on the toilet, daydreaming about turtleneck sweaters and blizzard warnings, and hear the sound of someone in a different next-door building pop a tab to open a can of pop. (I don’t care how long I’ve lived outside the Midwest, I won’t say “soda.”)

It shouldn’t be much longer before I get new neighbors, replacements for Celine’s loudest fans. From my lookout point, I can see that those who own the place are getting ready to show the unit. I’ve smelled the fresh coats of paint from my kitchen. And I can see how they sometimes leave the overhead lights on when they’re done working for the day – this is what might drive me back to drinking pop. (In my office, I’m the colleague who turns off lights in unoccupied areas, including bathrooms, and in occupied rooms where there’s enough natural light streaming in.) Oh, the fantasy of constructing a zip line, like Kevin’s in Home Alone which allowed him to fly between his treehouse and the main compound, so I could wriggle through the window and switch it all off.

I would also not just switch off but unplug the window air-conditioner the masters of that house think nothing of running when there’s no one around for a cool down.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Go Ahead and Try to Take All You Can Get

My bank’s fraud protection bureau called, texted, and emailed me the other day. We haven't been in touch in awhile and it's always nice to hear from those I hold in high regard.

I used to be the one to initiate the contact. Among other snafus, I’ve fallen for an attempted banking-related scam in the past. The scammers keep trying their luck with me, this is what they’re doing with their lives. Now, I start off suspecting that nearly every caller, texter, and emailer who isn’t a part of my contacts list is out to grab my assets. I assumed my benevolent bank’s voicemail, text, and email were frauds themselves until I remembered how I’ve been spending money like a Bravo Real Housewife lately.

It’s a nightmare when someone seizes your account information or social security number and has his or her criminal way with it. But who coined the term “identity theft” (can I nail down a name and a date of birth)? It’s so dramatic, so Bravo and Real Housewives. When I first heard it, I thought it crossed over into brainwashing, forced lobotomy, or sci-fi territory. Good thing it's not that deep. If something is just a huge, drawn-out inconvenience, I'll cope. I'll eventually wake up from a nightmare. Inconveniences, the bigger and bolder the better, can bloom into good stories. I get joy out of being able to tell a new person about the weekday afternoon the underworld came dangerously close to stealing my identity, knowing that my real identity is complex, private, and incapable of going anywhere without my express authorization.