Today Gabe is wearing a white t-shirt, blue shorts, brown flip flops, and green sunglasses.
To say that I was disengaged during high school would be an understatement.
And when I say “during high school”, I mean literally the time that I was inside my high school, from 7:55am to the time the final bell rang at 2:25pm. I wasn’t a super sulky teen who just didn’t care — I was an editor on the newspaper, I had friends and boyfriends, and I knew that continuing to be a very good student would mean going to a very good college, which was all I had cared about since I was about 12 — but by the time I was in high school I was so bored during school every day that I checked out mentally for huge blocks of time on an almost daily basis.
I would wander the halls every single day.
I would ask to go to the bathroom in a different class each day and, knowing I had some A-student credibility built up, I would just leave and go take a walk for 10 or 15 or 20 minutes. No one ever stopped me and I never got up to any trouble while I was on my walks; I just couldn’t stand to be in class anymore and so I would go take a walk, look at art projects hung on the walls or read student council campaign signs or look at old photos in the trophy cases, and just enjoy a break.
I bring this up because this week, I was re-introduced to my checked-out self — who I haven’t seen in years — and it brought memories of wandering the halls of high school and taking a mental vacation when you’re somewhere you just don’t care to be anymore.
It was Saturday morning, and I wanted to take a yoga class. Gabe was out of town and I was feeling antsy, having given no thought to what I wanted to do with a weekend on my own. This was my first mistake.
I don’t usually take yoga on Saturdays, and so I didn’t know any of the teachers who were teaching that day when I decided I needed to take a yoga class.
The one who happened to be teaching an “all levels” class closest to the time I wanted to go had the kind of “why yes, I AM a yoga teacher” name that tends to give me pause when selecting my teachers. I won’t re-print it here, but suffice to say, people who have self-given touchy feely names tend not to be a good fit for me.
But I decided to be cool and non-judgmental. I mean, I quit using shampoo! I can be very cool and into hippie culture, right?
(As it turns out: no, not in all cases.)
When I got to class everything seemed fine at first. Nice music, good vibes, and poses I could handle. But I noticed she had a very distinct way of talking. And by distinct, I mean impossible.
She would whisper, inaudibly, “now just roll ontoyourback..spreadyourfingers…putyourkneesup..”
“AND RISE!!!!” she would shout.
11 heads pop up, having missed the previously whispered string of instructions, quickly eyeball the pose the teacher is in, and scramble to mimic it.
“Okay. Now…whileonyourback…lift your hips and your arms over your head.”
11 heads pop up, wondering how to get your hips and your arms over your head at the same time.
This, on top of a lot of talk about love and those annoying reversing platitudes that fold in on themselves (“what is inside you is outside you, etc”), and by about 45 minutes in, I was out.
I was not engaged, to the point where I didn’t care if she thought I was doing a good job (which, you should know by now, is generally my only motivator in yoga: pleasing my teacher). I was bored. I wanted to leave.
And so I did something I’ve never done in a yoga class before. I left.
Not for good, but I just stood up, walked to the door, and went for a wander around the halls.
I looked at a clock I’d never noticed before. I got a glass of water. I read the rules for the sauna, which it turns out, have some pretty funny jokes in them.
It was delightful. I stayed out there for maybe 5 minutes, but those 5 minutes made it possible for me to come back to class and actually do some yoga that pleased me — rather than just running out the clock and waiting for it to be over.
And my walk did what my teacher could not — it brought me into the present moment; it relaxed me; it tuned me into the world around me that I see all the time, but fail to notice. I stopped thinking about how bored I was, and found something to appreciate and enjoy.
Gabe doesn’t like going on my daily long walks with me (though he humors me more and more every year by coming along) but I wonder if my need to go walk around, even on the same route every day like I used to do in Seattle, comes from those days back in high school where a little walk was a special, just-for-me time I was completely present during the day, and appreciating a place I normally couldn’t stand to be.
I don’t know.
After yoga, I did a shopping trip to see about making my own homemade deodorant but ended up buying a pre-made hippie version when I couldn’t find one of the key ingredients for my recipe. Sigh.