Thursday, November 21, 2013
Slow Yoga with Denene
I don't have a cell phone, but it's not like....
It's more like....
I have also heard that when men carry cellphones in their pockets, their private bodies fill with tumors.
However, as a non-cellphone user, I have found myself quite intrigued by the phenomenon of texting.
It seems to be very popular! And not just among the young people. In fact, the Director of Special Education in our county (estimated salary $155,000) texts the whole time you talk to her. I sometimes feel like I could tell her anything, and she would not judge me, or be resentful. She would accept me, warts and all, because she is not really listening.
I've watched young men texting in the bathrooms here at the college as well. They push the automatic door opener for handicapped people with their feet so that their hands do not have to stop tapping tiny buttons.
I am not sure if they text while in the individual stalls, but I have noticed that many of them are timid defecaters.
It can be so quiet that, if not for the tellatale shoes under every door, you would swear the bathroom was empty. But if someone flushes, activates the sink, or especially, if someone turns on the hot air hand dryer, everybody seizes the moment to let out gas and high volume excrement.
They each hope, individually, that the background noise will disguise their output, not realizing that, collectively, it comes out like a giant chorus of buttholes.
When the sink shuts off or the hand dryer winds down, everyone tenses back up.
Now here I will help myself to a big plate of ignorance: what is it that everybody is texting to each other??
My impression of it has been primarily formed by three experiences:
One time, my wife showed me how to text something to Taco Bell.
My second experience of texting came when Ms.Pam handed me the classroom cellphone.
After reviewing the user's manual, I powered the phone to 'on'.
The third text was labelled a "media message":
After Ms.Pam calmed me down, she pointed out that the texts were several weeks old, and that whatever emergency had unfolded that day it was no longer within my power to effect.
She told me I had to carry the class cell phone at all times. I secretly put it in a drawer of my desk. It randomly plays Who Let the Dogs Out from time to time, but I slam the drawer shut repeatedly until it goes away.
My third knowledge of texting comes from observing Amir and his friend, Boxhilda, send messages to each other.
They sit with their knees almost touching and poke away at the buttons.
"Did you get it?" Amir asks her.
Boxhilda slowly looks down at her phone.
"Yep." A smile spreads across her face. Then she types something back. "You get it?"
Amir holds up a finger. A buzzing sound comes from his phone and he reads the screen, snickers, and writes something back.
"You get it yet?" he asks.
This goes on for awhile, and I am curious to see what all the fuss is about.
"Give me your phone, Amir." He hands over his sleek purple Iphone 5. I read the screen:
"Dere go my brother's work," Boxhilda says.
I look up, and she is pointing at the strip club directly across from our bus stop.
"Really? Your brother works there? What does he do?"
"He the DJ."
"What does his wife think about that?"
"She work dere too. She sell underwear."
I mull this over for awhile.
"Have you ever been there, Boxhilda?" I ask.
"No way," she says with a violent shake of her perm. "Dem places is nasty."
It is not an area I have much expertise in, but she says it with such authority that I am inclined to agree with her.
I have been to a strip club only once, back in college.
The place was a square building rimmed in pink neon, sticking out from the middle of lightless West Virginia hills; a lonely, desolate spot to go for nudity.
The experience is fragmented in my memory: I recall walking in, heading straight to the bar, and deliberately sitting with my back to the stage. I was already drunk and fixing to get a lot drunker, but they kept serving me Gennesse Cream Ale, which is a beer that is less about getting you wasted and more about helping you out if you have not been farting enough lately.
I guess I was embarrassed to be there. I'm the exact type of guy you don't want with you at a strip club; I'm too introspective.
Maybe that is the core difference between introverts and extroverts.
An extrovert sees a stripper and says, "Oh, hey! Boobies!". Then he bucks out his teeth and does an awkward rowing kind of dance.
An introvert looks for a second, turns away, and thinks: Really? This is who I am now? A strip club kind of guy?
Eventually, one of my friends called me over to a seat right by the stage.
This is the only clear part of the night: the dancer, a very short girl, was dressed like Jim Carrey's character in The Mask. Zoot suit, fedora, even a green rubber mask with a grotesquely distended smile. I think she did her routine to Glen Miller's Chattanooga Choo Choo.
I didn't watch, however. The whole time she danced, I looked straight at my friend beside me and spilled my guts out to him about what was really bothering me.
I was currently in love with two very different girls: one was into Nintendo and The Simpsons; the other liked Italian Renaissance poetry and smelling wine before drinking it. Kind of your classic Madonna/Whore predicament.
It really tortured me, this fork in my heart.
I went on and on. At one point, I think a fedora flew past our heads like a flying saucer.
My friend was not even looking at me; I felt like he wasn't listening and I told him so.
He turned to me then, and his face looked like the face of someone witnessing something incredible in the sky, like a hot air balloon or a cloud shaped like a kitten.
"Dude," he said, "I'm trying to look at some titties."
Later, we had to pull over on the dark highway so I could throw up.
I spent the night in the back seat of my car, one shoeless foot dangling out the window.
Amir and I are taking a break from walking laps at the track.
He's bummed because Boxhilda did not come to school, so I tell him he should text her.
"Oooh!" he says, clapping his hands. He flips out his phone and his thumbs go to work.
I absently read the schedule for exercise classes. Step with Traci, Spin with Caroline, Slow Yoga with Denene.
Amir's phone buzzes.
"What did she write?"
"Loser," he says. He makes an L-shape with his hand and holds it up to me.
His phone buzzes again.
"What you doing," he reads aloud.
"Tell her you're at Slow Yoga with Denene."
I snatch the phone from him and hunt and peck my way through the sentence.
Only after it sends do I notice that the phone changed "Denene" to "Dana".
"Wat?" Boxhilda writes back, as I am composing a text of my own.
"I mean Denene." I ram the name down the Iphone's throat.
"Wat?" she texts again, and then, I can't help myself.
"You forgot the 'h' in 'what'," I write. It takes me five minutes to find the single quotes on that thing.
We start walking the track again, and soon Amir's phone "blows up".
"What does she say?" I ask, involved now in spite of myself. He holds it up for me to read.
"Put that away", I tell him.
We focus on our laps. Each quarter mile loop brings us past a tall, transparently pale blonde girl on an elliptical machine. She has the frugal movements and exact proportions of a praying mantis. It's unsettling, yet fascinating to watch. Her white tank top sports the words "Yoga Life" in bold, and I wonder if she might be Denene, here in the flesh.