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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA

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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

The Fauxga Party

(Yesterday was a ZuG day, with Zolton Does Amazon: On the St. Paddy Wagon! going live to the delight of green-wearers, mustard connoisseurs and honorary Irish everywhere.

Or just me, probably. But still — it’s up there. Have a look, if you like. Meanwhile, back at the blog…)

I mentioned recently that I’m in the midst of an athletic dilemma. The “fat old man sports” just aren’t cutting it for me any more, and I’m in the market for something new. There was more to that story — but a bout of mild food poisoning cut me off in the middle. And nearly at the middle, the way it felt. But I made a note to finish the job at some point.

That point is here. The job is now. The story will tell. The circle complete. Before, you were saved by the bell.

(Or more accurately, by the bell pepper, likely cross-contaminated by contact with improperly-stored whatever-animal-is-used-to-make-off-brand-chicken-nuggets. Horses? Tapirs? Voles?

As Krusty would say, “Think smaller. More legs.“)

But now, I’m ready to admit something that I never saw coming:

I’ve been taking yoga classes.

I don’t know what I expected yoga classes to be. But what it isn’t is dart boards and pool halls and pints of beer, for certain. As such, it’s quite the culture shock.

“Basically, they seem to be riding the nonslip mat-tails of traditional yoga and offering something that looks and feels fairly similar, in that you’re asked to stand on one foot for days at a time or throw your leg behind your back and massage your vertebrae with your toes.”

To be fair, what I’ve been taking isn’t “yoga”, exactly. The place says ‘yoga’ in the name, sure, but it comes from an entirely different country and tradition. The exercises are different, the poses are different, the chiropractor that I’ll need after a few more weeks is presumably different. Basically, they seem to be riding the nonslip mat-tails of traditional yoga and offering something that looks and feels fairly similar, in that you’re asked to stand on one foot for days at a time or throw your leg behind your back and massage your vertebrae with your toes. But it’s not “yoga”, per se. I think of it as fauxga.

Whatever you call it, it’s a formidable workout. My wife got me an introductory pass early in the year, and I’ve huffed and groaned my way through fifteen sessions or so. She knows me awfully well by now, and realized that the one place I might stick with is one that’s directly between my office and our place. Out of sight is out of mind — but if I have to actually avert my gaze to avoid seeing the gym on the way home, then there’s a chance I’ll drop in occasionally.

(It would be better if there were a microbrewery between home and the work. But I’ll take what I can get, I suppose.

And it could be worse. If there was a yarn shop on the path home, I’d be sitting here right now stabbing my thumbs with a set of knitting needles, trying to make a tea kettle cozy or some equally ridiculous nonsense. Or practicing my cherry-breasted warbler call, if a birdwatching club moved in down the street. Convenience is a dangerous mistress.)

And so, I’m doing fauxga — once or twice a week. And I feel pretty good; no aches or pains to speak of. The instructors are very good at telling us to ‘just do what you can; don’t over-exert yourself‘. So while the rest of the class is turned upside-down or sucking one of their own knees, I’m free to relax and stretch out. Maybe have a nap. Or eat a sandwich — all that lounging around on the floor is hungry work.

It’s pretty cool to be exercising at least in some similar way to my wife, though. She’s never been much for the team sports I’ve played, but she’s pretty heavy into ‘hot yoga’, which sounds super intense from what she tells me. Evidently, they turn up the thermostat and just smoke the lazy out of you. I wonder whether people just spontaneously combust from all the heat being generated inside and out. You probably get a discount on your next class or something, if that happens.

Now she and I can talk about how things are going at our respective yoga (or fauxga) classes — though frankly, I’m not much help. My classes don’t have too many poses, and I haven’t bothered to learn the names for them. I just sort of look around and contort myself in some way that looks equivalently painful to whatever everyone else is suffering through. Or I have an ice cream bar. You know, if I’m feeling too ‘over-exerted’. Safety first; rules are rules.

So she’ll come home in a ‘sharing’ mood and say something like: “We were holding Camel Pose for so long! I just wanted to take a break in Child’s Pose to regroup for a minute, you know?

And I don’t know the lingo. My whole deal I’m doing is in another language, and we probably don’t even do Camel Pose, anyway. I don’t even know what kind of camel she’s talking about. I could probably make a hump and spit at people, but if I have to make two humps and retain water for three weeks without peeing it out, then I’m probably going to need a more serious mat or a catheter or something. And meanwhile, she’s just smiling at me, waiting for me to share my class experience. So I do:

Um… yeah. We were, uh… doing that thing where you sit down and twist sideways — Excruciating Corkscrew Pose, I think it might be called, maybe — and that sucked, for the first five seconds or so. But then I looked down and saw the Slim Jims I brought in my back pocket, so I just ate those in a corner for the rest of class.”

*sigh* Exactly what kind of yoga are you doing, again?

It’s fauxga. Great stuff. Hey, you want a Slim Jim?

She never wants a Slim Jim. And lately, she doesn’t seem to want to talk about yoga, either. Not sure why, really — maybe all that heat is finally getting to her. Too bad; I thought yoga was supposed to be fun.

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