The Continuing Adventures of Eco Boy vs. Yoga Girl.
For more chapters & to reserve the book: join Eco Boy vs. Yoga Girl.
“This life is full of confusion, neurosis, selfishness, PR & Marketing hype. But all that bullshit is just clouds in the sky.
The solution is simple: don’t rearrange the clouds. Drop the project. Appreciate the weather as it is.
Practice meditation: train one’s mind to remember the sun—no, to be the sun.
That isn’t to say that Positivity works. It doesn’t. The good news is better than some sort of kindergarten spirituality. The Good News is that you and I are already fundamentally good to go.
The best advice my Buddhist teacher ever gave me was simple: sit more. Sit. Sit. Sit more. Please, sit.” ~ Dr. Willard Evans
She was upset. This was not cool. This was a serious problem. Sure, it was a serious first world problem—women in other countries had to, like, put plastic jugs of water on their head and walk all day, or get raped, or eat dirt, which is crazy. But that wasn’t her karma, that was theirs. Her karma, apparently, was to get fucked by Lululemon.
She’d gone to class and worn her new Lulu shorts, she was so excited she hadn’t bothered to wash ’em first, and she’d reserved her usual place in the front row so she could see herself nice and big in the mirror, but in the corner so only one person could sit by her, and she placed her block and towel and water bottle on that side, warding them off. She didn’t like people doing yoga by her, though she didn’t mind them looking at her.
So she’s doing class, effortlessly, showing off, breathing Darth Vader-style, rocking hard poses on her own time (the best way to make sure folks notice)…and she’s not thinking about getting dumped by Eco Boy, she’s feeling fresh and clear…
…and then after class the thin gay yoga teacher comes up, she can’t tell if he’s gay or not, he has a hot girlfriend 12 years younger than him, but man.
And he respectfully touches her arm and says, “Next class, please wear more appropriate clothing.” She blanches and leaves and has no idea what he’s talking about…until she gets to the bathroom. And then she sees it. And by it she means all of it. All of her, especially in, you know, forward folds.
So Yoga Girl returns to Lululemon and makes a stink and returns all four pairs of her new, apparently fucking see-through yoga shorts. Thanks for nothing, literally, Lulu. She should sue.
Over happy hour, later that day, Yoga Girl explained to Conveniently Not As Pretty Girlfriend how spiritual, she was, now. “I’m a new person,” she said, sipping her house red. She was rich but always bought the house wine.
“You’re so blessed, Yoga Girl,” Not as Pretty Girlfriend said.
They didn’t meet any boys, and there’s only so much you can say about a spiritual experience you haven’t really had, so they parted ways after an hour.
Yoga Girl drove home and parked and went inside and thought about herself.
Yoga Girl felt naked, all day, every day. After a lifetime of perfect white Winter, she’d thawed. If even a light spring breeze came by, she felt it tickle her raw open naked heart.
There’s a Buddhist legend Eco Boy’d told her, once, about the beautiful lotus flower that rises out of a deep dark muddy lake. And there’s some enlightened Buddha baby that is born out of that flower. She didn’t know what that legend had to do with anything, but that’s what she felt like, now.
She felt like a newborn. A born-again human. A born-again trustafarian. She wanted to strip the layers that protected her from the world—for in protecting herself from pain, she had insulated herself from life, itself.
She wanted to live. So she called up mommy.
“Mom, I don’t want your and daddy’s money anymore.”
“That’s silly,” mom said. “How would you afford those see-through Lululemon hot shorts?” And mom cackled at her, then coughed.
“I’m serious, mommy. I’ve been through a lot. I’ve had a revelation, kinda. I broke up…” (she skipped the part about getting broken up with) “…with [Eco Boy] and now I see the world in a whole new way.”
“You sound like a cult member,” mom replied, only half-listening—the other half of mom was focusing on smoking a Nat Sherman while reading a DWR catalog while wondering how much it would cost to reupholster her deck cushions in salmon orange. These things are such rip-offs.
“I’m serious, mommy,” Yoga Mom’s daughter was droning on. “I want to be on my own and get my own job and live my own life. So please you can stop sending me money and I’m not going to call asking for anything, anymore. I need to grow up. I’m nearly 30, after all.”
“You’re 26, honey.”
“I want to live life on my own two feet, you know? I need to grow up.”
Mom didn’t care. “Sure, whatever makes you happy, darling. So you want me to void your trust, too? I could give it to this wonderful animal sanctuary for horses I was just reading about in W.”
“…” Yoga Girl replied.
“Didn’t think so. I went through this phase when I was 22. Your generation is a little slower, a little lazier—a little more selfish. Go pretend to be poor for a year or two while drinking $9 dollar fancy coffees in fancy cafes.”
They talked about the economy and what the neighbors were doing to their house and how this party was that Yoga Mom had gone to and how it was all bullshit for awhile.
And then Yoga Girl hung up and, bored, went to yoga class. Seventh time that week, 23rd time that month. She never practiced at home, except to take photos of herself doing inversions for her flattering instagram followers.
Across the way, Eco Boy wasn’t doing nearly so well.
He was eating Ben & Jerry’s by the gallon, gaining weight, he hadn’t bouldered in a week, he was flabby, he was staying up ’til 4 am every other night, he was drinking big pitchers of cheap beer in dark basements playing pool and trying to ask girls out…and he was sex-obsessed, trying to fill the space, what’s her name had left him already, so he eyed random girls on the street or in the cafe or…at yoga class…like a big bear eyes a big fish that’s swimming in circles in the shady part of a big stream.
What’s her name had left him, he was too sad and moody and ugly, right now. So last night he’d asked a random girl dash friend (girl who’s a friend) to come by to “watch a movie” at 11 pm. She had great long curly hair and great breasts and great style and big lips and big eyes and she was either flirting with him all the time, or just being nice. Apparently, she was just being nice: she’d demurred politely, saying “I have to get up early.”
The only thing he’d kept doing was going to yoga, though it was painful to see his flab growing, daily, around his midsection (he still looked hot in up-dog). The mirrors were lined with cleavage, and though he never practiced ujjayi, too mentally lazy, the classes calmed him down, his thoughts running out like a spool and growing quiet, if only to fall into dreamland in savasana.
Of course, he was hoping to run into Yoga Girl.
God knows why: she was crazy and he was scared of her. Sure, she was attractive, but everyone’s attractive. Sure, she was probably still in love with him, he figured, but he was an admitted egotist, a hardcore egotist, and whether others loved or hated or even noticed him was irrelephant: while he didn’t really like himself, he most certainly loved himself, or cared about himself at least.
No, he wanted to run into her because though there was drama and hate and love (infatuation) and passion and boredom, their relationship was familiar. Looking at her almond eyes, her slim muscular pale shoulders, her smooth legs and perfect feet with neon orange nails…it was all familiar, like revisiting your high school for your 5th reunion, or watching a few minutes of Affair to Remember or The Candidate for the 11th time.
So he biked to [Yoga Studio] day after day, his scratched up black road bike twitching below him left right, left right as the road hummed beneath his old blue New Balance kicks (yet another Republican-owned company that makes all its money off of liberals and young’uns). And he looked in the parking lot for her Lexus as he walked in—she always had parked right by the entrance; she’d rather drive around the parking lot in circles for 10 minutes than park half a block off. He didn’t get why Americans paid to exercise when they refused to walk half a block from their cars to to exercise, let alone walk or bike to the gym or studio.
Yoga Girl was not interested in Eco Boy, any more. He represented a sort of thought bubble that had popped. She’d taken to parking half a block off from the studio, and then waiting until class was nearly gonna begin, and if she saw Eco Boy ride up, she’d drive off. She didn’t need the drama.
Her born-again status was new and fresh and fragile, and she feared nothing, and she was afraid of losing that fearlessness.
Saturday, at Farmers’ Market, was when she met Preppy Mate. He’d invested a ton in a few companies and made a bundle by the time he was 25 and he was preppy, like out of a Brooks Bros / F. Scott Fitzgerald fantasy, and he was tall and comforting in his self-assurance and though his smile squanched up wrong at her, and he was too thin, the rest of him was perfect and she knew she could be poor with him: he’d pay for everything.
They met in front of the cheese booth, where she was counting change, trying to afford the $8 pyramid goat cheese that was hard on the outside and gooey on the inside, great for crackers and eating when you’re boring and sitting inside all day pretending to read Alice Walker or Palynchuck…she didn’t know how to spell that guy’s name.
Preppy Mate came up—having seen her rear he came around to see her breasts, then face…it all checked out. He saw her counting change, and handsomely offered to pay, and they walked up and down the market buying expensive local things (though remember, tax is included!) and before long he’d offered his jacket for that butt of hers and they were sitting by a stream eating lunch and drinking lukewarm bitter coffee out of plastic lined white bleached cups. It was summer and he was wearing a scarf and a small-brimmed straw fedora…for a second she thought of Eco Boy, and wondered who would win if the two of ’em got in a fight.
And a night or two later she let Preppy Mate kiss her…and suddenly she had a new boyfriend and finally she felt safe and comfortable and loved, again.
And over the next few nights she let herself fall asleep to life, again—it was tiring being awake, being raw, being vulnerable—she didn’t know how people did it. She reverted to acting her way through life: she could act charming, in a sort of manic way; she could act sane, in a sort of convincing way, at least in the short-term.
She could act through life, as if it were a movie, and if one clique figured her out she could move on to other cliques.
Eco Boy had taken to visiting Pine Street Espresso, a dark manly hipster cafe joint on the corner of, well, two streets, what do you care about fictitious street names? You don’t. And there was tons of light in the cafe, it being on a corner with knee-to ceiling windows.
But he wasn’t there for the coffee, which was great, or the wifi, which was solid, or the people-watching, which was hipsterific. He was there for…well shiite he didn’t know her name, still. But Portlandia Kiwi worked there, and she tied her long brown hair to the side and she had big eyebrows, like early ’90s Julia Roberts, and she wore hipster jeans high on her waist and Clark Kent glasses and she and he talked and flirted and she gave him a reason to get up in the morning and lay off the ice cream and go vegan again. Because if you’re not vegan you’re not even vegetarian.
He wondered if he were too old for her. He thought of the Zen expression: “The question is the answer.” He shrugged.
Finally, the sixth time he’d gone to the cafe and the fourth time he’d seen her working, he asked her name:
“I’m [Eco Boy],” he said in a gentlemanly, friendly way, putting out his big strong hand.
“I’m [Portlandia Kiwi], she smiled, sweetly, with a big summery smile that could melt ice caps, speeding global warming, raising sea levels and producing more frequent and more powerful hurricanes. She was devastating.
And she’d been talking to him while he was off, mentally, thinking about her smile.
“What?,” he asked? “Sorry? I was…thinking about your smile.” He smiled. Sometimes being straight up honest is the flirtiest thing there is.
She blushed, a little, but not much—she was used to it. But he was handsome, his strong chest and shoulders showing nicely beneath his tired old black Capital tee shirt, and she loved his moustache and his old bicycle and the way he gripped his little espresso cup, as if he were a dainty old British blue blood grandma.
“Ah, nothing,” she said.
“Well.” He cleared his throat, and he looked behind him to make sure there wasn’t a line and this wasn’t too embarrassing. “Well I was thinking…so, would you want to go on a doghike, or…”
“Sure,” she said, quickly, putting his brave hesitation out of its misery.
“Great,” he smiled. I’ll message you on Facebook, you’re on Facebook right?”
“Give me your number,” she replied. “Text me.” And she saved his number and texted him “C-l-a-r-a.”
And now we pause for a this message from our sponsor, F. Scott Fitzgerald, from the opening lines of my all-time favorite short story, The Rich Boy:
“Begin with an individual, and before you know it you find that you have created a type; begin with a type, and you find that you have created–nothing. That is because we are all queer fish, queerer behind our faces and voices than we want any one to know or than we know ourselves. When I hear a man proclaiming himself an ‘average, honest, open fellow,’ I feel pretty sure that he has some definite and perhaps terrible abnormality which he has agreed to conceal.”
And now we return to our regularly scheduled infantile drama:
He said some funny charming stuff and went back to his table and worked at his laptop for a bit, then said “Bye!,” handsomely and loudly but calmly, as pushed the PUSH sign half an hour later.
And just half an hour after that he texted her:
“I know we said dogwalk sometime but Im going to yoga 530 u join if free?”
She replied two minutes later. He loved girls who replied when they got texts, instead of waiting a week. No games = a girl worth going out with. “Yes sure. Where?”
“[Yoga Studio] 530. Great teacher. My treat.”
“Nice okay. CU”
This was good. Yoga Girl would probably be there and he could show off that he had a date and wasn’t miserable and fat and lonely without her, which he was.