July 2005

I have to keep myself off the blog until I finish my writing assignment.
But I can’t stop thinking of Lorene who had to go up north because her incredibly active father slipped on the tennis court and hit his head.
How can our parents be so fragile? After all we put them through - can’t they sustain any injury? A lifetime of inoculations by rowdy adventurous kids and something so innocent as a slip can turn your world upside down.
I was with my mom in the Himalaya Mountains. I begged her to take me to visit all the devi mandirs that we could visit. Years before we had made a journey to Vaishno devi and it’s said that whatever you wish there comes true. And when your wish comes true - you have to return to thank the goddess.
We couldn’t make it back to Vaishno devi because it was closed for snow. That and we were in the north near her village. So instead, I thought it would be the equivalent to visit seven devi mandirs and thank the goddess.
We were near dharamshala and it was raining hard. We tried to see the dalai lama’s temple and chumunda devi temple in one day. As we walked across the wet marble floor, barefoot - my mom was ten yards ahead of me when I saw her fall. The breathe ran out of me and I froze.
She hit the hard marble, and rolled. Rolled to the right, rolled back and grabbed a metal bar to stand again. Because of her recent foray into yoga - she rolled. When she stood, there was nothing but a small bruise on her hip.
But I was already crying. Too freaked out about what could have happened. As she moved ahead of me to the altar - - I put my head to the marble floor and asked Mataji to protect my mother. to keep her healthy and happy for as long as she wanted to be on this earth. I don’t know when we swapped places worrying about each other. It was so subtle a turn. But I put my head to the carpet and ask for your father today Lorene. I’m sure she can hear me from Santa Monica. She is a goddess after all.

My friend Julio tried to kill me by taking me to his Bikram yoga class. What the fuck was I thinking when I went to that studio on La Cienega? I hate the heat. I never choose “sun” over “shade”. The arrival of summer depresses me. I have never ‘laid out’ in my life. And here I was, willingly throwing myself into a closed room that had no windows and heat actually pumping out of the vents to keep the 120 degree temperature constant. To make me feel worse, ‘hot yoga’ classes are like an excuse for people who love their bodies to show them off as much as possible. Speedos were the order of the day. Black speedos and nothing else. The only thing worse that I can think of is black speedos and little black socks pulled up to just below the knee with white tennis shoes. Or no speedo and naked bikram would rank on the list as well. But the black speedo and the wireless microphone attached to the ear is a pretty special look unto itself.

After we got in there - Julio admitted to me that it was a 90 minute class. And then he said that my only goal for the day was to stay in the room. How hard can it be to stay in the room? I’ve been in a sauna, I’ve traveled in India - I mean this staying in the room task was nothing.

After forty minutes- I felt like I was beating my head against a hot metal plate in the desert at noon. I had heard that some people threw up in class and that others passed out. It’s interesting because you find yourself going through the entire range of emotions. Mostly you’re thinking “What the fuck am I doing in here?” And then you get angry — at yourself, at the teacher, at your stupid friend, at Bikram himself. I realized that there was another hour left in this room and I was not going to make it. The room is spinning — I’m okay with passing out in front of strangers, I’m okay with hurling in front of strangers. But when we got the to “wind expulsion series” i found my line. I am so not okay with shitting my pants in front of strangers. I’m not sure how I feel about shitting my pants in private — So I walked towards the door to get the fuck out of there. Unfortunately I moved about as fast as my grandmother and that was with all my effort. My calves were sweating. My sweat was sweating.
I finally made it to the door, opened it, stepped into the cool breeze of the hallway - and then promptly laid down on the floor next to the trash can. Thinking: ” I failed.”

After the fifth person had to step over me to get down the hall, I crawled into the locker room and laid on the cool tile. I didn’t care how many nasty sweaty feet had walked across that tile - just that it was cold now and life was so much better. After twenty minutes the room stopped spinning and I sat up. Walked to the door of the yoga class and wondered if I was going to go back in and finish. It’s not like me to quit something half way through it… but I didn’t feel in the yoga spirit and I questioned the yoga spirit of feeling like a failure. I mean, isn’t the whole point of yoga that you go as far as you can? That you do the best you can and learn to be a ‘benevolent observer of yourself”? What kind of fucked up yoga would make you feel like a failure? I read the articles hanging in the hall and all the people who swear by their experiences at the studio. I find myself in LA thinking “who are these people?” a lot. A lot more than I found myself thinking that in NYC. For some reason, everyone in NYC makes sense. But in LA - I just can’t get in the groove yet - it all seems a bit off to me still. i wonder if everyone feels this way here… Anyway I decided to finish the class. And then never, ever come back again.

I can walk to the beach in seven minutes from my new apartment.
It’s not really my new apartment - but it’s new to me… i guess that is more accurate.

I walked down to muscle beach — apparently Santa monica felt the need to put up a sign informing everyone that THIS was the official location of the original muscle beach - and not those copying venice beach copiers.

Who are these men? There are tons of them - in the best shape you’ve ever seen. I mean, I have not seen bodies like this since I last watched the olympics. Incredible upper bodies - no one gives a shit about their legs… but they are there all day. Just working those parallel bars and swinging on those rings…. back and forth - like they feel more at home swinging through the air than on the ground. Some of them have serious hand gear on - and don’t mess around. but I liked the guys in jeans and no shirts- just swinging from one end to the water and flying through the air with a graceful thud into the warm sand.

I have no idea who they are - or why they have time to get their bodies into that kind of shape… after being mesmerized for over an hour - i worked up the nerve to go over to a set of solitary rings. I pulled myself up and hung upside down. One to prove that I could still lift my own body weight.

Hanging upside down every now and again is important. Shifting perspective so that the blue water was now the blue blue sky. It’s also important to remember to tuck in your shirt first.

I’ve closed off the ability to comment on the BLOG from this entry forward.
If you want to say something, anything - even anonymously - email to me at
MataFilms@aol.com and just put BLOG in the subject line.
Thanks for your time.