Monday, March 1, 2010

Marian the librarian

I went to Portland this weekend, and before the baby shower I attended Saturday afternoon (it was, perhaps, the girliest weekend ever: baby shower, wedding planning, and ice skating), I decided to take a yoga class to kill some time. I poked around on line until I found a class at the time I was looking for.

When I unrolled my mat, I had no idea I'd just stepped into the worst yoga class ever. No, really. The worst. I'm not exaggerating even a little tiny wee bit. No hyperbole here. It was the worst. You know how I know it was the worst yoga class ever? We spent about 10 minutes on mountain pose.

Let me repeat. We spent about 10 minutes talking about and practicing for mountain pose. If you've never done yoga, let me explain what mountain pose is: You stand there. Both feet on the ground. Both arms at your sides. That's it. It looks like this:

(I made that drawing myself, in Word. Because apparently my macbook pro didn't come with a drawing program. wtf, apple?)

See, I've taken beginner yoga classes before. At the Bikram studio (which I do not recommend, though that's a separate rant) and at the local park and rec yoga studio. You tell them you're new, and they tell you to watch what everyone else is doing, then they get going. But this? This was a real beginner's class. A beginner's class for 'tards. (Does it make it OK to use that word if I take of the "re"? No? Eh. Sorry.)

But it wasn't just the slow pace (I counted 6 poses in 90 minutes) that made the class so maddening. It was the instructor. Marian. "Marian the librarian," as I heard her say to two of the people in class.

"Oh, are you a librarian?" One woman (the larger lady whose legs started to shake about 15 seconds into warrior 2) asked.

"No," Marian answered, giving her throaty, Erkelish "he he" laugh, "No, I'm a fiction writer."

I think it's appropriate that Marian writes fiction, actually, because I swear the woman stepped out of a Woody Allen movie. She had thick black glasses, shoulder-length, wiry hair, and she pulled her red workout tights up nearly to her bra strap. The tights gave us all a good view of the outlines of her underwear, and those were really fascinating. Not just granny panties, but almost like some sort of support panties, with a belly control panel. Not that Marian had a belly, it just sort of looked like it, the way her T-shirt was stuffed into the top of the tights. The odd thing about the control panties was that they cut across the outside of her hips, creating a definitive crease across the tiny pouches of fat she carried there.

In the first five minutes of class, while Marian was explaining the intricacies of toe-heel placement, a woman squatted down.

"Are you OK? He he. Does your back hurt?" Marian asked.

"Oh, no, it's just, menstrual cramps," the woman said in a stage whisper.

Well, shit. You can't have a woman in yoga class with menstrual cramps. So every five minutes, Marian would leave us all standing around waiting while she demonstrated a new menstrual-positive pose for the bleeder in the corner.

But the laugh. The laugh will haunt my dreams. Every "he" sounded like she was about to choke, and her shoulders would hitch up as she bared her tiny teeth.

"Okay, so, take a strap, and pull it like this. He he. And, oh, oh my. That's not long enough. I guess, he he, I guess, yeah, maybe get an extra strap, he he. And, yeah, connect the two straps, he he."

Because I was a drop-in, I paid $16 for the class. $16! Do you know what I could buy for $16? Five bottles of Three Buck Chuck. Five! That's a lot of bottom-shelf red wine. Plus I'd have a dollar left over to give to the homeless lady down the street.

Can you rue a person, or only rue the day you met them? Because I'm pretty sure I rue Marian.