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I’m in Sacramento, for any number of reasons, chief among them being family members with real and imagined health concerns, birthdays, and the combined responsibilities that have been laid on me because of it. There are also holidays. You may have noticed this.

I have. Starbucks pulled out the holiday cups and parking became an issue. That’s always the first sign. Strangers start smiling for no reason. Then people start looking to spend ‘quality time’ and check in. People start mentioning things they’ve been meaning to get, but couldn’t possibly, not for themselves. That’d be so frivolous, they laugh. They tell me three or four times, then follow up with emails, sizes, and store locations so I can’t fuck it up. I get it.

So the point is I’m in Sacramento, presumably through Christmas if I can make it that far. It’s one of the perks of my job, being able to up and leave for long periods of time. Tuesday was my Mom’s birthday. I taught her the names of drinks that she described to me that she had started to like. Her favorite is that one they make with Gin and Tonic—what do you call that, anyway, she asked. After a couple more she asked the same question. I changed my answers up on her to keep it fun.

Today I sat in Starbucks, contemplating blogs, and what I would blog about if I were to blog, and coming up dry. I also have a restaurant review to do. I consider this homework, so it will rightly be put off to the last minute. The last minute may have already passed. Either way, the blog was not happening either. I ordered a mocha and the nice man behind the counter decided he would spread Christmas cheer and double the espresso on me. This happens all too frequently. Next thing I knew I was shaking, and still not blogging.

I tried to think of things I could do, inside, out of the cold. Things I could put plenty of false energy into. Things I could justify wasting time on. I understand that you might want to interrupt with the obvious here, but it was still early, and the go-to people were working, but I definitely thought of that first. I thought of and dismissed a few other things too. Then I remembered Bikram yoga. I’d been meaning to try it. Kirsten Price recommends it, and she’s hot, so that’s good enough for me. If you’re unfamiliar with Bikram Yoga, it’s what happens when you do seemingly easy meditative poses in ridiculously high heat. You do them in spandex. Men too.

So I found a Bikram Yoga studio, I signed up online. There was a waiver that I agreed to with a half smile at the thought of causing oneself medical harm from the lotus position. I checked out the etiquette and felt I could handle not making offensive noises. Then I was enrolled. The next class started in 45 minutes. I put on spandex and grabbed some water and the yoga mat that’s been sitting in my trunk ever since that one time I tried to do something whole and Eastern, in the sunshine, on the pretty grass, with the pretty trees, by the pretty footpaths of Santa Monica. The practice did not take.

A few words on my initial assessment of Bikram Yoga: A) There are hot chicks. There are many, many hot chicks. They are produced here. It’s a factory. It’s a little hot chick sweatshop. B) The hot chicks are in spandex, and as they get hotter, they wear less and less of the spandex. C) There are also men, who have figured out about the hot chicks. They too sweat and get more naked. D) The man sweat happens in high volumes. And the room is carpeted, and kept at sauna temperature levels, and this happens every day, four times a day, with the man sweat. E) It smells exactly as bad as you think.

By sheer coincidence, I was placed directly behind the hottest of the hot chicks. Probably not by coincidence, she also was the best at everything. I discovered this on the first difficult pose, when we were instructed to stand on one leg, knee locked, left hand extended forward and right hand pulling the other leg straight over the tops of our heads. She did it with perfect execution, like a ballerina, except one whose ass has Brazilian ancestry. The instructor told us to look at the mirror to find our balance. Find a focal point and hold it, he said. I couldn’t do that though, because of the Brazilian ballerina blocking the mirror. The only focal point that was directly in front of me, centered down the barrel of my outstretched arm and perfectly in line with my eyes was her vagina, staring back at me through the vertical split she was performing. I’m a good student. I stared.

So we continued this way, with her performing one highly suggestive pose after the next, and me admiring, and mimicking, and falling over. After fifteen minutes I felt good. I decided I’d had a really good workout. I was ready to leave. I was pouring sweat and out of breath and the smell of the room wasn’t the kind that you get used to. I was also getting the vibe that the chick wasn’t going to be inviting me into her vagina in the near future. I was down to my last bit of spandex before things got pornographic.

But the fucking class is 90 minutes long and the fat kid next to me was still going strong so I had to stick it out. I tried going places in my head to pass the time. I finished the water bottle off. We turned into another pose that lined me up again with her vagina, arms first, palms together. Like divers. I imagined diving. Jumping head first and right into her vagina. I would do it with grace, and strength. She moved.

We went to our backs. I stared at the ceiling with sweat in my eyes. I decided definitely now would be the time to leave. I tried. I couldn’t stand up. I decided to stay. The sweat blinded me and I tried sitting up with the rest of the class. It did not happen. I let the sweat pool. I considered wiping it away but my arms were dead. I wondered what the ballerina was doing up there, above my head. I wondered if she was opening up to the designs I’d placed on her crotch. In the periphery I could see the fat kid moving. It reinspired me.

So I was at it again, with the sweat and the leering and second thoughts on the medical release. I felt like we were getting close, because people started to drop out. They’d crumple to the floor and just stare at the ceiling, bewildered. They started making offensive noises, like pelicans in distress. The hot chick didn’t miss a beat. I only made it through the last third on the distraction of her flexibility. I was so consumed with figuring out how legs could spread like that that time started to fly. Or maybe I just lost all sense of it. Either way, just as I was on the verge of collapsing, for real this time, the instructor turned out the lights and told us to breathe. I did. I breathed harder than I’d ever breathed before. I breathed like I’d just been water boarded. I fucking breathed.

When the lights came back on my ballerina was gone. I was sad, but too weak to chase after her anyway. I couldn’t tie my shoes in the locker room. I was rubber. The fat kid beat me out too. The only thing I could focus on was the overwhelming urge to eat anything and everything in sight. But then I realized there was the problem of the sopping wet clothes. It was still December outside. I got an idea. I took them off. All of them. I wrapped myself in a towel and tip-toed out into the night to piece together things that would cover the most vital parts, things I’d tossed in my trunk along the way, like the random yoga mat, except, maybe, clothing.

There were socks. I thought that was a good start. There were rollerblades. Sorta useless for my purposes. I should mention the socks were knee high rainbow socks, for the rollerblades. There was a jar of horse treats, looking surprisingly edible (they’re made out of the same things we eat, after all). Then there was my Indian sweatshirt. I threw that on. I call it the Indian sweatshirt because it has feathers on it. I should probably not do that because it is fleece, and tacky, and not Indian at all. There were no pants. My sadness doubled and I was forced to put the soaking wet spandex back on. I did it though, with the gym shoes and the rainbow socks and the wet spandex pants and the Indian sweatshirt. I marched into the first Thai restaurant I could find (why Thai?), as is. I needed Thai.

The ballerina needed Thai too, apparently. That tripled my sadness, getting that second chance like that and showing up like that. My hair was also not great looking, again with the sweat. And make up, I haven’t bothered with that shit in a week. I offered up a pitiful half smile at the thought of how clean-shaven and wonderfully waxed I was under it all. It was useless. I settled back into the leering routine and she politely chose not to notice and we continued on this way until she’d had her stick of broccoli with curry and I’d finished blogging about her. She didn’t smile at me when she left, but she didn’t scowl, either, so there is hope.

The point is I’ll be going back tomorrow, prepared, now that I’ve found my fishing hole.

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