Monday, June 16, 2008

people and complexity

"Oh, how interesting!"
-One of my girls, age nine-ish, voice dripping with sarcasm

I spent Saturday chatting and laughing with my new friend here. She grew up in India and has lived in Dubai, and is generally thrilled to have met someone who, unlike most of us crude Americans, has heard of Dubai and of edamame. We met at yoga, and she scooped me into her world with her funny - sensitive! - Texan Navy husband.

When I feel that there are unseen recesses to a person, my brain fixates on figuring her out. I roll a person around in my mind like others play with a worn coin in resting in a pocket, treading over all the off-hand comments, body language, and eye communication I've witnessed in search of what I sense is there without being able to pinpoint why. My new friend
reads people the same way I do, also getting fascinated with others and what they're thinking, but tempers it with an extra nine years' life experience.

After splitting a bottle of wine at the wine and cheese shop downtown, we tottered along the river and then headed up New London's other teensy main street back toward my apartment. We passed the yoga studio right as the owner was emerging, heading home after hosting some suspect-sounding singing bowls event.

Yoga Lady said the concert went well. We chatted for a moment, and then she said something endearing like, "Oops, I think I parked my car somewhere other than where I've been looking for it," which could have been absent-minded or could have been code for, "OK, bye!" - Yoga Lady is one of those people I can't quite make out.

She is short and curvy, but strong and flexible. She could be anywhere from 35 to 50. She is a wonderful teacher, because she is compassionate and giving, and because she stops to emphasize basic aspects of alignment that often get obscured in a class' flow. She walks lightly, with joy, her comfort with her body apparent. She's probably Irish but belts yogic chants like a champ. She has said that she's mostly lived in southeastern CT, but she lacks the sense of insular community and close-minded grittiness that it largely feels like life-long locals embrace.

Beneath her compassion and yoga philosophies, she holds a deep reserve within her; it might be sadness or wariness. It might be a past life or a side one. As she gives, Yoga Lady holds herself close, and I want to know why.

My new friend feels this too, and sometimes we brainstorm. After our encounter, I asked her why, if Yoga Lady wishes to hide something, she makes it so frustratingly obvious that she's doing so. Most people, my friend replied, don't pick up on it at all. They have no idea. I've asked another yoga teacher and a colleague who practices - both observant, lovely people - what Yoga Lady's deal is. And indeed, neither of them understood what I was asking.

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