He got on at Fordham, and he sat down beside me on an otherwise rather empty train. He’s tall and skinny and middle-aged, vaguely handsome if you can get past the whole chaotically crazy vibe that surrounds him like the dirtcloud surrounding Pigpen from the Peanuts Gang.
Perhaps he is a nutty professor. Or a bum, what with his blue corduroy slacks and black sweater, clashing violently, and his general disshevelment.
He spread his bag out on the seat across from him, and took out a legal pad. Then he gestured like he was looking for a pen. Then he tried to make eye contact with me.
That is when I took out my Crackberry.
Sorry, I have no pen to lend.
Oh, look – he found one. He’s scribbling in the margin. Something illegible. He looks at me again. Look away, dude. You are in my personal space.
Another glance. He takes out a motorola razor phone. Maybe he is not a bum. Do bums carry skinny cell phones?
He sneezes loudly. Bless you. Allergies, he huffs. I smile ruefully.
It’s cold outside, but warm in here, he says. I’m cold in here too, I inform him and then go back to my Crack.
We make a stop, and he addresses a woman getting on the train, offering to make space in our little section of seats. She declines. It’s a nearly-empty train after all.
I take the distraction as an opportunity to zip my bag closed. Sheepish guilt ensues. Hey, if I want to close my bag, it’s smart of me, not an insult to anyone. It’s the bag, it’s not you, strange dude.
He quietly says something about West Mount Vernon. Crap.
Are we really going to do this?
Grudgingly, I look up. “Sorry, what?” I ask. He ignores me this time. Oh. I guess I interrupted his conversation. With himself.
At West Mount Vernon he disembarks.
Delightful practice today, by the way. Good breath. And when I stopped the good breath during backbends, I realized how it was negatively impacting my ability to bend. And I found my breath again. And with that came my backbends.
Task for the day: coming up into a backbend with feet grounded – no tippytoe stuff. For me, a challenge. But I did it, and it felt great. Another task for the day: one breath drop and stand – exhale down, touch lightly, inhale up. Works much better. Elimates all possibility of thinking.
And thinking is the death of the backbender.
At least if the backbender is me.
After practice, with the benefit of time on my side (ah…the friday shorter practice!), I spent a good 20 minutes with a block under my back at various heights and under various parts of my spine.
And I had a revelation. My upper back will never BEND. Instead, my chest must simply open and allow my upper back muscles and shoulder blades to WRAP around my thoracic spine, drawing the whole breathing cage forward. That is how the backbends happen.
I looked in the mirror after I was done and I could swear, the bottom of my ribcage is jutting outward in a way I have never seen. It’s as if it is trying to escape from my torso. This is a good thing, for all you laymen out there.
Oh, and I am considering ONCE AGAIN swapping out my stupid implants. This time for the smallest possible ones, unless I have the smallest possible now. I just hate these mothahfuckahs. I am a failed reconstruction. The question is, with the lack of skin and tissue left over from my original cancer surgery, coupled with the crazy stuff I do on the mat each day, is a successful reconstruction even possible? And do I even care enough to endure the necessary down time to find out?
Maybe all I need is a series of steroid shots to take down my capsular contaction…any doctors out there who wish to weigh in?