Feeling: THE 6
1. Yesterday afternoon I was heading back from my afternoon walk, when I stopped by the local convenience to grab a coconut h20. As per, the boys in there all threw up their arms and welcomed me with a, “Hey hey! It’s smiley Poppy!” (It sounds really lovely but it’s actually an affectionate mockery of myself, as I would throw up my arms in greeting whenever I entered the store).
I laughed and gave a bit of banter, and as I reached to the fridge for my item of rejuvenation, I accidentally nudged shoulders with an older lady wearing a floor length purple garment.
It was Martinet.
We exchanged a little smile as we both took the same drink, and a couple of pleasantries about her bamboo straw. Then I went one way to buy a bunch of bananas, and she headed in the direction of home.
However upon my purchase and following suit, it was apparent my stride was double that of her amble. I was in a predicament; to slow my pace and keep a respectable distance, so as to arrive back at different times and not have to make stilted chit chat? Or continue as I would normally do, the Poppy way, to catch up and say hi?
After a momentary hesitation, I decided the latter.
I quickly brainstormed a topic of conversation; ask her about my ailments? To clarify a certain asana? Tell her she looked like a young version of my Nanna? (They actually look the same age in my memory of Helen, but the word “grandmother” would instantly be taken as me telling her she was old). But as I strode up alongside her, I changed tact.
“You must get so sick of us all coming up to you all the time and asking you questions. Do you sometimes get frustrated and just want to be left alone?”
We had a little chat about it as we walked the mere 200 metres, her stopping when she saw a stray dog and offering it some canine kebble she had stashed in her handbag (so something I could see myself doing). Then she said something that really struck me to the core (even more so than the intense abdominal exercise she’d had us doing that a.m).
“Sometimes I worry I’m not interesting enough, or that my stories are boring.”
I was fully in stupor. I actually laughed. This – this! – from a woman who has spent her life teaching yoga, trekking, rock climbing, vipassana-ing, being arrested and standing up for herself all over the globe. This – this! – from a woman seemingly brimming over with fierce self belief and robust faith in her capabilities. Underneath it all, was she actually battling her own insecurities after all?
(Today in class she declared she is “brilliant at Indonesian” and “at 40, I looked like a 20-year-old” so now I’m not so sure. Then I remembered my own tendency to say, “Oh [so-and-so] loves me!” and thought again).
It amazes me the similarities still. Today she was talking about how she eats the skin of both watermelon and pineapple, and how when she was younger she was teased for the weirdness of it (I was transported back to Mt Carmel lunchtimes of 2000-2002, where on consuming the case of my kiwifruit all the other kids would protest at my strangeness). She told of when she was trekking in Nepal, and she just found this sense of intense samadhi and oneness with her surroundings (the one time in my life I have ever felt fully clear-headed and at pure peace). (When I myself was in the mountains, not as I listened to her tale, I will clarify). She said how no matter how hard she tried to move to her left (best position for helping the small intestine pass through its motions with the force of gravity), she can only fall asleep on her stomach (tummy turning out is always the way, no matter how much I try to rectify). Seemingly small things, but they’re all adding up up up.
And I still don’t know if we like each other or not. It differs day to day.
Last night in class I accidentally called her “Martinet”. She opened her mouth to retort (it’s never just a response) so I hurriedly said her real name in a way that sounded similar to my mistake. (For those of you who haven’t realised, as well as being a French name itself, “Martinet” also means a person who demands complete obedience and is a strict disciplinarian. Also synonymous with task maker, stickler for discipline, tyrant and drill sergeant).
2. I’m such a geek. Like really and truly am. Martinet has set us homework, giving us far off due dates of September 22 and 28 so far (I really rate how much importance she places on rest and recreation; it makes me feel fine about not constantly burrowing away to study as I usually would). Yet last night I handed in the first project, with the second set to be completed tomorrow or so. And I added in extra imagery to detail my points further.
You can take the try hard pupil out of the classroom, but you can never take the try hard out of Poppy.
3. Yesterday afternoon as I passed through reception, I asked the desk manning dude if I could possibly have some fresh sheets (shit I’m turning into Mummy Deb). He said they had not yet been delivered from the laundromat, but after dinner he would supply me with some.
About ten minutes later I was sitting on my bed in my undies eating a banana, when there was a tap at the door. Assuming it was my new bestie Priyanka, I did a kind of sultry slink over to open it.
It wasn’t her. It was actually the youngest boy on the hotel payroll, standing there with a stack of clean sheets and a completely blank expression.
I awkwardly tried to cover my naked thighs as I took the pile from him, thanking and telling him I would bring the dirty down in a further five.
“I can wait and help you change,” he said, integrity the only thing etched on his face.
I politely declined. Thoughts of the lady and her massage comeuppance (sorry) flirted through my mind.
(Update: tonight another knock resounded on my door. Upon opening – once again in undies, this time with a baggy t-shirt as well though instead of a crop-top-bra – I found it wasn’t Sabina as I thought; it was Mo, the Indian yoga school manager, there to gift me a parcel. My excitement as seeing it was from my best friend Beavs made me forget my smalls-wearing-only state, and he stood with me while
I attacked the Sellotape with my scissors. I really need to start wearing – one of my 21 new pairs of – pants).
4. So yes, my fresh sheets; I’ve always had a thing about the first day of the week and month being a fresh start, not just Jan 1 as many others resolve. Ever since I was a little girl I remember the intense necessity to finish things on a Sunday or on the 31st(on the eve of my ninth birthday, I stayed up until 11.42pm with a torchlight desperate to finish Heidi).
And two days out from my 26th birthday, I have a long list of habits to eliminate. I’m enjoying the fourth and fifth with my last nibbling of my nails, as come the dawning of the sixth there will be no fingers – or plastic bottle tops, or straws, or wrappers – anywhere near my mouth.
(And when I request new sheets the night before, I will make sure to remain clothed upon return to my abode).
5. My knees are causing me a fair lot of trouble here, trembling and turning and tightening and thwarting. it’s made me wonder if they’ve suddenly gotten a whole lot more woesome, when I suddenly had a flashback to me about 10-years-old, on the side of a netball court.
“My knees are hungry,” I remember saying clear as day (though not this one; it’s pretty cloudy at the base of the Himalayas this afternoon).
All around just laughed at me, nonplussed as to how my patellas could be in need of sustenance. But what I meant was I had a similar sensation in them as to the one the stomach feels when it grumbles; a bit of discomfort mingled with a slight ache and an odd sensation when you put your hand on it.
And me being me, the last few years I’ve just blocked out my ravenous joints and hammered on with bad counter-acting habits.
6. And let’s finish on point six, as aswell as being my favourite number, it is also my DOB (in two days) and the second digit of the age I shall be becoming.
I’ve decided I really must stop my overuse of the word “love”. I declare to be in ultimate adoration with an astronomical assortment of items in my daily life. “I LOVE cabbage!” – actually, I quite enjoy it. “Omg I LOVE YOU!” – well, to tell the truth, you’ve actually just given me an excellent piece of news and my feelings towards you are now of upped affection. “I LOVE getting a massage!” – ok, no, I do actually love that.
But when you incorporate “love” into things that don’t quite deserve the appellation, the word starts losing its strength and power. “Love” is the highest of all emotions and ways to describe heartfelt feelings, and I don’t feel that The Neph Hendrik III and tomatoes are quite in the same category. (Though when I look after him and he won’t stop crying, I do sometimes wonder). (Kidding).
One last thing: this morning Martinet told one of the Asian girls she too, had strange armpits. I was quite affronted – that’s my point of difference – but I caught my absurdity and gave said strange-armpitted-friend a waggle of mine in communal commiseration.
Into my last day of being 25; bring on September sixth, fresh sheets, and a shedding of some seriously bad habits.