"These aren't my people," I think, lying there on my back on a mat, with a blanket over me and lavender oil on my forehead.
My people are still in bed, blissfully unaware of the day of nausea and vomiting ahead of them, the headache and the shame once the memories of the night before come flooding in. My people are sweating the alcohol out right now by their bodies' own means, NOT in a meditation class at the Health and Racquet Club 11 a.m. on a Sunday.
The people here, I imagine, all curled up with a book, Oprah tested and approved, before bedtime. And the granola and soy milk they had time to eat before the yoga class that preceded this, is nourishing their organic cells at this very moment. What they did NOT do was collapse onto a couch at four in the morning, thankful for something, anything, soft to fall onto.
I'm only here because I crashed at a friend's place, and, instead of going home, I am at the club with her on a guest pass, in a borrowed pair of shorts and a t-shirt.
I am lucky to find meditation being offered because it is the greatest amount of physical exertion I am capable of at the moment. I walk in to the classroom, and suddenly became very aware of my Spongebob t-shirt and boxer shorts, stylishly accompanied by my boots from last night. My outfit did not meet appropriate New York City standard yoga dress criteria. Everyone in here is dressed exactly the same like they were shooting a Rodney Yee workout video this morning, and I was crashing the shoot.
Lying here, while everyone is fully aware of their thought patterns I am fully aware of my feet, barefoot and smelly, relieved to have been given a blanket to tamp out the smoldering stink lines coming off of them. I am fully aware of the alcohol sweating it's way out of me, and the stale stench of cigarettes in my hair. I am fully aware that I am single handedly screwing up the entire aesthetic of this room, like bringing an egg sandwich into Prada. I imagine everyone else in the room being enveloped by a holy glow, actually hovering an inch above the ground, while I am sinking into it, demons screaming around me. I mentally try shushing them, hoping desperately that no one is noticing my cesspool-of-an-aura.
This is when I fall asleep. I don't know much about meditating but I do know, at the absolute least, it requires you to be conscious. But I figure everyone's eyes are closed, what's the difference, no one will know, unless I start snoring or something. And when the instructor gave me a little nudge, I realized that is exactly what I started to do.
"Ok everybody, slowly make your way back into a lotus position." As people slowly came back to, I shot up and quickly put my black socks and boots on, and without looking anybody in the eyes, I hear a faint "Thank you for coming!" as I head out of the class room, through the front door, and into the sadistic December wind to hail a cab. The cab driver drives me back uptown, like a heroic prince in his pine scented chariot, and we drink coffee and sing along with "Homeward Bound" on the radio, as we disappear into the horizon.
Follow Maria on Twitter - @MariaShehata .