Having stayed up much too late finishing Miami Vice on Saturday night, I had hoped to sleep in on Sunday, but I was awakened by a phone call at around seven a.m. I’m not usually in the habit of taking off-hours calls or any calls at all, for the most part, but with A. off in Arizona and not always in control of when she can phone, I’m a little more forgiving of people daring to attempt to communicate with me these days. I staggered out of bed and flipped open my phone. I could already see that it was a local number but I proceeded anyway. Maybe someone I know had gotten arrested or was in the hospital. I was still groggy and didn’t realize at first that I had not taken out my ear plugs (oh, yes, I’m a full-blown addict, at this point), so there was a little confusion to start off the call. By the time I could hear the caller, she was reciting a phone number and asking if it were mine. It sounded like mine but I wasn’t sure on the last four digits, so I recited my last four digits as a question. “No!” she said, sounding disgusted, then repeated what she’d said before, which I could now hear was one digit off from my number. She recited the numbers emphatically, as if she were trying to convince me that they were in fact mine. “No, that’s not me,” I said. The next sound was the click of her hanging up.
And a good Sunday morning to you, my dear.
My brother had told me about a Sunday-morning yoga class I might want to try, taught by his friend and my one-time American Studies classmate Heather. On Saturday night, after wasting 135 minutes of my life and not getting to bed until about one a.m., I’d decided to put off trying the nine a.m. class until next week. But since I was up anyway, I got dressed, hunted out my purple sticky yoga mat, and drove down to Charm City Yoga on Fell Street in Fells Point.
A cold front The remnants of tropical Storm Barry had moved in overnight and the air felt brisk if a little humid. As I walked into the studio, it was just starting to rain.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not new to yoga, although it’s been about four years (egads!) since I regularly attended a class. Nowadays my “practice” is usually limited to trying a halfhearted down dog and thinking, “yup, I’m not as flexible as I used to be.” (In high school, I could put my foot behind my head, but this was probably only because I was getting no exercise at the time and had no muscles to get in the way.) A. and I tried the Saturday morning class at the Y for a little while, but it was cheap and we got what we paid for and it just never clicked.
Heather’s class, theoretically for beginners, was just what I’ve been looking for. I say it was “theoretically” for beginners because most of the students have been attending for a while, meaning that they know their positions and can move between them pretty quickly, so Heather was able to push right along while giving some pointers to those of us who were new or rusty. Frankly, the class kicked my ass. It lasted almost an hour and a half, and there were points toward the end where some dumb alligator part of my brain stopped wanting to try the next position and instead started dreaming up excuses why I should just sit there, a feeling I haven’t felt very often in an exercise setting other than during gym class in middle school, tethered swimming (have you ever felt yourself break out in a sweat underwater?) and step aerobics (yes, really) in boot camp, and sparring in martial arts classes, none of which are in my particularly recent history. I was drenched in sweat by the end of the class and regretted not thinking to bring a towel.
By the time the class was over, a light but insistent drizzle was falling. The streets of Fells Point were still mostly empty and the air carried a strong smell of salt water and the things that live there. A tinge of fishiness but mostly just fresh and alive. The breeze and rain felt wonderful after the heat of the yoga studio and I decided to walk along the dock promenade to cool down. In the marinas, a few early-rising tinkerers were messing about with their boats. Off toward Canton, a lone sailboat loafed in open water, its sails slack and pulsing in the wind. A man on a road bike in racing togs had made the bad decision to turn onto one of the cobblestone streets and rode past with a grim, fixed expression. The air and breeze and rain and the sound of sailboat halyards clacking against masts brought on some mild misgivings: can I really move so far away from the sea? I’m actually hoping that I might do more boating up in Montana than I’m currently doing in Baltimore, since the crystal-clear, ponderosa-ringed lakes up there seem like the ideal setting for playing with a small open sailboat, the kind that you can capsize and re-right without problems. That’s the kind of sailing for me, I think. Still, it will seem strange to go long stretches of time without smelling the brackish water of the Patapsco, without driving “downy ocean” (as the natives here say it) for a weekend or a Sunday afternoon.
I stopped for bagels on the way home and passed the rest of the morning and the early afternoon typing. In the late afternoon, I made an inspection of the strawberry patch. I could almost sense the plants’ exultation in the rain that was still falling, almost see their leaves flex and spread, almost read a smile in their little white blossoms. Kevin stopped by briefly in the late afternoon, and then it was time to get down to the tasks I’d set myself for the day.
The first and most important for my peace of mind was to finally create a comprehensive list of everything rental- and moving-related that I need to accomplish this summer. I adapted a project planning template from work and made tables of “component tasks” that showed any dependent relationships between the projects (like, “don’t fix the dining room ceiling before the plumbers come to replace the bathroom’s hot-water pipe above it”). It’s a daunting list, but manageable. Just daunting enough that I will be forced to take it seriously, but I think I can pull it off.
I took care of some email correspondence with the future property manager (we’ll sign the paperwork early this week, I hope) and the alleged future tenants, started on but did not finish a small piece of freelance work, and decided that this would be a good week for a Safeway.com order, as opposed to squeezing in a trip to the grocery store. All of this took me until almost ten p.m., when my stomach informed me that it was not happy that we had only eaten twice all day. So I prepared myself a light supper of crackers and cheese and joined my brother in the living room, where he was finishing Miami Vice. (He had left partway through for a friend’s party on Saturday night, as he is wont to do.) I watched long enough to finish my crackers but found that the movie seemed even more ridiculous the second time around. [FN 1] I could barely restrain myself from making snide comments, which can be annoying for someone who hasn’t seen the movie yet, so I went up to bed with a New Yorker instead.
FN 1 : Like, wouldn’t cops on a raid wearing heavy external body armor and carrying machine guns wear helmets, too, or is the hair more important? And if a couple of you are in the process of rescuing someone from a bomb-rigged trailer, wouldn’t you just pick her up in the chair she’s tied to and carry her out, rather than fumbling with the knots? For that matter, come to think of it, there was also a knife handy, sticking out of one deceased baddie’s back. The list goes on, indefinitely, but you probably could have guessed that. Also, from a dramatic perspective, I think the director missed a great opportunity by deciding not to portray the desperate drive to the hospital with the injured cop in the appropriated patrol car, the kind of compelling, human scene that The Wire gets a lot of its juice from. But now I’m criticizing the director for not having made a different kind of movie, which I guess isn’t exactly fair.
(It was cool, I will admit, to see the cigarette boats booming into Government Cut and up the Miami River, right past the base where my patrol boat was stationed. It was funny, too, to consider the speed at which they were traveling. Once, when my boat was hosting a congressional fact-finding delegation and demonstrating What The Coast Guard Does, the captain had us show the aides what full speed on a 110-foot patrol boat looks like, on that very stretch of river. (We, of course, would have pulled over any civilian boat going that fast in this speed-restricted area.) The executive officer had the conn and I was at the navigation station. I noticed a small tugboat with a string of barges pulling out of an inlet up ahead, and called up to the XO that we should drop our speed. “The captain wants top speed, and that’s what he’s going to get,” she replied. I noted my advice in the log. The tugboat and barges did not, shall we say, do well with the tall wake we sent their way, and seconds later we had a call from the enraged captain. “Uh, Coast Guard, I don’t know what the f*** that was, but I’m going to need some help out here fast. All of my barges are broke loose and the crew members I need to help me round them up again are stuck on the barges.” I radioed the base small-boat station and they sent out a utility boat to help. The XO, as it turned out, was not able to stand on her “just following orders” defense (yay, Nuremberg!) and had to pay for several thousand dollars worth of damages.)