In Which the Exhaustion Continues

Back pain is a beast and honestly, this business of lower back pain is far worse than upper back pain I’ve ever been plagued by previously. Sitting down hurts, standing up hurts, there is no comfortable way to sleep, and somehow I still spent the weekend dancing. Don’t ask. But, lumbar lameness notwithstanding, let’s wind our way back to the start of last week and then stumble forward through the exhaustion until we finally make our way back to the present.

Tuesday followed the usual trajectory from work to start-up school but then it took a wee detour to the unCOMMON salon. It’s a library event in digital humanities and for me it unearthed a frightful conflict of intellectual orientations. You see, there was a time when I was rather into writing essays on literature. I was never a massive fan of peeling back their skins to try to divine the authors’ intentions, but I did used to enjoy the mental sleight of hand that goes into a good literary argument. Of course that was some six years of university and two and a half years of work ago. I did do a bit in some Chinese literature courses in the first five years of those six, but for the most part, upon leaving high school my essay writing leaned strongly towards the empirical and the ferociously well cited rather than the rhetorical and largely opinion based breed of before. I expect you can begin to imagine how an English professor tagging locations from novels onto a map made me feel. I resisted sharing my scepticism, you’ll be delighted to note.

The following day I was back into more recently familiar terrain at the entrepreneurship focused AI Summit put on my NYU’s Future Lab accelerators. I had rather hoped for more about developments in AI and less about how to convince venture capitalists to pay for them, but with the deal I got on the ticket, I really ought not to complain.

After the summit, we wandered back to my apartment and I set out to fetch bing. I hadn’t been to my delightful little bing place in a couple of weeks but I had no notion of what I would find when I made the little half block journey down to their little hole in the wall. There was no bing to be had! In fact, their little hole in the wall was reduced just an empty hole in a battered wall with nothing but a real estate agent and two prospective buyers poking in the door. Devastation does not even begin to describe.

With a nauseating feeling of emptiness I stumbled back up the stairs to my apartment to boil and fry frozen dumplings in a lasting haze of sadness and loss. If the bing wasn’t good enough already, they were also such lovely people. I hope they’ve moved on to bigger and better things.

The following morning, after another night of mediocre sleep on account the discomfort in my iliac, I went to work under grey but dry skies. Some hours later I emerged into the pouring rain and very nearly cancelled my acupuncture appointment. There is no train to bridge the gap between my apartment and the place where they poke me full of pins, which is normally fine, but even a 12 minute walk seems horrendous in a monsoon. I dragged myself our regardless and soon was a porcupine once more with ambitions of improved outcomes for my muscular situation. The result was moderate amelioration.

Friday saw the start of a local dance weekend with a rather quiet if still very enjoyable evening. The following day I was up and into Midtown for four hours of workshops with Ben Morris and Victoria Henk punctuated by a break for grilled cheese sometime mid afternoon. By the end of the classes, my hip was whining and my brain was full but that would not stop me from stuffing food into my face and returning to dance to spend the evening dodging catastrophe on a very crowded floor. If only some fraction of the Saturday attendees had chosen to show up on Friday instead both evenings could have had a more comfortable degree of fullness. But such things cannot be controlled. I escaped with only one new mystery bruise so I am still winning.

Sunday, after a late night on Saturday we peeled ourselves out of bed at entirely too early an hour to go meet Chuck’s visiting aunt, uncle, and cousins in Midtown. When we reached the hotel (having grabbed coffee for the local caffeine addict—yup, yours truly) we chatted briefly before rallying the kids to go get bagels. Note to all ye who may someday wander here: 10am on a Sunday is not the time to go to the bagel shop. The queue was out the door and halfway down the block. While Chuck held our spot in line, I took one of the cousins along to a nearby bakery to pick up hot chocolate and a croissant. Three streets and two avenues there, a small queue in the bakery, and back and we still met Chuck and the other cousin waiting on the sidewalk. Fortunately, the bagels were delicious and so richly smothered in cream cheese, even if it did take well over an hour to acquire them.

Once fed, we caught a subway to the Hudson River Parkway where we walked down through the sun to the One World Trade Center, and from there, Chuck and family headed back up to midtown to catch a show while I wandered home via Vosges (home of the unspeakably fantastic turmeric chocolate bar) to do some house cleaning. Every now and then the combined business of myself and my roommate results in an apartment very much in need of a good sweep and scrub.

I also treated myself to some time eating dumplings in the park with another dance friend before heading back to Midtown to meet my morning companions for dinner. Following dinner we collected gourmet cookies, delivered the visiting family members back to their hotel and headed back to the LES.

We finished our evening watching Arrival, which I am still processing. I was SO on board until the very ending at which point I was slammed with the same sense of betrayal and revulsion that visited itself upon me some 15 years ago as I saw the final scenes of A Beautiful Mind. I may eventually come to terms with it but I found is fantastically upsetting at the time.

Today I worked, wandered home in the sun, and then, finally, made my way to my very first free yoga class at NYU. Sometimes I forget how much yoga affects me. It’s a deeply spiritual experience for me despite my rather conspicuous lack of religious leanings. No, rather than feeling in any way religious, what I feel when doing yoga is embodied and empowered. My body feels so tremendously powerful and competent even when I’m shaking like a leaf or breathing through a moment of pain. In a way it is similar to ballet for me. I need focus only upon my own body and its potential for perfection of motion and expression, and oh lord, the control!

And now I’m lounging in bed contemplating the degree to which my muscles are likely to complain tomorrow. I expect it to be loud but satisfying.

Refreshed if not entirely awake,
The Salsa Girl


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