THE TROUBLE WITH MODERN TIMES
LORI OSIECKI ILLUSTRATION
I remember back when we used to talk in words. Now we talk in initials. Especially if “we” are younger than me.
It snuck up on us, when we started using “OK,” for “yes” and “TV” for “teevee” and “D-cup” for “got a whole lot of dates in high school.”
Then things got out of hand.
The kids found out it was easier to text each other on cell phones than to pass notes in class, plus it made more sense to type “LOL” than to actually “laugh out loud” while the teacher was talking.
Now they use initials even when they’re talking out loud. “Hey Ma,” says my daughter Gladiola, “Those jeans of yours are a little tight – junk in the trunk, KWIM? (Know What I Mean)?” I don’t know what she means, so I just make the generic motherly threat, “I’ll kwim you!”
It isn’t just kids; people old enough to know better have started talking in initials. My older daughter Gumdrop told the family that her husband Slime is really good with details, even though he can be a PIA (Pain in the Afterside) because of his OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.) But my mother-in-law, Miss Larda, mistook OCD for AC/DC, and she knew what that was, so she went into a panic until we managed to explain.
Even our body parts got new names. I used to have a stomach, but now I got abs. Instead of thighs, I got quads. Instead of one rear end, I got two glutes – a left one and a right one. But at least these are actual words, not just initials.
I am carrying on about this, and my sister-in-law Gloriosa tells me I got to calm down and go with her to YOGA (Yes Our Glutes Ache) class. She claims it’s very calming to tie yourself up like a pretzel and breathe deeply.
She says I can take a trial class free. All I got to do is get a yoga mat. She says a “sticky mat” is best. She says it ain’t actually sticky, but it has a thin chemical coating that keeps you from slipping when you get into the weirder positions.
Now, I don’t want to pay good money for a sticky mat if I don’t like this class. I mention to Ms. Larda that I need a sticky mat, and she says she happens to have one she don’t need. I should’ve asked why she had it; I know that now.
Anyway, she brings it over, rolled up and wrapped in a sheet of paper.
I thank her and take it when I meet Gloriosa at her yoga studio Uptown.
There are about 20 ladies there, lined up in rows, rolling out their mats. I get in the back so I won’t make a fool out of myself in front of these Uptown types. But when I try to roll out my mat, I find out the wrapping paper is stuck to it, real tight, like the covering on contact paper. I can only peel off one corner. Finally Gloriosa comes over, rolling her eyes, and tells me to stand on that corner, and she yanks off the paper with a loud R-I-I-P.
The yoga instructor, a very calm lady named Cupcake, says “My! That’s a very sticky mat.” Everybody LOLs.
Then she has us stand in place, with our stomachs sucked in and our shoulders dropped away from our ears and our feet under our hips. I get through this part OK. Then she says to lay on our backs. So far, so good. Then she says to raise up our right leg to the sky. When I raise up my right leg, it don’t get anywhere near the sky because the sticky mat is stuck to it. Then she says to raise our left leg, and my sticky mat is stuck to that too. Same when we raise both legs. And when she says get on our hands and toes and stick our glutes in the air, this mat comes right up with me, like a turtle’s shell.
Gloriosa has her eyes closed, so she don’t see I’m in trouble. I see a restroom door behind me, so I crawl over there, wearing the mat.
I realize that I can get this thing off me if I take off my clothes, but then I would not have clothes on, which isn’t a problem in the French Quarter, but it is Uptown. Then the restroom door opens. It is Cupcake, still calm. “Yoga opens your mind to the unexpected,” she says. “Hang on to that sink.” I do, and she yanks off the mat like a huge Band-Aid. It tries to stick to her, and she loses some hair off her arms, but in the ends she gets it balled up and in the trash can.
Then we hear a shriek. The other ladies have been balanced on their toes and hands with their glutes in the air, all this time. Gloriosa finally toppled over into the next lady in her row, and she toppled in turn, and the whole row went down like dominoes. Now the floor is a tangled mass of glutes, abs and quads, plus regular body parts. Nobody is calm.
I don’t hang around to see if Cupcake stays calm. I stomp into the Sloth Lounge (my apartment is behind it) and there’s Ms. Larda, sipping an Irish coffee. She inquires how my STK mat worked out.
Well. It turns out a STK (by Sampson, Terrell & Kowalewski, the Sticky Kings ) mat is made to go under your rug to keep it from slipping. Ms. Larda cut one to hold down her hall carpet, and had a leftover piece, and when I said I needed a sticky mat she was glad to help.
I say we all go back to using words. KWIM?