First of all, in analyzing my stats for this blog, it’s come to my attention that I have readers in Saudia Arabia, Indonesia, India and Vietnam. International Gangster. Additionally, Mexico is the number one reader of this blog, followed by the US and then Canada.
Speaking of Mexico, I realized something while strolling down the streets of this impossibly chic city yesterday (and by strolling, I mean running in blazing sun from the East Village to Chelsea to Soho for the Pearl River Mart through Chinatown where I got slippers for $2.50 to Economy Candy to the restaurant supply stores on the Bowery back up to Chelsea and then to Queens and finally, FINALLY, back home to the EV, all in search of the esoteric birthday gifts my sister and I had deemed appropriate for our little bro, who’s birthday is today, feliz cumple): People here seriously give a shit. About everything. And about everything that one could ostensibly deem vain but here is brought to an art. I’m not talking just about hair, and makeup, and clothes, and fashion in general, but the thing is, everyone is working towards the general goal of self-actualization and the perfection of the whole self, not just through cultural acquisition or the pursuit of intellect, but by sculpting/creating an optimal shell to house all this brilliance.
A.k.a. at least downtown (and I used to live in the Heights where what I’m about to say is hella not true) everyone is mother fucking THIN.
I’m not saying people in Mexico are fat, but rare was the time that I got on the metro and felt that I was on the heftier side of the spectrum. Walking down Broome Street, I feel the need to hand people not just a sandwich but a mainline of cholesterol, not just girls but guys too; I want to swathe them in Peeps and make them eat bacon, not because I feel bad but because I worry that one day I’m going to be standing there in Topshop and everyone’s going to drop dead. This would make it very hard to get to the changing room, wading through waifs and all.
But aren’t I just as guilty? Since I moved down here almost a month ago, I’ve made drastic life changes, some of which are indeed intellect and culture related (starting grad school, reading things that are more than just the specials, attempting to go to museums) but nutrition and fitness related. I’ve gone to yoga a couple of times this week, walked instead of taken public transport (hence my sumburn), I forgo street food and heavy carbs, buying instead fruits and vegetables and lean turkey. I drink Yogi brand teas, and have been drinking all those required cups of water. Worst of all, I try to limit my drinking to one a beer or two a night (I started out banning booze Monday through Wednesday and failed miserably).
Is this because I have a genuine desire to be healthy? Or do I just want to look as good as all these girls who are smoking on the street corner, boyfriends in tow? You can’t say it’s bad to go to yoga, but then the yoga I’m going to, a donation-based studio on St. Mark’s, finishes up not with a group OM but with an evil core workout. I refuse to believe that yogis in India, after spending an entire morning doing sun salutations, all lay down and do five minutes straight of bicycle crunches.
The instructor the other day worked at the YTTP in both San Francisco and New York. He was saying that in San Fran, the shavasana at the end of class last ten minutes; in other words, the Cali practice is about complete relaxation, connecting inwardly. In New York, though, he said the sheer amount of concentration and determination was borderline frightening, that sometimes he turned the lights off just to feel the electricity of the intensity emanating from the bodies of these practicioners.
So my question is, as I prepare to eat my egg white omelette and then hit the mat, which came first, the city or size double zero? If you’re attempting to achieve this city body through deliciously nutritious food and exercise as oopposed to cocaine and diet pills, does it really even matter? Do we all just want a few years of having a sick bod before it all goes to shit? Or does living in a place infused with such verve and vibrancy make you want to be all that you can be?