A strange and wonderful thing happened to me at a Halloween swing dance this year. As usual, it was a well-attended gala event. Most people, including me, were decked out in costume. It was early in the evening, a lively song came on, and I asked a masked man who was standing near me to dance. He wore a long cape with a hood and not one part of his head or face was visible. I had no idea who he was. He nodded yes, we got into dance position, took a few steps together. Then I looked up at him and the magic began.
I’ve always seemed to be directionally challenged. I am not alone. Left-right confusion is a common phenomenon affecting about 25 percent of the population. Over the years I’ve learned to work around it. I always take an extra pause before registering which is my right or my left and I prefer to draw a diagram than give verbal directions. If navigating in a car, I will tell the driver to turn to your side or my side because it takes me too long to get the correct word out. I’ve been told not to worry; it is not a form of dyslexia nor a neurological problem. Great. But, now that I’ve become a yoga teacher, I’ve found this to be more troublesome then ever.
I was born and raised in New York and, until I reached my 40s, I had never lived more than 90 miles from the heart of “the city”, also known as Manhattan. Then, I followed my job to Durham, NC and found myself naively unprepared for the culture shock; language being one of the most immediately obvious differences. Growing up, I had seen episodes of the Andy Griffith Show, so I knew they spoke differently in the south. I just didn’t expect they would still be watching that show and still speaking that way.
Over the (20+) years I’ve lived here, I have come to appreciate many things about this area. The genteel ways have won me over and I now enjoy many of the southern colloquial, linguistic quirks. Mind you, I actually never find myself saying them — all my attempts at “y’all” still come out as “all you guys” — but I like these funny and sometimes corny phrases; they make me smile when I hear them. Here are my favorite “southernisms”, things that would never come out of a New Yorker’s mouth. Continue reading →
Maybe it has happened to you. It’s that moment when you walk into your office, a party, or a big event like a prom or your child’s wedding, and you see someone there wearing the EXACT SAME THING. Eeek, it’s your fashion doppelganger! Admittedly, this is a bigger problem for women than men. But, nevertheless, you are stuck. There is not much you can do, so you bravely make the best of it. I’ve found that humor helps. I’ve also come to realize that WHO the other person is can make it a funnier or more awkward situation. Continue reading →
When I learn that family, friends, or passing acquaintances are trying to lose weight, I know I am about to be educated, again. I involuntarily receive all kinds of information about foods I eat and don’t eat. Information such as calorie counts, amount of fat, and grams of carbohydrates. Fiber and gluten are also brought to my attention. Everything — on my plate, in my refrigerator, at the grocery store — suddenly develops a dietary sub-text. This is very helpful because, being I am rarely on a diet, I forget that the light cream I put in my coffee has four times the fat of 2% reduced-fat milk, and that packaged gravy mixes have practically no calories (because they are made from unpronounceable chemicals). Sometimes, I am treated to a new recipe for a low-cal, low-fat but tasty entree or dessert, often using low-cal, low-fat, tasty ingredients I don’t have in my pantry. Continue reading →