Saturday, August 14, 2010

Comfort Foods

Back in the US just over 6 months now. Some days I feel settled in; on others, like I'm sailing rudderless on rolling seas. That February drive across a third of the country seems hazy now, but I do remember the disorientation and the bizarre sights like those slot machines in Nevada convenience stores, and the intriguing 'weird beer here' written on a sign somewhere in Utah.

The disconnection lingered for months, due partly to my incubation period at Upaya Zen Center. I moved about town like the walking dead, detached and awkward. The Ipod helped keep me safe, perennially hanging around my neck like I was a latchkey kid, though in this case the key changed with every song.

That first month, the only time that I felt calm and in my element was at Whole Foods in Boulder. It proved fleeting, and even there I felt on display, with other shoppers taking voyeuristic interest in the contents of my cart. Boulder Whole Foods being a notorious meat market, single women seemed particularly interested in my vitamins, as if getting a sneak peek at imperfections destined to present themselves six months into a new relationship. Walking the aisles whose wood always reminds me of a comfortable 1970's den, I smiled at those idiosyncrasies that seem soooo American to me: the obsession with transfats in cooking directions, or the omnipresent, magic elixir approach to advertising product.

Down in New Mexico too, I initially felt most relaxed at Whole Foods, the ubiquitous dot along the songline of my multiple yoga teacher trainings, marking where I'd grab dinner after a long day on the mat. One late-winter evening, I'd escaped the house, driven into the cold by the TV. I'd hoped to spend the evening with the Super Bowl, but in my still jet-lagged state, found it too brash and noisy. That morning I'd grabbed a tube of lotion, in order to soothe hands cracked open by the cold. Upon removing the lid, the entire package emptied out in one go, finally freed after the pressurized confinement of altitude. Buying a new tube, hopefully one more eco-friendly than the cheap shit I'd bought in Bangkok, gave me an excuse to flee the adrenal-charged sports commentary echoing down the abode wallways.

I detoured to the pizza counter, as I do. Ahead of me, a Latino family was ordering a slice, in Spanish. The familiar finally found me, and I finally exhaled. Good god, I love New Mexico. Dios mio, I think I'm home...

On the turntable: "Putumayo presents: Italian Cafe"
On the nighttable: Mark Singleton, "Yoga Body"
On the reel table: "Mr. Thank You" (Shimizu, 1936)

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