Often when I go to yoga class on a Sunday morning I run into a particular guy in the street. He’s one of those local characters, a bit larger than life. He hangs around by the bus stop or the coffee shop and shouts out to people as they pass. He’s really friendly, with his calls of greeting and his huge smile. Way, way too friendly for England, that’s for sure. We’re characteristically a bit head down, avoiding eye contact. And is he just friendly or is it more than that? Is he homeless? Maybe he’s on drugs? He looks pretty harmless…
But you know how yoga gets to you and opens you up? And that happy feeling after class when the world seems an easier place to inhabit? So despite years of conditioning and those English shyness genes, I often stop and talk to this guy now. He grins at me every time he sees me. He can’t believe I walk a couple of miles across town at silly o-clock on a Sunday morning to go to yoga class. So we pass the time of day, clown around a bit, and then go our separate ways.
And then today I had a thought. While I’m busy judging him as the neighbourhood strange guy and wondering what his story is, it suddenly occurred to me that in his eyes it could well be me who’s the weirdo!
I’m the girl who hangs around his neighbourhood at strange times in early morning and late evening, I wear clothes that maybe aren’t appropriate for my age (tight yoga leggings — strangely coupled with a formal overcoat and regular shoes if I’m halfway between work and yoga outfits), sometimes I smell really, really bad and am all sweaty, and I’m usually muttering to myself in Sanskrit as I walk along drinking herbal tea from a flask or stuffing a protein bar into my face with indecent haste.
Is this normal behaviour? It seems perfectly reasonable to me now….
But just maybe I’m the weirdo in his neighbourhood!