Yoga with a heart full of hate

I often walk in to yoga with a 50-something woman who has glommed onto me. I am flypaper.

Into a sanctuary of quiet, she arrives most nights complaining, in full volume, about the parking. She does not take my cue to whisper. She does not seem to get yoga.

This time, we run into each other outside before class, in the outer regions of the parking lot. It is far, but it’s on the highest hill in the area, the view is vast, and the moon is almost full.

“Could we park any farther away from the building?” she says.

“We are at the gym for exercise,” I say.

She talks about her dogs and her husband and the yacht club (it’s that kind of town), but it isn’t until the moment before we enter the hushed yoga studio that she asks a most penetrating question.

“I’ve noticed a lot more minorities at the gym lately. Have you?”

Just in case you were wondering, this is said not in a way that celebrates diversity at our local Y, but in the most disparaging way possible.

I am floored. I answer honestly, but inadequately.

“No, I have not noticed that.”

With that, we enter the studio where I unroll my mat as far away from her as possible and spend the class seething, mulling what I might have said.

“Do you have a problem with minorities?” “Are the minorities taking your parking spot by the door?” “I sure hope the minorities aren’t clamoring to get in your bastion-of-white-people yacht club.” “I think you are an ignorant b—.”

I realize then that this is Rick Santorum’s choir. She probably prays for Rick Perry. She will settle for Mitt Romney if she must.

I let it go while I unwind on the mat, but I hope to continue our conversation next week when I will enlighten her about race, diversity, and harmony as we make the long walk back to our cars—before I get in mine and run her off the road.

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