For some reason, on Monday, I really took notice of his face. It’s really a lovely face, with angles, color and a straight, almost delicate mouth. Sometimes I think Alan could be a statue. I often ask him if he, too, thinks he could be a statue, but of course, he just laughs and looks down all modest like. On Monday, I saw bags beneath his eyes and I urged him multiple times that day to get some rest, to please, get some rest. I maybe thought that if only he could get some sleep, maybe then his face would fill out in all the places it had become hollow.
Today he told me that a nurse had weighed him and he weighed in at 143 pounds. I nearly fell out of my seat, especially considering that is just a hair more than I would weigh at 5’3″ if I ate 2 large pizzas by myself and didn’t go to the bathroom the next morning. At 6’1″, he has always been on the lean side, but he used to weigh 175 pounds. I wonder how I did not see 30 pounds of him disappear, and I wonder when it happened. Was it over the weekend while I wasn’t looking? It was like I saw it, but I didn’t really see it. And to hear the number out loud was shocking.
I was still thinking about the missing 30 pounds as I drove to yoga this evening and then as I rolled out my mat and started doing poses. After about 15 minutes of class, something miraculous happened. I found my brain consumed with another worry all together and it was a nice intermission from my usual woes. This time my worry was focused on gas, specifically on how to not pass gas loudly. I always try not to eat gas-causing foods the days I go to yoga, but sometimes I forget, and today it seemed as though I had forgotten to mind those usual suspects.
The moves we were doing today were ones that were putting pressure on my gas-maker. I wasn’t sure what to do, but I knew I couldn’t hold it in. Everyone knows that if you hold it in, eventually it will erupt out of you and without discretion. It will not care that it is coming out when the class is the quietest. Now, this wouldn’t be a problem if farts were not funny and if they did not somehow have the effect of transforming people into 10 year olds. But the truth is, they are funny, incredibly funny, except when it happens to you. Then it is just unfortunate and embarrassing.
You would like to think that a room full of adults would be able to handle themselves upon hearing passed gas, but I know for a fact that certain individuals cannot. Once someone farted a great big fart during a challenging pose. He tried his hardest to act like he hadn’t just let one loose, and if you looked at him, you might be inclined to believe him. But Denise and I knew, we had heard it, we were right there. I could feel the wild laughter growing in my belly. I tried so hard to hold it in, but Denise… Denise was a lost cause. Her chest was shaking so violently, I thought she might be having a seizure, which forced me to look at her and start seizing myself. The harder she tried to stop laughing, the harder she laughed and the harder I seized because of course, we didn’t want him to know we knew (especially since he was trying to keep it together and all).
I was thinking about all this, when I began thinking about Alan again. And then I thought, Maybe we have it all wrong. Maybe that phrase stitched on pillows — “laughter is the best medicine” — should be amended. Maybe it’s really “farting is the best medicine” because farts are really the source of a type of laughter that is purely innocent, contagious, uncontrollable and utterly ridiculous.[p.s. Now that I’ve mentioned it, it’s so going to happen to me next week, isn’t it?]