While other kids brought flasks to the senior prom, I ordered iced tea to sip on. There was something about growing up as the teacher’s pet all those years that had convinced me that I knew better. It was rather time consuming to possess and to project such a degree of self righteousness, so when I left for college, I forgot all about the eye rolls I had reserved for the sloppy people who had had too much to drink, and instead found myself clinking shot glasses and saying things like “Bottoms up!” with a big cheesy grin. (Actually, I never said things like that, but if I could go back and do it all over again, I would — yes, definitely, I would definitely like to say something like that.)
I was learning all sorts of things then and was surprised to learn that some people collected shot glasses for practical use and not just for display like those collectible silver spoons you can buy at the gift shops at Niagara Falls. The shot glass collectors were the ones you had to watch out for because on Friday nights, even if you were just walking past on your way back from dinner, they would beckon you over. And then they would ask which shot glass you wanted. I had figured it to be an innocent enough question, and always a sucker for gifts, I took my time and looked over the selection. I picked out a glass with a tiny acrylic man wrapped around the base of it. He was wearing a sombrero. I had never been to Mexico at this point in my life, and I thought that with the shot glass perched on my desk, people might make me for more of a cultured person than I really was. But when I pointed to the glass, my dorm mate did not hand it over. Instead, she filled it to the tip top with a clear liquor contained in a big plastic jug. She filled a few other shot glasses for some other people she had gotten to join in, and after a few rounds, I had completely bought into her cause.
Very shortly after, I learned what many of my peers had probably learned a few years before. Taking six shots in a row, no matter how cool the shot glass is, is sometimes not the best idea if you don’t want to spend the night hugging the toilet. Which is what I did. I spent the entire night saying hello to my dinner and swearing to whomever was listening that I would never touch a shot glass ever again, if only the feeling of imminent death would subside.
The feeling did eventually go away and with my lesson learned, I grabbed onto the handy concept of pacing myself and never let go.
Until Thursday. Thursday was the day that my bold, invincible 18 year old self decided I could, in fact, take the yoga equivalent of 6 shots in half an hour. The yoga equivalent also known as Bikram. Maybe I was dehydrated. Or maybe it was the 105 degree room. It could have been any number of things. But Thursday was the day that I left the yoga class twenty minutes early feeling for all the world like I had just downed a really cheap bottle of vodka. (The one that comes in the plastic jug with the red label. You know what I’m talking about.) I held my hand over my mouth, willing every fiber of my being to keep the Wheat Thins and water I had consumed before class down and to not make a spectacle of myself. I held it together until I reached my car where I collapsed in a heap on the curb. I began bargaining. With God, or maybe just with myself, I don’t know. But I promised that if I didn’t die right then and there, if I could just not black out and regain control of my heart palpitations, I would be a better person. I would smile more, I would donate more. I would give Goodwill the jeans in my closet that I will never wear again but could never bear to give away.
I was hoping that someone older and wiser might come along and tell me to stop being such a moron or that I was going to kill my liver if I kept this up, but instead everyone I’ve talked to says to give Bikram a few more tries. I’ve just gotten a 30 day all-you-can-yoga pass at this new studio, so maybe I will break out the sombrero shot glass, reach down to find the 18 year old in me, and give it another go.