Something unfortunate had happened. Something about a misunderstanding as to why she went to Vietnam like, during the Vietnam War. All that had happened before I was born and in true pre-teen understanding it’s not like it really happened ‘cause, like, it didn’t happen to me. I knew her as the dorky secretary in 9 to 5, who said, “Hit the road buster, this is where you get off!” And “because you’re a sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot.” Whatever that meant, it was funny cause the women all had dreams like that. But the friends of my parents we went to the 9 to 5 movie with kept calling her Hanoi Jane. Afterward I asked my parents about the “Hand-eye Jane” thing. My father said Jane Fonda has a big mouth and my mother said she was against the Vietnam war and that’s why they called her names. I no longer liked those friends, they tell us not to call each other names and then they do it. That’s called being a hippocrate and only doctors are suppose to do it.
Then, I don’t know how long after that, maybe a couple of summers, my mother got ‘Physical, physical. Let me hear your body talk.’ And that dorky secretary was in our living room in the morning saying something like, “Start with your feet, shoulder width apart and inhale…”. Every morning I’d sit in the kitchen eating either, Cheerios, Co-Co Wheats, or a banana with peanut butter and listening to “Start with your feet, shoulder width apart and inhale…”. I truly did not understand this. My mom had the waspy good looks of Morgan Fairchild and the upper-body strength of a blacksmith. (Honestly the woman is pushing 70 now and she could probably still bench press across the room me if I mouthed off to her – one more time!.) Finally, I walked into the living room. “Wow! Is that the woman from 9 to 5? She’s so pretty.”
And my mom said, “Get your ass back into the kitchen with that food! And if I see one Cheerio on the floor I’m going to throttle you.” Which I also didn’t understand because anything left on the floor was eaten either by the dog or sometimes, when he thought no one was looking, my father.
But anyway, A LONG time later I can still recite the words to the video, “Start with your feet, shoulder width apart and inhale…” all the way to the end where I imagine she was lying on the floor “feel your back touching the floor and imagine a string pulling you tall, now remember this when you stand up. Let’s pull up slowly….”
I am now the same age as my mother was when she followed along with the Hand-eye Jane from 9 to 5. I am not massively overweight but getting thicker around the middle. Losing 15 pounds would not hurt me and would certainly make my knees feel a lot better. I have so very many choices: palates, Wii fit, biking (now called spinning), water aerobics, that thing with the big ball, drugs, the giant rubber bands, cardio, weights, drugs (I say this twice because considering how much of this crap is in the pharmacy aisles it bears a second mention.), netflix streaming has an entire section of fitness videos, yoga. Oh yoga, everyone does it. Our new rec center up the street has a lot of yoga classes for young and old and pregnant and athletes and pets.
But what do I do every morning? Close my eyes, listening to the memory, I start with my feet, shoulder width apart.