When I asked about tai chi fan today, the Y employee told me that while it is a beginner’s course, you have to know tai chi before you take it. It involves doing traditional tai chi moves while manoeuvering a rather sinister-looking fan in some very fancy-pants procedures.
“For a real beginner tai chi class,” he said, “You’ll have to go to the Y downtown.”
In case anybody thinks I’m adventurous, I should explain that my favourite thing in the world is to wake up on the morning of a day in which I have not made a single plan. I like to stumble through my ablutions, fix a café au lait with the Italian pot, write 900 words of my novel, and walk to Jean-Talon Market and sample cold, salted slices of Lebanese cucumber. I do not like anything new or challenging. After the market I like to trundle home by way of the organic shop on Rue Belanger and buy the same kind of flat bread I always buy, and walk the same route back to my apartment that I walk every day. Come home, read The Economist, make sure the paper towel and toilet paper roll-ends are facing out, lie around drinking endless cups of Alwazah tea. Two days in a row like that and I’m in a coma of happiness. I love nothing better than to dangle my legs from the tall stool beside my sleeping cat in a patch of sun in the kitchen. This business of resolving to do something daily that I’ve never done before is not my true nature. My true nature is Lady Sloth Fest.
So when the young man told me I’d have to go to the Y downtown instead of my habitual Chinatown Y, my inner sloth started whining: Meh, me not like downtown Y, me not even know where it is, me want stay in nice favourite Chinatown place with all the Cantonese women making their sea of incomprehensible hollering which I find comforting as I towel-dry my toes. Me want to stay here.
But I resolved, didn’t I, to do something new each day. So I phoned the Y downtown and found out I can start beginner tai chi next week in studio 4. My teacher is Han Qing and I have a choice between plain cotton socks and ballet slippers.
But can we even call that a choice? This called for an immediate safari to the drugstore for this pair of ballet flats that came in their own shiny gold case.