Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi
An Excerpt from Chapter 26
In Northampton I wanted to continue the work I had begun with my Princeton psychotherapist, Valerie. So I consulted the local holistic magazine Many Hands, with its vast directory of holistic practitioners. I paged through looking for a psychotherapist with a mindfulness bent and found a woman who advertised to include in her sessions not only meditation but also Ayurveda. I called and set up an appointment.
The following Tuesday at the designated time, I drove to the address she gave me. I found the door and went into the waiting room.
The waiting room was homey and very comfortable, if a bit messy. There was a sofa, a few chairs, and a coffee table with magazines and a few novels. There was also a half-full cup of tea on a saucer with a half-eaten English muffin. And oddly, on the carpet, someone had left behind a pair of woolen socks. Keep in mind that when you live in Northampton, Massachusetts, hometown of Augusten Burroughs’s Running with Scissors, this is of particular concern.
I flipped through a copy of Natural Health magazine as I waited.
That’s when the therapist, whom I immediately recognized from her photo in Many Hands, walked through the waiting room.
Two years earlier, at Ruby’s massage parlor in High Point, I was proud to have been so naive and pure. This time I was pissed. “How could I have missed this again!?” I felt like knocking my head like Will Ferrell in Old School: “Dang it! I’m such an idiot!”
My “therapist” was wearing a towel around her waist and nothing on top. Her hair was wet. She ignored me completely as she passed through, all business. She went through to her office, did not shut the door, dropped her towel, and put on her panties, as I watched and waited.
I could see past her, into the rest of her office, and plain as day, there was a big bed. It was not red velvet, mind you, it was more respectable than that, but it was still a bed in my naked psychotherapist’s office.
The possibilities raced through my mind:
1. Sex therapist? It didn’t mention that in Many Hands.
2. Some funky Ayurveda connection? One of the seven branches of Ayurvedic medicine is dedicated wholly to fertility, after all. No. Ayurveda may have remedies for fertility, and it may recommend employing nontoasted sesame oil on one’s penis and anus to protect against the wind, and it may advise the use of vomit therapy or even leeches on occasion, but I had not yet heard of Ayurvedic sex therapists, at least not in the United States.
3. Maybe she’s just a free spirit. What do clothes matter, anyway? We’re all really just animals when it comes down to it. Maybe it frees up her clients. Makes them feel safe to be vulnerable when she herself has been so vulnerable and naked. This is Northampton, after all. In fact, I once heard of a totally legit, nonsexual, therapeutic massage style that was performed with both the client and the therapist naked. It was said to free up the energy and set everyone more at ease.
4. And I considered the only other option: Prostitute? Maybe...
Then, as in a Hitchcock film when the protagonist has a revelation and is shaken to the core with the whole frame spinning out of control, I suddenly realized that this was not, in fact, her office, and I was not, in fact, in a waiting room.
I was sitting, unbeknownst to her, in her den, and I had just watched her walk, naked, from the shower to the bedroom in her own private apartment. Her office had another entrance a few yards away from this one, which I now remembered seeing in the parking lot.
I was a Peeping Tom. She was getting ready for work, and as in a porn shop viewing booth, I had just watched her put on her panties. I was mortified.
I considered my options:
A. Approach her bedroom and fess up to what just happened. Maybe we’d share a hearty laugh.
No way. Much, much too creepy. She’d scream. She’d freak out. She’d call the cops.
B. I could quietly put down my magazine, stand up without making the sofa creak, tiptoe across the floor, and ease out the door to head for the other entrance, where there were likely to be no naked people.
I chose option B. There was a risk, though. Turning myself in would be better than getting caught as I fled the scene. Still, I went with B.
I made it out quietly and reentered the building through the correct door. A few minutes later, she appeared, fully dressed, and quite smartly at that, to welcome me in.
During the hour, we talked about my lack of friendships in town. And she never knew that I had seen her naked, that I knew she wore daisy panties.
Probably for the best.
I’m wondering now, though, fifteen years later, whether she’ll read this book and piece it all together.
Brian Leaf, M.A. is the author of Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi. He draws upon twenty-one years of intensive study, practice, and teaching of yoga, meditation, and holistic health. Visit him online at http://www.Misadventures-of-a-Yogi.com.
Excerpted from the book Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi ©2012 by Brian Leaf. Published with permission of New World Library http://www.newworldlibrary.com