Ferrin’s wisdom is on hold this weekYou’re probably wondering where Mike Ferrin is. Mike was suddenly called out of the country and couldn’t write “Itaewon Wanderings” this week. He’ll be back.
He was kind enough to suggest that I do a “guest column” in his stead. Since I’m his editor, I didn’t technically need his permission, but it was generous and flattering of him to offer it.
The problem is that I don’t live in Itaewon, though I do live in a part of Hannam-dong that’s close enough to qualify as an inner suburb. It’s quiet and full of embassies. It’s only a few minutes’ walk from Itaewon’s many attractions, but it’s sealed off from the general skankiness. So I’m not “wired to the ’Won” the way Mike is. I’m not even absolutely sure what goes on in juicy bars.
How about if I talk about my back pain?
Don’t get me started. I move like a guy trying to win a whiplash lawsuit. Strangers come up to me and ask what the matter is. As near as I can tell, the problem is a combination of genetics and the fact that I haven’t gotten any exercise since the 1970s.
Not long ago, I was at a wine bar with a couple of friends when we found a flier for Magic Pond Yoga School.
This was in early December, a dangerous time to be exposed to new challenges. January is close enough that you might be thinking about New Year’s resolutions, but it’s far enough off that you’re not thinking about living up to them.
Magic Pond Yoga School is in Itaewon, on the fifth floor of a building just south of the Crown Hotel. They have a nice Web site at www.rayayoga.co.kr. Our instructor is a gentle and intimidatingly flexible Dutchman named Ron.
It turns out that I had yoga pictured wrong. It isn’t about sitting in a lotus position and waiting to get serene. It’s more like a torture rack where they serve green tea, though my classmates don’t seem to feel that way about it.
I’ve only been to class three times, because other things keep coming up, like the need to not get out of bed. Last Tuesday, I almost gave up. Ron asked us to assume the “sleeping pigeon” position, in which you put one knee forward, stretch the other leg back, bring your arms down and tuck your head in.
I was able to do my own variation on “sleeping pigeon,” which is “twitching, maimed pigeon hoping to be put out of its pain.” But the position after that was so unthinkable that I seem to have blotted even its name out of my memory, the way people who’ve been in a car accident can’t remember the moment of impact.
It was then that I had a spiritual awakening. I asked myself, “What would Mike Ferrin do?”
Faced with back pain, Mike never would have signed up for yoga in the first place. He would have signed up for a Thai massage from the lovely Aweeka at Chez Vous. This is why we need his wisdom, and why I know you’re hoping as much as I am that he comes back next week.
by David Moll