A few weeks ago, my girlfriend Alice and her friends went on a yoga retreat. For weeks after her return, our conversations were saturated with words like rejuvenation and soul-friends. I asked her what exactly went on at a yoga retreat to make everyone(girls) get so damn excited about it.
“Well, there’s the yoga itself, sometimes three times a day! Then meditation and vision boarding, oh and the food is amazing. We really need to start eating better around here, no more Cherries Garcia for a while. Everything was sustainable and vegan. I mean, everything. There wasn’t even honey for the tea!”
“What’s wrong with honey?” I asked, confused.
She gave me that God-your-ignorance-is-killing-me look, “honey comes from BEES. They are living creatures.”
“Isn’t all food living in some way or another?”
“These are the things that have eyes. I’m not even going to start this conversation with you right now.” She threw her hands in the air and left the kitchen.
The reason I am bringing this up is because I lost a bet a few months ago and the loser has to plan our annual guys trip. It’s a job that no one wants and I knew I was screwed the second it happened.
There was a bet going around our group as to whether our buddy James would get a girl pregnant and then get engaged or vice verse. We all met at a bar one night and James walked in looking unusual. He seemed buoyant, happy.
“Gentleman, I would like to propose a toast,” He stood on the bar stool and waved his beer, spilling some on a woman’s coat.
“What are we toasting to?”
“Tonight we are toasting to me and Jules” my heart sank, “my fiancé.”
The group erupted into a cacophony of hoots and inappropriate hand gestures. The noise subsided and suddenly they were looking at me. I was the only one who had bet the other way. Who’s the asshole now? It wasn’t that I really believed that he would father a child out of wedlock, it was that I can’t resist being a goddam contrarian. A character trait that has never once served me well.
So you might be wondering what a women’s yoga retreat has to do with my planning of our annual guys trip. That’s the beauty of it, everything. This trip is going to be one that they will never forget and, if all goes well, I will never be in danger of planning one again.
I smile to myself. I haven’t let anyone in on the secrets in store for them when they arrive. I haven’t even told Alice! The secret will be safe as long as she doesn’t open the trunk of my car where I have stashed all ten yoga mats donated from a very kind woman named Destiny whom I met on Craigslist. I was unsuccessfully scanning the Internet for inexpensive yoga mats in bulk when I stumbled across her ad on page 3 of the Google search results.
10 Gently used yoga mats. Pickup only. Cash only. Call Destiny to inquire.
The adjoining image was not promising and appeared to be ten multicolored mats sticking out of a rolling trash can in a dingy garage. I called immediately.
“Yes I have the mats. You gotta pick them up quick, my husband is this close to tossing them!” Her accent was strange and unidentifiable. A mix of Spanish and Chinese perhaps.
“Might I ask what their story is? Where they came from?”
“Sure, honey, I used to teach yoga classes out of our house but my Granmama moved in. She has terrible hearing and she can’t see a damn thing. Keeps thinking my poor Rickie is a rat. He’s a chihuahua mix I tell her!”
“Uh huh, well, how much are you asking?”
“Some of them are in better condition than others but I’m in a good mood today, I’ll give you them for $30.”
I thought for a minute. The best I could find online was $75 for ten and there was no way they would arrive in time. I considered bargaining with her but, to be honest, I was a little afraid of her.
“It’s a deal. I’ll pick them up tomorrow. Where should I go?”
“That’s great news honey! Come to 4465 Placito Canyon. Don’t mind the sign, Tonto wouldn’t hurt a fly.”
She hung up before I could ask who the hell Tonto was.
I arrived at the house a little after two the next day. The neighborhood was nice enough but Destiny’s house did not fit in with the others. The exterior was a bright green and the paint was sun stained and peeling. A collection of garden gnomes lined the walkway, each one with a sign reading various warnings. “No trespassing”, “Private Property”, “Leave or I’ll shoot.” The last one, the biggest of them all, mysteriously read “Peaches”. If you were brave enough to make it past the death knombs you were greeted with the sign she must have been referring to. “Beware of Vicious Dog” in a bright yellow diamond. The icon below was of a pit bull dragging a man’s leg by his teeth. The man appeared to be in a great deal of pain.
I looked back at the car and considered making a run for it when I heard her voice.
“Come on in honey! Don’t be shy. Tonto, come here!”
I unlocked the wooden gate and cracked it open to see the tiniest pug in existence coming towards me. “Tonto?” I guessed.
He stood looking at me making that horrible breathing sound that pugs make. I’d like to add here that the invention of the pug was a cruel one. Why kind of sadistic fuck would breed the nose off of an animal? He had no tail to speak of so he just shook his rear in excitement. I reached down and petted the anomaly.
“Come on to the back and we’ll get you your mats. They for your shop?”
“No,” I looked up at her. “I’m taking some friends on a yoga retreat.”
“Ah, a man who does yoga with other men. I like it! Come come.”
One hour and three glasses of purple lemonade later I emerged from the house with the mats.
“You come by anytime, Dusty! Good luck with the trip.”
I waved back knowing that I would never see her, her strange dogs or her demonic garden gnomes ever again.
Two months of planning, and countless confusing phone calls with various yoga gurus and health nuts, the eve of our bro weekend has arrived. I send out an email to all the guys that reads:
Tomorrow we head to an undisclosed location in Beaver Creek.
Bus leaves at 10am from Josh’s house.
Bring workout gear, a water bottle and cash.
See you tomorrow!
To be continued ….