Yoga Can’t Relieve Vinnie’s Mom’s Stress



Vinnie’s mom is doing the downward dog in yoga class at her gym.

“Ah, our hamstrings are telling us how happy they are during this stretch. Let go of the tension. Feel it ease out of your body,” says the yoga instructor in a voice barely audible.

Vinnie’s mom thinks her hamstrings are tight enough to allow her to play first violin for the city symphony.

The yoga instructor says, “Let’s all move into the sleeping baby and take our relaxation to the next level. Oh my, this feels so good? Let’s listen to the beat of our heart and focus on the rhythm of our breathing.”

Vinnie’s mom stretches out into the sleeping baby position and in a moment she feels the tension starting to ebb out of her body until  . . .

Jennifer Curtis-Smith, on the yoga mat next to Vinnie’s mom turns her head toward Vinnie’s mom, “Marti, your phone is vibrating. It’s disturbing everyone. It’s probably a call from Kennedy Elementary wanting you to get Vincent.”

The sound of Jennifer Curtis-Smith’s voice hits Vinnie’s mom like a serrated knife being scraped against a glass bottle. Vinnie’s mom feels the vibrating iPhone in her yoga pants iPhone pocket. She turns her head toward Jennifer Curtis-Smith and says, “Surely your mistaken, I left my iPhone in the locker.”

“I can see you your yoga pants shaking,” snarls Jennifer Curtis-Smith.

“That’s my hip flexors adjusting to this stretch,” says Vinnie’s mom pleased with her comeback.

“Shhh!” says the yoga instructor.

The vibrating phone stops. Vinnie’s mom can’t relax. Something bad happened. She tries to remember when her friends called her the eternal optimist. It happened sometime between Vinnie’s second and third birthday. It’s been downhill since. She runs the possible scenes through her head. It’s Dr. Cashman, Vinnie’s been suspended. It’s Mrs. Mavis complaining about Vinnie. It’s Al telling her he can’t take Vinnie to work tomorrow and Vinnie will have to spend the day with Mike. Vinnie’s mom tries to push the negative thoughts out of her head. They resist as if they’ve prepared for this tug of war contest for years.

“I hope you’re as energized as me, class. When we meet next Thursday, remember to leave your smart phones in your lockers.”

Vinnie’s mom and Jennifer Curtis-Smith look at each other. Vinnie’s mom is trying to figure out a way to slip her iPhone out of her yoga pants and place it on the top shelf in her locker when her iPhone begins vibrating again.


Meanwhile back at Kennedy Elementary School . . .

Vinnie is sitting behind Joey and next to Sara on his left and Larry on his right. Mrs. Mavis is setting up a PowerPoint history lesson. Vinnie takes a piece of scratch paper and scribbles a note on it. He curls the paper up into a small wad and taps Joey. He passes the note to Joey. Joey sits behind Freddie Marks. Freddie is also known as Bones.

Joey leans forward and whispers, “Bones, I need cover.”

Freddie doesn’t have a clue what Joey means. Joey’s only repeating what Vinnie says to him when Vinnie is up to something.

Sara watches the scene play out already knowing the boys are going to get in trouble. Larry isn’t paying attention, he’s sneaking a bite of a Snicker’s candy bar.

Joey lays his head on his desk, and turns his face sideways toward Mia Costanza. Mia looks at Joey and sees drool slipping out of the side of Joey’s mouth. She raises her hand.

Mrs. Mavis sees Mia raising her hand, “What is it Mia?”

“I think Joey is having a stroke. My grandma drooled out of the side of her mouth when she had a stroke and Joey’s drooling out of the side of his mouth.”

Mrs. Mavis stands on tiptoes to look over Freddie, “Joey sit up, now.”

Mrs. Mavis sees a small open note on Joey’s desk. “Joey bring me the note on your desk.”

Joey says, “What note?”

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