i reviewed a deepak chopra book yesterday. deepak chopra has not, historically, been my brand of tea. how i came to own one of his books may be more interesting than the book itself (and the book is quite interesting).
every week i try to eat lunch with someone off the beaten path; former colleagues, friends i haven't seen in a while, people i think i'd like to know better. these lunches usually happen on friday. this story begins at one such lunch, although it took place on a thursday, not that it matters entirely, but it matters enough. lunch was with a friend i met a few years back and we typically meet every other month or so. this time we were eating at my usual sushi haunt. after paying and just before leaving, i excused myself to the bathroom. this restaurant's space is very limited and to use the restroom, you have to walk through the kitchen, past the chefs, by the storage area and beyond the prep stations. when i arrived at the washroom, the owner was blocking the bathroom door on a makeshift table chopping seaweed or the some other oceany thing. seeing me coming she lifted her chopping board and smiled as i slipped by. the bathroom is a single unisex deal more like what you'd find in your home than in a typical restaurant. while urinating i felt a small gas bubble move forward. i relaxed to release what i expected to be a wispy kiss of air only to, instead, have a rocketing explosion of thunderous gas explode from my unsuspecting bottom to make something that sounded like machine gun fire instead of a pedestrian squeak. my eyes shot wide at this turn and my body locked up at the volume and violence of this digestive outburst. worse yet, that tiny little orb of gas seemed to be holding back an undetected crackatoa level event as i could now sense more of the same storming my sphincter's gates. unable to stop what was imminently developing, more gas rang from my backside. then more. i suddenly became fearful of what other surprises might be in store and quickly, more quickly than i can describe, unhitched my belt, lowered my pants and spun, dropping onto the toilet. what followed was a cacophony of rectal turmoil any truck stop or saturday morning frat house would have paid homage to.
when it subsided, finally, after what seemed like five or more minutes, the small japanese lady standing just outside the door came back to mind. what must she be thinking. one of her most frequent customers just walked by her, in his usual shirt and tie. he seemed fine and ok upon entry but then this volatile event unfolded on the other side of the door. although, having worked in restaurants myself, i'm sure she was more concerned in dealing with the aftermath of whatever was happening in her establishment's only restroom. but when it slowed and then seemed to end, i stood up trepidatiously. i zipped up and then washed up. i paused at the door before opening it, bracing to face my first accuser and ready for my walk of shame past her. when i opened the door the lady was already standing back as if at the attention of a royal, her cutting board was again held to her chest but this time it seemed to be more of a protective instrument should i begin loosing my uncontrollable flatulence upon her directly. her eyes looked wide and shocked. giving her only a brief glance, i looked down and quickly slid by her and towards the kitchen.
the moment before stepping into the kitchen it occurred to me that the cooks most likely heard what just happened. more panic. i didn't look at them and kept my head down and i rapidly stalked by. my mind's eye imagined them all pausing from their prep work to look at the seemingly mild-mannered guy who just went exorcist in their shared bathroom. then as i passed through the door jam to the eating area, the thought returned. did the whole dining room just hear my episode. i walked straight to my table and without pause said to my mate, "let's jet dude" and turned to leave without waiting for a response. again, i kept my head down and didn't look at a single person until i was out of the space.
walking to the car i wondered intensely if my lunch date had heard it. and if he had did we know each other well enough for him to say something. i was unsure. once in the car, i studied him. he showed no signs one way or the other. as we neared my office i asked him to drop me at home (which is in walking distance of my office) as i wasn't sure if there was going to be more bathroom drama and i would much rather have it play out in the privacy of my home's restroom than before my colleagues. so my friend dropped me off and there, thankfully, was no more drama but i was surely emotionally spent from the ordeal.
the next day i had a work meeting with my friend's wife. as i walked to her office, yesterday's episode played through my head. i still wondered if my friend had heard me. then i wondered if he had if he would have told his wife about it. all sorts of scenarios played through my head. i imagined what i would have done had i received such a gift from the story gods ("dude, i was eating with the guy and he said he had to go the john and then he like, totally, blew the place up ... and everyone was looking at me and i was all, like, hey i just met the guy ..."). imagining all the sport i would have with such a yarn, by the time i arrived at the lady's office i was brittle. i studied her every move and glance from the moment i walked in and sat down. again, no sign. all seemed well and i slowly gained my footing and stride. we met for our hour as expected and by the end, it was all very far from my memory. as i stood to leave, she stopped me saying, "oh troy, i have a book i wanted to give you." i stopped in the doorway and watched as she went to her bookshelves and quickly perused the many titles. she then settled on one, pulled it from it's slot with her pointer finger, and held it out to me. i took it and looked down at the title. it read PERFECT DIGESTION by Deepak Chopra.
he heard! and he told! my mind conjured hysterical scenarios of how that must have unfolded. them in their bedroom before bed after the kids had been put down rolling and crying the re-telling. his brilliant and colorful descriptions of the sounds and noises would have been overly colorful and animated. i know mine would have been had the gift been handed to me. die by the sword and all that.
as i looked down at this book i was unable to look her in the face. it was like she was saying she knew impotence was hard but she had an uncle who suffered from it and this book helped him. after a longish moment of pretending to read the books jacket while she described its contents (of which i heard exactly none) i slid the book into my bag, thanked her and left. i walked back to my office in a stupor. i felt like going back and screaming that this was an aberration, that i don't always near prolapse my rectum in tiny public restrooms after sushi and it has never happened before. and i think it's a bit early for a fricken' intervention!
then i calmed down. i tossed the book aside, put the episode behind me and moved on. it happened and there was nothing i could do to change it (although aleo did ask to go to that sushi house six days later while we were out and i couldn't dissuade him and i swear the owner lady never took her eyes off of me - and, no i didn't use the restoom - and i would have peed myself before using the restroom ). after a few weeks and just before another meeting with my friend's wife, i picked the book up, having never opened it, to return it to her. i was going to confess to not having gotten to it, saying it wasn't my usual sort of reading, which is so true. when i arrived at her office, i was told she was running about fifteen minutes late and a student receptionist pointed me to some chairs to wait. two minutes into my wait i was bummed that i didn't bring the book i was reading. after another two minutes the regret of not having my book returned and i caught myself thinking, if only i had a book to read. my eyes drifted to PERFECT DIGESTION book quietly occupying the chair to my left. i picked it up, paged to the start and began reading. before the eleven minutes were up, i was hooked and rivited.
i never thought the human digestive tract could be made so interesting but this treatment made it downright fascinating. i still returned the book but instead of saying it wasn't my cup of tea, i said it was so very much my cup of tea and i needed my own copy so i could mark it up and make my notes.
and this is how i came to be one of the many readers of deepak chopra.
and are you wondering if my friend did hear my five minutes of explosive gas in the sushi house that day (as i was)? several months after the event, we had brunch at their house and i shared the whole story with them and after talking about what happened to me in the bathroom and asking if he had heard, he laughingly said he didn't hear a thing. but, reliable as guys are, he said he wished he had as it would have been a good story for him to tell. on this, we can agree.