One of my regulars, a lady in her early 60’s, is always telling me about her exercise regime. Apparently these exercises, relayed to her father by a Chinese doctor, have cured her of leukemia. Her skin has the yellowish tone of someone who’s very ill.
Her exercise regime is to do two thousand arm swings every day. They’re exactly like the hundred arms exercise in Pilates only standing up. I don’t blame her for being obsessed, but sometimes when I see her outside the station swinging her arms, I suddenly think of something I have to do in the office. I‘ve known her to miss trains because she hasn’t reached two thousand yet.
Being so ill must be a lonely business. So today I’m listening and so are a couple of social workers up from the hospital waiting to catch the train who want to hear all about this life saving exercise.
“Clench your bottom,” cries the lady. “And tuck in your belly. Clench your bottom and swing your arms.”
Such is the authority in her voice that I see the social workers begin to swing their arms and, I suspect, clench their bottoms. Oh no! I’m doing it too. As the train rolls in, there are the four of us swinging our arms in the autumn sun while the lady yells “clench your bottom.”
I see less of M and C now but this is a good thing. An NGO has found them a place to live. http://www.hanover.org.au/
C is pregnant and I had terrible visions of them being homeless with a newborn. I suspect they did too – though they made tough noises about it. M is delighted with his new backpack and wears it everywhere. A profound thank you to the people who offered them.