My second novel, Morning Light, was published to good reviews and I’d been invited to do a book signing and reading at a well-known bookstore in Albuquerque. I drove down in high spirits, looking forward to sharing my work. The staff assured me they had done enough publicity to expect a good number of people to attend.
I arrived early, signed copies of my novel, and helped the bookstore staff arranged them on a table. It was my first bookstore reading and I was excited and apprehensive, relieved when a woman walked in, took a seat in the second row, and patiently waited. I smiled at her, inwardly worried when no one else appeared to be attending.
I signed up for a series of group ski lessons, wanting to increase my confidence and hone my skills. There were five of us at the first lesson—four men and me. The instructor chatted and joked with the men, leaving me to wonder whether I should quit the class and ask for my money back. I decided to stay and followed the men who followed the instructor, which in itself was sort of a victory as they were more skilled and their pace was faster than mine.
It snowed the next Monday with a fierce wind making driving conditions hazardous on the road to the ski basin. There was a blurb on the skisantafe website: Winter road conditions. 4-wheel, all-wheel, snow tires highly recommended. I could not force myself to drive up to my ski lesson. Missing one class out of five didn’t seem terrible.
We meet regularly in a local park for an hour’s tai chi lesson. Usually there are anywhere from about six to a dozen people participating. I’m happy to blend in with the group because it’s less likely my conflicted feelings about whether I want to continue participating will show. Having to remember complicated sequences of physical moves irritates and frustrates me, yet it’s a centuries old technique and part of me appreciates the ages-old activity and tradition.
One morning, when I arrived for the class, the teacher was going through one of the sequences. I followed his motions, waiting for people to show up. After a while, the teacher stopped what he was doing. No one else had appeared. He did not look happy. I offered to leave. He nodded. I put my sweater back on, picked up my bag, and started walking away, feeling like I didn’t matter.
Life tales from a woman different living in The City Different.