My school days aren’t behind me |

My school days aren’t behind me

Alison BerkleyAspen, CO Colorado

I was sitting around with a bunch of my friends the other day when it occurred to me that I am one month away from actually going to yoga school.”Who goes to yoga school?” I asked them, exploding into a fit of laughter. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not dissing yoga school or yoga teachers or teaching yoga. It’s the idea of me going to yoga school that’s funny.I’ve never been very good at school. From go, I didn’t appreciate being told what to do or being told when to do it. This goes way back, like to kindergarten or first grade. I distinctly remember waking up one morning when I was like 6 years old and wondering what would happen if I just said “no” to everyone.I philosophized about this for quite some time. What would they do? Would they arrest me? Throw me in the dungeon? Don’t ask me why I was already analyzing civil disobedience when I was six years old – that’s one for my shrink to figure out.I made up my mind that I would try it that day at school. The wait for Mrs. Sikes to call on me for the first time was excruciating, with even more pencil flicking and foot tapping going on than usual. Finally, my opportunity came during reading class.”Alison, would you please read from page 72?” Mrs. Sikes asked.”No,” I replied, stifling a giggle. I wasn’t scared at all. I thought I was hilarious.”Excuse me?” she asked, her hands on her wide hips, peering at me over the reading glasses that were precariously perched on the end of her nose.”No,” I repeated, ready to win her little staring contest.The whole class fell silent.She approached my desk and put both hands on it like she might push it through the floor and drop me into the secret dungeon where they put first-graders like me. Her glasses had fallen off her face and were swinging to and fro on a metal chain around her neck.”Do you care to repeat that?””No,” I said. Talk about a rhetorical question! I decided I was definitely smarter than her.”That’s a detention!” She bellowed.”No.””That’s another detention!”This went on for quite some time until she finally yanked me out of the chair by my elbow, dragged me out into the hallway and shoved me in the direction of the principal’s office.”Hi, Mr. Green Hamburger!” I said when Mr. Greenberg let me in the door. It was another one of my little jokes I personally thought was very funny.His face turned bright red and he slammed the door behind me. “Don’t ever call me that again, young lady! Now sit down and be quiet! You are in a lot of trouble!”He gave me some speech about being disruptive and disrespectful and I was sentenced to a week of detention. No dungeon. No jail time. All I had to do was write “I will be quiet” on the board 50 times. I actually thought that was pretty cool because I liked chalk almost as much as crayons.In third grade, my civil disobedience blossomed into full-bore anarchy. One day, my friends and I were sitting around talking about nothing and I go, “Why do we smile with our top teeth and not our bottom teeth?”We spent the rest of the afternoon experimenting with various bottom teeth smiles, which quickly evolved into a whole new way of talking, our own language with code names and little idioms and special greetings. We called it “Sky Fly Language” after this kite I had that had bloodshot eyes on it.Soon everyone in third grade was talking Sky Fly. The appropriate greeting was to say, “Halloooooo” with your arm straight up Hitler-style. We also loved to go, “ma ma ma ma ma” with our bottom teeth sticking out. That didn’t really mean anything, it just sounded cool and felt kind of good to do it.The teachers had this huge meeting, desperate to get us to stop, but it was too late. Sky Fly language was all the rage.Instead, Mrs. Stump made this big scene by dragging my desk across the room and slamming it against the wall. She yelled at me for being disruptive and told me I needed to be “separated from the other children.”I thought that was really funny – so funny in fact, that I could not control my laughter. This little problem got progressively worse. Every time Mrs. Stump would call on me, I’d burst into a fit of hysterics, tears rolling down my cheeks. Of course this made all the other kids laugh, too. I was very popular that year, even if I did spend half of it in Mr. Green Hamburger’s office.I learned how to laugh without making any noise until one day I had a little “outburst” and confronted Mrs. Stump.”Why is it so bad if I laugh?” I asked, incredulous. “What’s wrong with being happy? What do you want me to do? Cry?”My yoga teacher has already warned me that when I go to yoga school, I have to go as a blank slate. “Bikram will break you down to nothing and then build you back up again,” she said. “But it’s really important that you just memorize the dialogue and do what he says.”When she saw that twisted look of concern on my face she put her hand on my leg and said, “I want you to have ideas. But just try not to have them until you get back.”Something tells me nine weeks of yoga boot camp is no joke. Something tells me maybe I’m finally about to get schooled.The Princess is planning to get a lot of partying in over the next couple weeks. Send your free drink coupons to