I live in a beachside suburb where you don't say hello, please or thank you, you say namaste. No, I'm not in Goa, India, I'm in an upper middle class suburb of one of the world's most famous cities.
You won't find many houses round here with change from a million unless you're playing monopoly but you will find kale and quinoa and teff by the bamboo bucket load, almond milk cappuccinos sprinkled with chia seeds and pseudo hippy retired bankers who clearly don't understand irony. Oh, and lots of white people. Lots.
If you don't have a design blog, drop crotch silk pants, a doula, an Instagram account and a preferred yoga studio then keep on driving through because this zipcode is clearly not for you.
Trouble is there's only one road in and one road out and it sits on a peninsula surrounded by water which makes the catchment area of potential new faces rather dire. Community minded folk would say this is a good thing. But divorcees on the prowl would say the one wine bar is filled with recycled material, which of course then suits the yogis because the material comes with a past life. See, everything comes full circle in bubble towns.
Not that I'm complaining -- oh, ok I am a little -- but those blinded by their own paradise can become a little delusional. A recent chat with a local revealed his belief that the NYE fireworks put on by a nearby pub on the water were just as good as the ones in "the big smoke."
That big smoke happens to be Sydney Harbour and we all know what happens there on New Year's Eve. I figured he mustn't have gone into the city centre since 1974.
The good news is if you need your chakras aligned, energy healed or a bliss ball with goji berries then you need only walk two retail spaces at a time. But it will, like everything in first world paradise, cost you.
When I first arrived I spotted a Malawi chair that my life would be worthless without having. You know the kind, the ones design bloggers salivate over till the Ghana or Tibetan or Kazhakstanian chair arrives and the Malawi is tossed aside.
My village is filled with lifestyle stores filled with mason jars posing as vases and cafes using those same mason jars to serve the intestines of a celery stick in. But I digress.
I knew my life would be enhanced by the said Malawi chair the way the local yummy mummy could not live without a downward dog. When I enquired about the price I was informed it was $900 to which I replied "for a set of four?"
In the next suburb south from mine I found the same Malawi chair for $825 and it came with a cushion. Two more suburbs down and I found it for $450, cushion was extra. I knew if I dared to continue towards, eee gads, urban civilization, then it would be $20 by the time I hit inner city Chinatown but how would I know then it was really from Malawi?
Ok, I bought it for $450 and it sits proudly in my bedroom, styled within an inch of it's life with a pale grey cushion the color of cumulo nimbus clouds. Have I ever sat on it? Don't be stupid.
I wonder what the Swamis would make of yoga mats sitting side by side with $800 Malawi chairs? Not that all Swamis abstain from the ways of the world. That's like saying all Catholic priests are celibate. Let's not mention Swami Nithyananda, Asharam Bapu and Sai Baba. Confused? One word, Google.
Philandering Swamis aside, yoga has infested middle class women's psyche the way Jane Fonda and her high cut leotards did in the eighties. Not that I am complaining, again. I have been known to experience the reward of a damn good Cow Face Pose and the restorative qualities of a hip opening on a Tuesday evening with the sound of the sea masking the sound of unmentionable gasses.
But around these parts yoga mentionitis is rife. Try sipping a dandelion chai latte without someone dropping pranayama into the conversation. Do you even know how to spell it?
Yes, yes, yoga has changed your life, I don't doubt that in some way it has, when I bother to do it regularly it changes mine in subtle ways so the theory would be if you continued then those changes could be bigger.
But the truth is there are no quick fixes, no short cuts to sitting with yourself no matter how many salutes you do to the sun. The work may be in the pose but the really hard work is when you leave the studio.
Perhaps that's what I should do with my Malawi chair? Open it up for people to sit with themselves. I can serve fresh cut grass clipping tea filtered through my dead nanna's tea towel and blessed by the smudge stick I used to clear my home from my ex lover (true story that deserves a blog post of it's own).
You can namaste me later.