Day 20

Yesterday I drank 14 glasses of water, ten of which were after 2pm and I did not have to pee all night. “It’s an air to water ratio,” Erica says. “Water has a happy place with air. It’s called the saturation point and here, we’re below the saturation point and so air is always looking for water. There’s a lot of water in the human body, and so when you breath in, the air says, ‘Oh, look at all this water! I want some!’ Then you breathe out and your body loses all that water. That’s why just breathing dehydrates you in Colorado.”

Today it takes 15 glasses of water and all I do is homework for five hours. Then I go to a heated hatha yoga class with the downstairs neighbor, Erica’s funkadelic friend we’ll call B. She is a certified yoga instructor and grew up in the Mile High City so elevation is nothing to her.

“Here.” She shoves two towels, a yoga mat, and a water bottle into my arms. “You’ll need all this. They heat the room to 98 degrees to simulate doing yoga in India.”

“What?” I say.

“It’s heated hatha, that’s what that means. You’ll be amazed at how much more you can stretch.”

Amazed is one word for it. The room is full of mirrors and beautiful, perfect-body people. I breathe deeply, gulp water, and sit yogi style on my mat, awaiting the instructor.

“Welcome to C2,” the teacher Cassandra says. Later, I learn that C2 means an intermediate core body class.

We stretch. The heat is engulfing, like a sauna. Within five minutes everyone is sweating, drops pelting the floor, Indian music pounding through the floorboards. We move fluidly, do not stop to rest, and glide between standing and stretching positions seamlessly. Somehow, I manage to follow. I lose pace only a couple of times, and use it to my advantage: towel off my face, which pours sweat like a fountain, drink water, rearrange the towels across my mat for better friction. I become lightheaded only once, and take that as a sign to slow down a bit. Child’s pose for one round, then I’m back on my feet, into position, and ready to go again. By the end of it, everyone in the class has yoga pants that are soaked through from the waist down to the knees. Shirts peel up and off, dripping with sweat. The floor has to be mopped between each session. Denver, my friends, is hard core.

Erica gets back from work and B and I feel victorious, one C2 class under our belts (no big deal for her, however). We are ready for a night on the town and they announce that they’re ready to wine and dine me. We swing by the Gypsy House and consider Tarot card readings, pass instead and walk ten blocks to the Water Course where B pays $32 for a bottle of wine but with tip, her total is $54. “That’s how it goes, baby,” she says, slapping the cash on the counter. “When you’re in the food service business, what goes around comes around.” B manages a popular restaurant in town where tips make the world go ‘round.

We drink one, two bottles of wine. Have appetizers, entrees, then decadent desserts. There are cell phone calls and cute waiters and a pregnant waitress. We are city, we are laughing, we are hot and out and about. The music over the restaurant speakers is booming, the lights feel bright and invasive, all the people look colorful and I imagine their amazing lives. “But don’t overthink it,” Erica says to me later. “It’s three million people. We’re two in three million, that’s it. Blink. We’re gone. Nothing matters here and everything matters. That’s why I love it.”

Next stop: Gabor’s bar where the bartenders break the law and allow patrons to smoke after 10pm. It’s hard for me to feel comfortable but B and Erica are buying drinks all around and the night charges on. My nose clogs, my eyes sting. A headache insues. My clothes wreak by the end of the night and I haven’t touched tobacco. Later, back at their apartment, we play music overload and sing in an off-key trio to Indigo Girls, Prince, Joan Osborne, Melissa Ferrick, and more. There is more wine and more cigarettes, both of which I pass on, and before we know it, it is 2am.

Tomorrow, a trip to Boulder, CO. Then I drive Cam’s minivan into the heart of the Rockies and meet him for a long weekend in Crested Butte at 9,000 feet elevation. How many glasses of water will that take? Whew. This is the best part of my trip yet!

See pictures!

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