Sunday, July 17, 2016

Bookreads and Yoga: Diary of an Oxygen Thief

I hated this book. 
I read it today in a couple hours, while I did my weekend laundry.
I loved how it started. With yoga. 

My muscles were sore from a long travel streak. In a span of two weeks, I had done Aruba, New York, Lagos and Enugu with layovers in Paris and Amsterdam. Dragging luggage pieces across the globe did leave me a little sore, plus the flights were long, and my sleep patterns were disrupted from jetlag. I could hardly wait to get into the next Yoga class once I was back to base, even if it meant skipping church. 

Yoga is great. The first time I went to a class was sometime in the last two months. I had missed my regular cardio class and decided I’d just drop in and see what the yoga people were doing. Quickly decided it wasn’t for me, but went again another day and managed to buy the idea of doing handstands, stretching and taking deep breaths for healthy reasons. Plus it was a reality check for me to see how stiff my muscles were. I soon bought my own yoga mat and blocks and tried it at home. 

The next time would be Fathers' Day, which was the first Sunday after my dad passed away. I had no intentions of being within the walls of any institution (especially a church) that would be celebrating that occasion. I went to the gym instead, and found my perfect escape there. And so today, while I sat there on my mat thinking about freeing my muscles, my yogini announced that someone had taken a picture of the customized tattoo she had on her right arm, and replicated it. She said she felt violated seeing the pictures on Instagram, and hurt, and wanted to hurt them back. I could not help wondering if tattoos were some sort of intellectual property. She mentioned she'd just finished this book called “Diary of an Oxygen Thief,” and the theme was about how hurt people hurt people. Then she read out the opening, which went like this:

“I liked hurting girls. Mentally not physically, I never hit a girl in my life. Well once. But that was a mistake. I’ll tell you about it later. The thing is, I got off on it. I really enjoyed it. It’s like when you hear serial killers say they feel no regret, no remorse for all the people they killed. I was like that. Loved it. I didn’t care how long it took either, because I was in no hurry. I’d wait until they were totally in love with me. Till the big saucer eyes were looking at me. I loved the shock on their faces. Then the glaze as they tried to hide how much I was hurting them. And it was legal. I think I killed a few of them. Their souls, I mean. It was their souls I was after. I know I came close a couple of times…”


Quite a grabber, wouldn't you say? It was catchy and dark, and you immediately saw yourself in either the hurter or the hurt, or both - which are really one and the same, since the hurter is hurt, or maybe not. Anyway, she asked each yogi to set their agenda or dedicate our practice for the day to someone. I thought about one of my friends who upset me last night. I had much to say but refrained from blurting out everything that had gone through my head. So I halfheartedly dedicated my yoga to this annoying friend. Right after the session, I would walk up to Caitlyn (yogini) and she would lend me the book. I was excited. Got home, loaded my washer and settled on the couch.

I wanted to enjoy this book. I really did. Heck, maybe I even wanted some therapy out of it. But that was not the reason I was disappointed. It was poorly cooked and disjointed. The opening lured me, but turned out to be all hype, fluffy and deceitful. The intrigue following the opening lasted for a while until the buildup fell through. I kept reading, because I just wanted to finish it. After some 150 pages, it ended rather passionlessly in an anticlimax. Ugh!

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