Thursday, July 28, 2005

Old-Chinese-Lady-Robics

For the past ten years, I’ve been working in and around a tiny park in San Francisco called Sydney Walton Square. It’s more a lawn than a park, with an ugly fountain and an alarming psychotropic bust of Georgia O’Keefe . I suspect it has something to do with the massive apartment complex nearby, some land-use law. People eat lunch there on sunny days, but for the most of the day it stands empty. Even winos manage to overlook it.

But the AM, the joint is hopping with old Chinese ladies, doing their OLD-CHINESE-LADY-ROBICS.

“But Greg, I’ve tried cardio-roller skating, I’ve tried Jazzerilates, I’ve even tried Supine Lymphatic Kneading from Sweden. What is it about Old-Chinese-Lady-robics that makes it such an appealing addition to Physical Culture?”

An excellent and well timed question, Senor Rhetorical Conceit! The attractions to this ancient technique are many, but the surface features that my feeble imagination is able craft for this crappy little feature are thus:

The Gear
Simple. Lumpy. Comfortable. Obscure.

-- Off-brand lumpy black restaurant worker tennies

-- brown elastic band tube-trousers with cavernous middle seam. Should have that magic sheen that can only mean one thing: spun polyester (Eerie thought: as oil supplies dry up, will the price of these inexpensive pants sky-rocket? Is the Chinese Old Lady Community concerned? I must prepare Cantonese-language flyers immediately!)

-- Men’s dress socks, poly blend, grey

-- Quilted, shapeless cotton house coat with floral accents

Or, alternatively:

-- Poly sport coat, in hallucinogenic black and yellow hounds-tooth pattern over a cotton poly blend navy sweatshirt.

Optional:

-- Fishing hat

-- one of those special clearly store bought cotton bonnets that only Old Chinese Ladies seem to wear. Where do they buy these? I suspect there are special supplier that only furnish the Old Chinese Lady population, sort of like a mail order house for Masons.

Chinese Old Ladies also buy the mysterious off-brand sweatpants and rugby shirts they clothe their grandkids in.

So you got the gear. So stop dicking around and get down to the work-out, already.

General principals:

You’re not here to sweat. If you perspire, you’re probably going to start producing too much yellow bile and your liver will cramp. Or some fucking thing. All I know is, Old Chinese Ladies take it mellow and that’s okay by me, a fat white man.

Also, the exercises listed below are merely the primary colors in a vast palate of pointless motion. Don’t be afraid to combine moves.

The Exercises:

Head roll: Roll your head with your eye closed and your mouth gaping like a trout. Slowly, always slowly. Old Chinese Ladies are not there to show off.

Windmills: Rotate your arms. Imagine you’re a 2nd grader waiting for the bus. Look bored, like “this is nothing. I don’t even FEEL this, yo.”

Foot Stomping: One! Two! One! Two! It’s a Long March to health, only you’re not going anywhere. Swing your arms, too, if you can manage it.

Arm swing: Holding fast with one arm to a small cherry tree, swing the other arm gracefully. Smoke.

Walking backwards: Walking backwards exposes your back to all the benefits your front enjoys when you walk forward. Probably good for bile production and proper spleen sanitation. And if you’re not shuffling, you’re basically wasting everybody’s time.

Wiggling: Roll your hips like it’s your wedding night. Arms must be akimbo. Akimbo, goddamn it!

Now, Old Chinese Ladies are an insular group. They even have their own language, called Chinese. So don’t just jump in there and start doing the do. Get the principal moves down as listed above, work out your routine at home in the mirror.

And attitude is a HUGE part of Old-Chinese-Lady-Robics. You need to hit the right insouciant demeanor. You’ve seen it all, you’ve done it all, and while you could never be called a cynic, you do have a certain phenomenological ennui. The world is just you, your quilted jacket, and your swinging arm.

So once you got all that down, start at a distance from your target dojo. Let them see you, get used to you. Stick to the basics, then after a few weeks start with a few combos. Not flashy, just technically competent.

After a year or so, if one of the ladies offers you a piece of produce, you’ve cracked it, you’re in. You are now a full-fledged practitioner of Old-Chinese-Lady-Robics.

The URL where you can buy your quilted coat will be forwarded presently.

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10 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

And the smell? Is there a smell that goes along with the OCLs? How does that scent co-exist with the smell of dog poo, the Safeway bakery, and the omnipresent Starbucks?

-Winks

5:15 PM  
Blogger Nedhead said...

You've apparently done some research on this matter. Since I live in a less moderate weather zone, can you recommend any cold weather gear? What about rain gear? You didn't address the type of terrain that is condusive to OCLR, please expound on that.

5:59 AM  
Blogger Greg Mills said...

Nedhead --

Layer layer layer! The Old Chinese Ladies I've known and loved (a seperate blog entry might be necessary) are making stuff happen in the fog and damp of a freezing San Francisco Summer. So the gear I've listed should do, if you had the balls of an Old Chinese Lady.

I suppose if it is really inclement, you could wear a newspaper-boy type poncho with newspapers stuffed into your fishing cap.

9:35 AM  
Anonymous Kung Fu Charlie said...

Yes.
Vote Democratic.
Hey Let's burn all the buildings in china town again!
Freakin phonies

4:57 PM  
Blogger Greg Mills said...

Kung Fu Charlie --

???

-- The Bastard

6:05 PM  
Anonymous karena said...

I have seen the OCLR routine when visiting your fine city. I anxiously await the fashion gear link.
I will practice said routine indoors today, (may have trouble with the tree part) and report back on my progress.
Thanks!

7:16 AM  
Anonymous karena said...

Hey, Bastard,
Where the hell is that link to the OCLR gear? I leave for a big trip tomorrow and will have to practice the progrqam with nothing but my Cirque de Soleil (sp?) costumes. WTF? I was counting on this link. How is this going to look when I am alone in my hotel room doing OCLR wearing shit a GD yuppy-yoga-chick would wear? And you should know they have small hidden cameras everywhere. Jeez.

This is bound to surface somewhere and the blame falls squarely on you shoulders.

8:23 PM  
Blogger Greg Mills said...

Lookie here, Karena, if that is indeed your name, you're already screwing up.

"How is this going to look when I am alone in my hotel room doing OCLR wearing shit a GD yuppy-yoga-chick would wear?"

Can you not read, woman? Old Chinese Ladies are out there, in public, not giving a shit!!!! They're above that. You gotta get out, on the grass, and do it. The gear will come. That shit comes over on a goddamn freighter from Kowloon, so it's going to take a while anyway. So stop with the excuses and bust it Drunken Master style with the Old Chinese Ladies. They DON'T CARE.

It's not as if they're all saying: "Where's that one gal, the one with all the tired ass equivications? Man oh man, I'm not worth a durn in the morning without that one gal in her gym singlet, bitching about shit."

OLD CHINESE LADIES DO NOT EQUIVICATE, KARENA. THEY DON'T NEED HOTEL ROOMS.

And what you may or may not do in your hotel room in your wrestling boots and hot pants is of no concern to the OCLs. They've seen James Brolin in Hotel (dubbed). They know the in and outs of hotel living.

I'm afraid that what I'm afraid would happen has happened. I've exposed this pure, beautiful thing to a crazy world hopped-up on spandex and Vagicil. Now OCLR is all commercialized.

To any OCLs out there reading this, I'm sorry. I mean it. Jesus, I'm a creep.

11:01 PM  
Blogger Greg Mills said...

Karena:

I have AutoSummarized the post in Word, so you might get a condensed version of it that you can take on the road with you:

Old-Chinese-Lady-Robics
What is it about Old-Chinese-Lady-robics that makes it such an appealing addition to Physical Culture?”

Lumpy. Is the Chinese Old Lady Community concerned? -- Men’s dress socks, poly blend, grey

-- Quilted, shapeless cotton house coat with floral accents

-- one of those special clearly store bought cotton bonnets that only Old Chinese Ladies seem to wear. Chinese Old Ladies also buy the mysterious off-brand sweatpants and rugby shirts they clothe their grandkids in.

General principals:

All I know is, Old Chinese Ladies take it mellow and that’s okay by me, a fat white man.

Slowly, always slowly. Old Chinese Ladies are not there to show off.

Windmills: Rotate your arms. Swing your arms, too, if you can manage it.

Arm swing: Holding fast with one arm to a small cherry tree, swing the other arm gracefully. Walking backwards: Walking backwards exposes your back to all the benefits your front enjoys when you walk forward. Arms must be akimbo. Now, Old Chinese Ladies are an insular group. They even have their own language, called Chinese. You are now a full-fledged practitioner of Old-Chinese-Lady-Robics.

11:12 PM  
Anonymous karena said...

Look,
I am still in my practice in front of the mirror phase. Thank God this hotel has a TV program on the subject. Unfortunately, it is an old chinese man, but I am almost certain he is wearing the same gear. He was a big help, and talks in calm tones. His shoes were really white, and I do not know how he keeps them so clean, performing outdoors, but since it is televised I can only assume the studio execs. help him out on that matter. He was probably on a fake outdoors television studio set.

Do not feel guilty for the damage you think you may have caused by exposing this artistry to consumers who are unappreciative of the subtlety, beauty and higher-awareness aspects of this exercise and more concerned with the "gear." If it is now on TV, the damage has been done.

Off to Drunken Master style practice.

Karena

4:47 PM  

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