The New York Times Vows column is truly one of a kind. Week after week, the meet-cute stories land all over the spectrum, from the truly romantic to the strangely political to, very frequently, the totally twee and bizarrely short-sighted. To wit: this week’s tale, titled “Found, A Soul Mate,” which regales the romance of two yoga aficionados from the Hamptons. It begins like so:
People describe Erika Halweil, a longtime yoga teacher in the Hamptons, as someone who has a lot of backbone in every way. She has great posture. She rarely gets upset over things like parking tickets or bad-hair days. (Naturally pretty, she probably doesn’t have many.) She is sometimes stern but never shy.
Have your eyes rolled out of their sockets yet? Well, best to pick them up off the carpet, because this one only gets worse. Alongside the fawning anecdotes, the repeated use of the words “inspired,” “balanced,” “intense,” and “connected,” and oh yeah, some photos of the groom’s weird wedding slippers, NYT reporter Lois Smith Brady drops a bomb. Seriously, a bomb.
In the most serene, “balanced” way possible, the piece suddenly refers to an incident in which the bride accidentally struck and killed a 5-year-old girl with her car. Ms. Halweil was not charged, and this is clearly a very unfortunate situation all-around, but it’s the way in which it’s been phrased, almost as if it serves solely to emphasize Ms. Halweil’s serenity, that is REALLY ALARMING.
On Aug. 17, 2008, Ms. Halweil was driving on Montauk Highway when a 5-year-old girl rode a red toy wagon down a steep driveway and shot out onto the road in front of Ms. Halweil’s car. When she recounts the accident (the child died and Ms. Halweil was not charged) you can really see her calm, philosophical and open demeanor. In an almost plaintive voice, she said: “It was clear sky, clear road. I saw a flash of red coming toward my car.” She swerved but still hit the wagon. “I got out of the car and this really beautiful little girl with pale skin and blue eyes was laying in the road. Her eyes were glazed over. I knew the spirit had left her body.”
Today, she says the accident taught her about fate, her own and the girl’s, but at the time she was devastated. She started taking daily classes at Tapovana and finding comfort in Ashtanga’s rigorous, some say purifying, series of poses that are practiced in silence.
I’m sure that little girl’s parents would love to hear about how their child’s death influenced Ms. Halweil’s silent yoga practice. Some people are just fucking delusional. [New York Times via Gawker]
[Photo of yoga meditation at home via Shutterstock]