On the other hand, what else could Amy do but shift gears and merge into a standard Phase 2 of contemporary American experience? After you’re burnt out down to the socket trying to be a tireless, ruthless, profit-generating American achiever—that’s Phase 1— you attempt to recover by doing yoga, meditation, good works and vague spirituality. Amy already gave the other obvious alternative a shot—drinking, drugging, and having degrading sex while her marriage was falling apart (call that Phase 1.5 because it so often overlaps with Phase 1).
So what else should she do at this crisis point of her life? What does anybody do but grab the life preserver that‘s in front of them? And if you’re a woman living in California anywhere near the coast—Amy’s trapped in Riverside, CA, a sun-parched, flatland Inland Empire city an hour east of Los Angeles—the life preserver is deep breathing in lotus position, and dreams of a meaningful job, helping people and saving the environment. All excellent things, but when you’re in debt and have to work for a living, it’s amazing how sharply curtailed your soulful ambitions can be.