Cambodia, Libya, New Orleans, Bali, Amsterdam, Detroit - Yoga for People Who Can't Be Bothered to Do It is more of a travelogue than the self-helplessness book suggested by its title. But the journey logged is less geographical than psychological - an edgy ramble through the mind of the author as world traveler. In these 11 short vignettes, Dyer recounts vividly the particulars of a decade of wanderlust. Instead of a sequential narrative, Dyer gives us, "an endless accretion - a kind of negative archeology - of material."
Geoff Dyer is something of a drifter, as the title of the first piece, "Horizontal Drift," suggests. He takes his loneliness, his listlessness, and his general self-dissatisfaction with him wherever he goes, along with his Tevas. He treads among the details, finding evidence of the sublime therein and relaying it to his readers. A haircut in Cambodia: "This barber had only one leg and spoke no English, but his ability to cut my hair - which he did skillfully, with considerable pride - was in no way compromised by either lack."
Dyer seems to glide effortlessly through landscape after landscape, despite himself, pulling the reader along with oftentimes deliciously palpable descriptions.
Throughout Yoga Dyer accesses a number of vehicles - mainly hallucinogenic drugs - to obtain a "peak experience." It is this goal that drives him from well-known destination to places like Libya's Leptis Magna and back again. It is the very root of his fascination with an elderly suicide in South Beach, Miami and the reason he becomes paralyzed watching pornography in a Detroit hotel room.
Geoff Dyer is comfortable, at home even, with his indolence, his perpetual lassitude. He mentions his interest in Frank O'Hara's "I do this I do that" poems and briefly considers "founding a counter-movement along the lines of 'I did not do this and I did not do that' but predictably, I did not do this."
In the final analysis, Dyer is his own phoenix, plumbing the depths of personal ruination before arising from the ashes in the "unmediated creativity" he finds in Black Rock City, Nevada at the 1999 Burning Man festival. One part "energetic torpor," one part incisive philosophical commentary, Yoga for People Who Can't Be Bothered to Do It is an engaging, often hilarious map of Geoff Dyer's landscape, worth the expedition.