I just had a full on major blog clog. Blog clog is what happens when you’re about to write about something that you think might be entertaining, and then something else happens, and then you’re forced to choose between writing about being strong armed into visiting a chiropractor against your will, or the ex-boyfriend who dumps you because you’re not the
trophy girlfriend athlete he thought you’d be, and it turns out that probably neither are probably that interesting, but there they are, stuck in your thought esophagus, and you’ll just get to one or the other or something else later.
In the time that these two events sat in the blog clog all this time, so much more has happened. I’ve stopped racing bikes, for example. I’m a barefoot runner. I’m in love.
I had no idea where to pick up again. How do I jump into barefoot running, for example. I’ve been at it for six months. Or like I wanted to talk about on-line dating, because I met some weirdos, but then I met someone totally cool.
So all this stuff’s been going on, but it was stuck in the blog clog.
And then I went to the gym, and volunteered myself for for a free fifteen minute massage thanks to Flounder* Chiropractic, and what you are about to read now is nothing more than a big flush.
It was almost just like what happened well over a year ago, when I was stopped in the crosswalk by my apartment building, the beginnings of the blog clog. Also, aside that they were in two totally different locations, a uniting detail is that in both, my ultimate aim was a chocolate chip cookie at Arizmendi Bakery across the street.
I’m only now making that connection, but in both, that was my underlying goal, which I find interesting.
Anyway, over a year ago, it was a hot, summery day. I just wanted a chocolate chip cookie. “Hey, would you like a free massage,” said this girl in the cross walk on my way to the bakery. I remember she had an afro, and possessed and earthy, make-up free beauty, and therefore seemed like she had tons of interesting things to say, and so of course, “Do you want a free massage?” sounded compelling. Also, it happened so fast.
“Sure,” I said.
She handed me a flyer. “Cool, thanks,” I said, but there would be more. She had to get my phone number, as well as give me information that would likely change my life.
Before I could say, “Great, thanks, I’ll read this the next time I’m on the toilet,” she said, “So let’s make that appointment right now.”
“I’m very unpredictable?” I said, trying to throw her off my trail.
“Well, we can work out the specifics later, but let’s just pick a date to get started.”
That’s how it all started. It turned into phone calls, which turned into into two visits in a non-descript office building near Gold’s Gym in Larkspur (conveniently close to a chiropractor I actually can recommend, Chappy Wood at Marin Spine and Wellness Center). The practitioner, I’m pretty sure his name is Dr. Looney, asked if I was from the East Coast. I asked him why. “Because you’re so sarcastic,” he said.
The first day of this special limited time consultation consisted of an interview, discussing my already perfect health, or so I thought, and any nagging injuries. This was conducted in his very clean office, with a plastic skeleton hanging in the corner, and millions of dollars worth of shiny x-ray equipment, his pride and joy of the office.
“I actually don’t have any,” I said. I mean, minus shattering my clavicle into five pieces, a couple of different times, which didn’t seem to fascinate Dr. Looney that much.
“But have you ever had any?”
“Well, my knees,” I said, remembering something that’s bothered me in the past, but not so much now, especially now that I’m a barefoot runner. There, now I’ve said it, and I can make a clean segue to that in upcoming blogs.
“Oh, I see,” he said. “Well, we’ll just see what comes out in this very thorough x-ray examination, a package, I should inform you, that would cost anyone in the general public well over three thousand dollars.”
A week later, I came back to discuss the results of the x-ray examination, and for my thirty minute massage.
“Did you review the materials I gave you last week?” said Dr. Looney.
“Are you serious?”
“I asked you to review the pamphlets. And I hope you took notes during the two introductory videos.”
Before we could get to the results of my in-depth x-ray examination, I had to recite, by rote memory, the chiropractic credo, something like, “You may think you are healthy, but you are not.”
He didn’t appreciate my robotic tones.
“Very well, let’s get to our findings,” he said. He opened up the x-rays onto his computer monitor.
“I see,” he said. He took a deep breath. On the screen there appeared to be what was probably my own upper skeletal system, in images taken from different angles, and if you could extrapolate the images and put them into one 3D image, I’m very sure my spine would actually curve from top to bottom in a spiral.
“My,” I said.
“Yes,” he said, rubbing his temples. “Oh dear.”
He took a long pause, and took a white handkerchief from his white lab coat. “Do you remember what we discussed earlier, about spinal desintigration?” dabbing the handkerchief on his head.
“Does anything here in this x-ray stand out to you?”
“Oh you poor thing. Oh no. You understand it’s a miracle that you’re even sitting here today, in an upright position?”
I muttered something indicating my astonishment, but what I was really wondering was when we’d get to the massage.
“Well, what do you propose we do about it?” he asked.
“Uh. I don’t know?”
He prescribed a six-month long program, of visits to his office three times a week, to reverse the degeneration of my spine, before it got any worse, at a cost of only $6000.
At the end of six months, we would assess my improvement, if any, and make changes from there.
“Oh,” I said.
“How does this sound to you?”
“Like a lot of money?”
“Shall we schedule you for an appointment?”
“It sounds like we’re not taking this very seriously!”
I apologized. I told him I just needed time to think.
He escorted me to the front desk, and said he’d get back to me after giving me some time to think.
I said, “Oh, okay. But the massage?”
“Oh, yes of course!” He directed me to a table with an inflatable mattress.
“Just lie down right here,” he instructed. “You’ll love this. It’s a favorite of our clients’.”
It was some very loud water-bed like contraption, but instead of water, the mattress was filled with air, that pounded on my spine. But it was so loud I couldn’t relax, so after about three minutes, I walked out the door.
So that’s what I wanted to blog about well over a year ago. It’s maybe not that great of a story, but at the time, I was very angry about it, but I had no way to bring it up again, after what happened shortly after that, in a natural way. It was so much more than being dumped on the phone, but then a trip to Spain and France on my own, that hurled me into another world, in other languages, to my family’s roots, meeting more family in the process, and developing deep friendships that I will never forget. I kept a log of the whole thing. I just couldn’t blog about it.
And I also experienced a type of therapy called EMDR, short for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprogramming, which helped me come to terms with traumas that have haunted me for my entire life.
And then, of course, I fell in love.
My life became too real to blog about.
So, I went to the gym today, with two dollars in my pocket so I could get a chocolate chip cookie at the Arizmendi Bakery afterwards.
In the center of my gym, but off to the side, near the stairway towards the more amateur section of Nautilus-style weight equipment (far away from the grunting men with the free weights), there was a tall slender woman with long red hair and a younger kid with cropped hair, standing by a massage chair, next to their sign, Flounder Chiropractic, Free Fifteen Minute Massage.
They looked lonely, staring off to the entrance, trying to make eye contact with anyone. It was a pitiful sight. I couldn’t believe that no one was volunteering for this, so I did myself.
“Don’t worry about your insurance information,” she said as I filled out the paperwork. “We’ll get to that later. How are we feeling today?”
“Great! Just a little tired.”
“Just a little tired,” she wrote down in her notebook.
“Right. Ready for your massage?”
Aside from feeling like I might choke to death in the headtray, it was moderately relaxing.
“Would you like thirty minutes more of this?” she said, when my fifteen minutes were done.
“Great. Let’s schedule you for an appointment.”
Oh no. Not here? “Um. I’m unpredictable,” I said. “And also, I really do feel great.”
“Well, let’s get you in so we can make sure you continue feeling that way.”
She gave me an envelope with more paperwork inside, with my appointment written on the front.
I walked across 4th Street to the Arizmendi Bakery, for the best chocolate chip cookie of my life, as they always are.
*Something like that.