off to work i went.
aunt sara is convinced that my social life and similar skills are calcifying. perhaps she's right; a simultaneous salvation and stumbling block, i am never bored at home. and since it's almost more hassle than it's worth right now, i've virtually suspended my city-lover habit of perpetual out-and-about-ness. after selling my car a couple of years ago, i didn't miss having one at all--until i moved here. i'm not about to renounce my love for the concept of public transportation, but riding in a microbus for at least an hour just to get to the end-of-the-line metro station rarely sounds like fun, especially when the alternative is so cozy: reading the newspaper in my pajamas with coffee and fruit at hand, as if i'd managed to steal a saturday morning, substituting it for tuesday. how delicious and dreamy it feels. it's okay to admit it: if it were you, nine times out of ten you'd be hanging out with me and my coffee, too.
but i (somewhat reluctantly) admit to missing work. work, of course, being a very loose term; it can be anything from teaching synonyms to studying tagalog. i just have a few basic requests: that it doesn't, under any circumstances, require me to solve quadratic equations; that it never involves turning animals into meat; and that it regularly stimulates more than five brain cells in any given task. scratching math tutor, elk hunter and earwax picker off the list, i feel like i still have a healthy set of options. notice that pay is not on the list. this is good, because sara recruited me as a volunteer. (patricio will also thank me come income tax time).
sara is involved with a catholic-affiliated foundation that generates profit and programs aimed at helping the financially needy. the product behind it all? serastone massage beds. for the equivalent of two dollars, you can both align your spine and assuage your conscience. and for the equivalent of zero dollars, the massage bed business in ciudad satelite is getting a new assistant for a few hours a week.
i was skeptical of the system at first. phrases like "market in the temple," "hoodoo alternative medicine," and "brain cell stimuli?" were bouncing around in my mind, behind a face that i was struggling to keep from registering suspicions. in the end, though, i bought into the project, the selling point being the chance to help people feel good about taking care of themselves.
the massage beds were nothing like i'd expected, though. i equate massages with activities like reading where the red fern grows: primarily, sources of pleasure--coupled with cathartic pangs of pain. clearly, i'd forgotten about that thing called rolfing. educating myself about my new job, i shed my shoes and settled myself onto one of the beds, expecting a nice forty minutes of thermotherapy and shoulder poking. anyone who's laid their palms on my back know that i like it to hurt; i want those knots on my shoulders to know i'm in charge. i'd never given my "vertical alignment" any thought, though, until i realized my hips were sending messages of "what the !?#*!" up to my pain-processing brain. who knew? i'm literally bent out of shape.
but that's okay. i have a remedy. i also have a reason to peel off the pajamas before noon on tuesdays and thursdays. i won't lie: i'm not without nerves when i think about it. i'm pretty rusty on those singular formal command conjugations and i'm not sure how i'll deal with listening to yanni for three hours straight, but i guess that's precisely what makes it worth the attempt. and sara can now cross me off her list of concerns.
note: i recommend clicking on the serastone link above. it's a korean company that seems to employ dozens of smart scientists and engineers who were duped by the website translator's claim to being functionally bilingual. until they fire him, though, their english site is my new favorite way to get a cheap chuckle. the first person to figure out what the following excerpt means will win some kind of prize: "coolly two wild chaffs the possibility of decreasing in order to be, it is planned a changeover."