Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Chiropractor - THE FINAL CHAPTER

Not a single soul said I should watch The Chiropractor and his "Lady Friend." This was not a surprise of course. That had been my initial reaction anyway. No. No. No. Who needs to think about that? Of course I wasn't going to go hide in a hotel closet. Eww. And really, who WOULD do that? I didn't need the money that badly. Yeah it would have been nice, but truly, it wasn't worth it.

I stopped thinking about the pros and cons and trying to make a decision and instead my mind went wild imagining all sorts of terrible scenarios which could result from my saying yes to the proposition. Most, if not all, of them ended up with me dead somewhere. 

I also thought long and hard about the situation I'd gotten myself into - working minimum wage not really doing anything, being so lonely and bored that I'd allowed myself to become vulnerable to someone who was creepy and pervy. It's just not who I wanted to be. It was messed up. I had created a messed up life for myself. People thought I was a sex worker and I have met plenty of nice sex workers, but still. As much as I've loved these people, I've never met one person in the sex industry who didn't have a tragic story. It's just a fact. Even the ones who say they're just paying their way through school have tragic stories too if you dig deep enough. Was that me? Was I just another screwed up girl for people to take advantage of and objectify? I had made a gigantic leap in improving my life by quitting the Bubblegum Kittikat, but here I was BSing myself into thinking I had this great job in a real art gallery, while the truth was that it wasn't much of a gallery at all. I had never sold anything more than a bar of soap and a box of tea. I knew nothing about art dealing or art period, except what it looked like, and I was still giving off a vibe to men that I was cheap, stupid and willing to sell myself out for money.

This needed to end. I was going to tell off The Chiropractor. I was going to decide what other kind of job I wanted. I was going to have a career. I was going to go places dammit.

I saw neither Harlan nor The Chiropractor for an entire week. In that week's time two things happened. I did not find the missing cd though I looked everywhere. I became paranoid that I had actually taken the cd home and lost it, so I even looked at home, even though logically I knew I hadn't taken it. I have a guilty conscience you see. If there is a mere suggestion of misdoing I will automatically begin to worry that I may be guilty and just not know it. I wonder if this is an OCD symptom. I've heard of people with an OCD tic where they believe they might accidentally harm others. This is kind of like that. It's like I know I obviously have done nothing, but then my mind still thinks well, what if I did? What if I did it and forgot? What if I did it and don't know I did it? Crazy, I know. I will become so guilt ridden over the thing that I didn't do that I will begin to appear as if I am actually guilty and I will worry that I'm lying when I profess innocence. This even happens with farts.  The other day the dog had gas in a room full of people. It smelled like a skunk went off beside a hot sulfur spring. It would have made your eyes water. Well everyone started coughing and complaining about the odor and asking who did it. Now I was clearly not responsible for this but I started imagining that I was and feeling guilty and then I got myself all red and embarrassed so that I made it appear as if that rancid smell could have actually come from me when it hadn't. I tried to deny it, but it was too late. People were asking me what I had eaten and if I felt ok.  This is exactly what happened with the missing cd.

The other thing that happened that week was that a real live ship's captain came into the Hot Sun Gallery to buy some soap and I got into a conversation with him about what his life was like and how fun that must be to be a ship's captain and get to sail all over the world having adventures. After that I decided that I wanted to be a ship's captain too. That was it. I was going to learn to sail. I was going to be a female ship's captain. How badass was that? I mean, come on now. I would be empowered. I would navigate the high seas and battle pirates. I would see the world. Men would fall at my feet because men loved badass women like that. No one would ever offer me money to watch them have sex ever again. I might even get some kind of a sword.

For a week I daydreamed about my new life as a ship's captain and tried to figure out how this was going to work. How did one become a ship's captain anyway? Was there a school?

Luckily, the ship's captain came back and I asked.

"Here's my friend's card," he said, "He runs a sailing school in Miami. Why don't you take some lessons and learn to sail a small boat first and work up from there. See how you take to it first. Start small. Trust me."

This sounded extremely reasonable and levelheaded so I called the number on the card and signed myself up for two months of weekend sailing lessons. I felt empowered already. I was definitely going to cuss out The Chiropractor now. I could almost sail boats.

He still didn't come in.

After the week was over I got a surprise visit from Maxine, who never came in.

"Did you find that cd?" she asked.

I told her I hadn't and she looked crushed. What was with these people and this cd? I wanted to yell "PEOPLE IT IS A CD!!!" This was back before Napster was shut down too. They probably could have downloaded every song on the damn thing for free and recreated it and it's not like it was irreplaceable. It was $20.00 at most. Amazon and all.

"Harlan said you really liked the cd."

"Yes I did. I asked to copy it and he said no, so I didn't. I was happy just listening to it here."

"I also heard that you've been spending a lot of time with Ira."

"Well no, err, I mean, no. He was coming in and talking to me sometimes..."

"Are you dating? Or romantically involved? The lady next door says you and Ira are a couple or something now."

"No way!! No, I'm not dating Ira."

"I just want you to know, I can't stop you. You can date whomever you want, but you should know about him. There've been stories. Rumors. I don't know. I shouldn't spread gossip without proof, but look, just be careful ok?"


"I really don't want to get into it. I'm sorry. I don't spread rumors," Maxine demured.

I hate people like this. I hate people who bring up intriguing possible stories and then refuse to tell them. These people are idiots. The rule is if you bring something up you are obligated to provide every last solitary detail that you know. If you aren't prepared to spill the beans then keep your dang mouth shut period and don't hint around. There is nothing more annoying than people who do this. Nothing. I felt like physically attacking Maxine and forcing her to tell me what she knew, but I didn't of course and she left without telling me a thing.

By 6 that night Harlan came in and brought it up with me.

"I'm not dating Ira. I swear to God," I said.

"We need to have a serious talk. Maxine and I discussed the situation and we want you to know that we aren't firing you. It's just that we talked about things and well, we just don't think we need your help anymore. Business hasn't been great. We're in the red here and it's not cost effective to hire someone else when Maxine or myself could run the gallery for free. We're losing money and frankly, I'm losing cds."

"It was 1 cd and I didn't take it nor am I dating or otherwise involved with Ira."

"Well you understand. We just think it's better to have one of us here instead. Of course you understand. We really appreciate you helping us out so far and we'll send your last paycheck. You won't even have to drive to pick it up."

Harlan was firing me and acting like he was doing me a favor. I took my Harry Potter book and my unfinished crossword, folded the newspaper under my arm, gathered my purse and keys and left completely humiliated. I had been fired for two things I hadn't even done and I never got a chance to cuss out The Chiropractor. I never saw him again. I never got to find out what the rumors were. I never found out what might have happened to me if I had said yes to his proposition.

I didn't find out much of anything except more of what I didn't want to be and I got a little closer to figuring out who I was in the process. I inched nearer to empowerment and began to envision myself not as the passenger, but as the captain, the woman at the wheel in charge of where my ship was headed. It was progress.

A week later my last paycheck came. I used it to pay for sailing lessons and I ordered myself a copy of that stupid cd. Never mind that I was again unemployed. I'd figure it all out and with a pretty hip soundtrack playing in the background.


Vic said...

Love it.
What was the CD?
How did the sailing lessons go?

Jean_Phx said...

You rock! What a great story. Except the part where there isn't any resolution w/the Chiro - because I really was interested in how that would have played out - and the rumors!!! I'm with you on how irritating it is when someone says they know 'something' but can't tell you - ARGH!

Ella said...

Aww too bad that you never met the Chiro again! And yes I am curious too, what CD was it?

Robin said...

I am DYING to know what was up with that CD. It can't JUST be that they were looking for an excuse to fire you.

Jen Nuessen said...

I hate that as well. Well, there's this thing about this person, but I shouldn't say anything so I won't. That is so annoying. And I agree with Vic and Ella, what was the CD?

Robin in Ohio said...

Iknow...I know!! (raising my hand in the air like Horshack) It's obvious! The CD had to be Christopher Cross's album with the song "Sailing" featured on it.

Heh, heh, heh! What else could it be??? An appropriate soundtrack for the aspiring young captain.

Wide Lawns said...

Everyone wants to know what the cd was. The truth is that I didn't say in the story because I couldn't remember for certain which one it was. It was one of 3 possible cds. It was either one of the early Buddha Bars, one of the Cafe del Mars or a Cirque de Soleil soundtrack and do not make fun of me for loving Cirque de Soleil soundtracks. I could just look at my cds but my husband put them all into the computer somehow and got rid of them so it's impossible for me to go through my former cd collection in any logical way. I will try to do more research and see if I can remember which one it was for sure and if I can, I'll post a link to it on Amazon for you all.

Vic, the sailing lessons were great actually! Obviously I didn't become a ship's captain. Maybe I'll write about the sailing lessons soon.

By some freak coincidence, I went to dinner tonight near my old gallery location. It has long since gone out of business. I heard that Maxine and Harlan moved away years ago. I did notice, however, that the Chiro's sign is still up and the same old, faded junk is still in the window.

staticwarp said...

i'm not sure what any of those cds sounds like, but i have a "del mar" you may enjoy, and its totally free and legal to download.

nivel del mar: sounds for soulsurfers

its pretty groovy and would be awesome to listen to on a boat.

i hope you bought the SMEG refrigerator. i know i would have XD

mcgrimus said...

It is annoying when people hint at things and refuse to tell, but now you are guilty of this by proxy!

Again, probably not a coincidence that all this happened to push you out of that deadend job.

Eric said...

Great Story thanks.

The captcha was poollymo
Write a story about that now.

Anonymous said...

Have you ever googled the Chiro to see what weird things there are online about him?

Tiffany said...

... I think Maxine and Harlan took the cd and blamed you as an excuse to fire you because they probably couldn't think of any other way to do it. Other than that, it might have been the chiropractor. Great story =)

TK said...

I too hate that blame game crap!

It's not you, it's more likely from taking years of blame from sick assholes, whether they are parents or other authority figures. My about me on my old MySpace is "I didn't do it, I swear!" because I took the same BS. I didn't have healthy boundaries, because how I grew up I wasn't allowed any. My parents were abusers. And yes, the anxiety from the undeserved blame made me seem guilty, when actually I was too honest for my own good.

Most of that blame is just idiots who can't own their own crap foisting it off on someone who will take it, even if out of plain bewilderment. It's abuse and don't ever make any excuses for it.

Now people try that shit on me, I tell them "Hey! Don't be trying to play that game with ME buddy, that's your own issue and I am NOT your emotional baggage handler today!" (well usually a gentler version), and you'd be surprised how many people back it right up when you call them on their crap.

Just tell them to get the hell back on their own side of the street and STAY there.

JoeinVegas said...

I don't know, you could have just gone into the closet and fallen asleep. Read your book, listened to music and ignored them. $1500.
Maybe Ira took the CD.

Anonymous said...

Anyone else think there was something in that CD case besides the CD and the paper liners? Because really, that's an AWFUL lot of fuss over a disc.

Anonymous said...

Dear W.L.,
Are you OK? You haven't written in a week. Just checking.
Lil Skraps

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