Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Chiropractor - Part 4

I am bound and determined to finish this story. Of course when I began the story, ages ago, I had no idea that I would be first renting a house, then finding the house to be infested with mold and termites, then getting served with foreclosure papers, then being told that my landlord couldn't afford to fix the mold, then buying the house from the landlord who didn't want to get rid of it but would rather let me have it than the bank, then hiring people to fix the mold myself, then finding out that the mold was worse than originally thought and then moving into my parents' house with them in it, while I am 7 months pregnant. No, I had not anticipated any of that happening. My imagination isn't that good.

Lord knows that back in the fall and winter of 2001/2002 I certainly hadn't imagined anything like this ever happening to me. Let's go back in time again.

So there I am working at the Hot Sun Gallery which sold five pieces of abstract art and some brick sized Portuguese soaps and red bush tea. I am working for trust fund hipsters, listening to cool music and pretty much making minimum wage to sit and read Harry Potter all day. I am incredibly bored, but at least I don't work at a strip club. I spend my days wishing I had someone to talk to and wondering about the Chiropractor who keeps an office upstairs and who I imagine to be old, hobbling and Chinese - Yoda, in other words.

So one day I'm sitting there behind the counter, on my very uncomfortable stool trying to scratch my way through the local paper's crossword when a man wearing pleated slacks walks in and starts looking around with his hands in his pockets. I thought he looked familiar. He looks like some comedian, I thought, and then I spent a long time trying to put my finger on exactly who I thought he looked like.  Jerry Seinfeld and Richard Lewis combined. The guy had a definite New York Jewish, bagel and lox sort of vibe going on and his hair, like Seinfeld's, was bordering dangerously close to mullet territory, but it was salt and pepper like Richard Lewis's.

"I am the Chiropractor," he announced as if he were the only chiropractor in the entire world. THE Chiropractor.


"From upstairs?" I asked.


"Yes, my name is Ira."


I was so deflated. Lately I had been experiencing an unpleasant phenomenon wherein I kept imagining people as looking very different than they actually looked and then seeing them in real life and being incredibly disappointed that my mental image didn't line up with reality. This has happened with several men I was trying to marry on Jdate and with my favorite radio personalities and now it had happened with the Chiropractor upstairs. I vowed to try to make an earnest effort to stop imagining what people looked like because obviously doing so was just going to cause me suffering because no live human being could ever live up to the standards set in my head. It was like reading a great book and then seeing the movie version and having all of the characters played by ugly actors.


Needless to say, I was quite disappointed that I was not meeting Yoda and that I would not have the opportunity to buy a Mogwai from him or perhaps receive a free cupping session. I had recently seen pictures of Gwyneth Paltrow with hickeys all over her back, which she explained were from cupping, thus making me want to try cupping desperately. One must always do as Gwyneth does after all.


"You look familiar. I know I've seen you somewhere," Ira said.


I had no idea where it could have been other than where I was.


"I've got it!" he exclaimed, "Are you on Jdate?"


I reluctantly admitted that I was.


"Yes! Great profile, but you're too young for me."


Well thank God I thought, and just to be safe I added: "Yeah, I don't date older men."


This was a mistake because then he thought I was calling him older, which I was, but people don't like being called older, so then I had to go through a whole awkward explanation of how I meant he wasn't old (although I did) but that I just meant he was older than me (by like 20 years).


Then he began to ask me all the questions I most dreaded. These were the questions that made me hate dating and made me want to avoid ever meeting new people, because I was so ashamed of my life, my choices, my fate and where I had ended up that I was often tempted to concoct elaborate lies to the people sitting next to me on planes, just so that for the duration of a flight, I would at least not have to live with the shame of who I was.


Where did you go to college?  I didn't, although I could lie about this and mention a college that I had in fact attended for most of one semester, but leave out that I had only attended for most of one semester. I had GONE there. It sounded fairly impressive if I left out most of the story. The version I told depended on both the person asking and my mood.


What about your family? Impossible to explain without flowchart.

Where do you live? In my parents' guest room.  Tragically, nearly nine years later I find myself here once again, but at least this is more temporary.


Why do you live in your parents' guest room? Because my fiance got some girl pregnant, sued me for my house, left me in a depression and caused me to have to work in a strip club where I then spent all my money so that I couldn't afford a place of my own had I wanted one. And truthfully, I didn't want one because I lacked the confidence and the desire to be independent at that time.


Why are you on Jdate? Because no one will date me for all of the above reasons.


The conversation was just awful, but I found myself telling Ira the ugly truth to everything he asked, including how I had barely a tenth grade education and had worked in a strip club. It was almost like talking to a therapist and I don't know what possessed me. I think it was that I was so bored and so lonely and so very restless that I just wanted to unload and really, who cared about some chiropractor in pleated pants who looked like a Jewish stand-up comic hybrid? Who really gave a crap?


"Well, for someone with that background, you're awfully pretty and articulate. You seem genuinely classier and smarter than one would suspect of someone with such a past," Ira observed, "You seem like a girl who would like Radiohead."


In fact, I did.


For my entire life I have defied labels. In school I could never settle into a clique or a classification because I just wasn't anything. I had many friends and varieties of things I liked and many times throughout my life I struggled with the need to classify myself as something. It seemed easier, to be able to call yourself something, to fit yourself into a niche. You don't have to think as much when you make yourself a stereotype. You can just fit in and be exactly like all the other people in the niche with you, following a prescribed set of ideals, aesthetics and experiences. I see why people do it. There is a certain comfort in being this way. It's like having a set of directions from IKEA on how to assemble a life, complete with simple drawings of smiling stick people. My problem was that I had no idea what kind of life I wanted to assemble anymore, and because I couldn't classify myself, I always saw myself as nothing, instead of an original thinker who followed her own path.


This is why it kind of appealed to me when Ira called me Girl Who Likes Radiohead. It was, I thought, a start in the right direction. Maybe I could find an instruction manual on how to put together that kind of girl. I pictured her as someone who ate thai food, but ordered the hard to pronounce stuff on the menu and skipped the cliche satay and pad thai. That afternoon I ordered Nam Sod and threw it away because the fish sauce smelled like a dirty cat box, though if someone had asked me I would have pronounced it delicious and pretended that I ate it all the time.


Ira came to see me every day and every day it was like getting free therapy. In no time, this man knew every detail of my life. He brought me cds of music he knew I would like and I did. He had long, philosophical discussions with me about all kinds of flaky metaphysics. I love talking about that kind of thing. He told me what a theremin was and then told me thought the instrument could unlock hidden parts of your subconscious just like tripping on LSD, which we also talked about. The man was a regular Timothy Leary and it had been years since I had someone talk to me about so many strange and fascinating topics. And he never once asked me out or hit on me.


Around this time Harlan, the owner of the Hot Sun, scored some pretty cool new cds himself, which he brought into the gallery for me to play on the cd player. One mix was so good that I politely asked if I could take it home for one night to copy it. Harlan said no and I said, well ok, I'll just listen to it here and go buy it myself at a later date. No big deal.  This would prove to be very important later in the story and is not an unnecessary detail.


I had been talking to Ira every work day for a good two months when he came in and told me he had a very serious proposition for me.


"I want to ask a favor of you and you will be paid handsomely if you agree. This is very important to me and I wouldn't ask anyone. I am asking because I feel I can trust you and because I feel you are the right person for this task," he explained, "and I don't want you to give me your answer right away. You will need to sleep on this and give it serious consideration, ok?"


"Ok, well what is it?" I asked.


To Be Continued...


24 comments:

Cristina S said...

Dying of suspense!
But due to your super "exciting" last few weeks = totally understandable.

Anonymous said...

VEEERRRRY unfair. You better not take as long onto part 5 as part 4 haha.

DiaryofWhy said...

You really are the queen of to be continueds.

Waiting patiently here...(Not really.)

Maria said...

Seriously!? My heart sank when I saw the words "To Be Continued..."

It's fine though I'll wait. Your stories are always worth the wait.

Handy Man, Crafty Woman said...

aaaaaack! dying to hear more.

I just love talking to fascinating people like that.

Hey! My Sock! said...

Dang.

Vic said...

I would much rather have "to be continued" than just a hasty wrap up.
"I finally met the Chiropractor. It turns out that he was nothing like Yoda. The end."
Love this story.
I wish you a quick and painless mold remediation experience.

Wide Lawns said...

I break the stories into more manageable small parts that are easier to write and to read. That's the reason for the TBCs.

Vic, are you a boy or a girl?

Green said...

Ahhhhhh! Can't wait for the next part!

Vic said...

Ha! I love it. I'm female.
Boyfriend has taken a couple of years to warm up to Vic. He says it sounds more like a big Italian mechanic, than a petite southern tomboy.

Kelly said...

GASP! How dare you, to be continued!?! Can NOT wait :) Thanks for the always entertaining stories.

kerry said...

"You don't have to think as much when you make yourself a stereotype."

How true that is. I've always had the same problem- that I was never any one thing. A thousand things, maybe, but nothing I could classify myself.

So now you've met the chiropractor and he's not Yoda but he has a proposition... (that sounds dirty, though)

Anonymous said...

Aw shit! Darn you.

Jean_Phx said...

OMG - it's just like the old writing - hurry, hurry!!!

Andrea said...

NOOOOOOoooooo....

Cliffhangers officially suck hairy monkey balls, just so you know. I fully expect you to make it up to me by adding several dashes of extra splediferousness in the next installment. <3

Joy said...

I have an idea about this cd and can't wait to see if I'm right. Love this story!!!! (sorry about your house/mold issues)

The Hill Family said...

I hate these kinds of posts...and what if you go into labor or something...it could be months before we hear the end...GGRRRRR!! Sigh! Can't wait to hear the finish!

mcgrimus said...

I see where this is going. Turns out the Chiropractor is part of an organization called the Dharma Initiative, and wouldn't you love a chance to really do something that makes a difference? Travel expenses included!!!

Needless to say, I've spent the last 6 years getting used to cliffhangers, so this is nothing!

hylissa said...

Evil woman leaving us hanging like that!!! hehe

booda baby said...

Oh no! Oh NO!! You know exactly when to cut us off, don't you?! Oh no, again.

eleanorstrousers said...

Waiting with baited breath to see how this all turns out... I'm a little low on adventure myself these days, so I'll have to live vicariously.

Johnny Virgil said...

aw, man...

Anonymous said...

:::::tapping foot:::: waiting not so patiently

Claire said...

I thought, today is my birthday, maybe just maybe there will be part 5 up as my present. Sigh

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