Sunday, March 23, 2014

Play Date

I left Brooklyn today.  My friend Nan accompanied me after I'd extolled the virtues of a hole-in-the-ground Qi Gong massage parlor.

Actually I'd been telling her about Qi Dong and pronouncing it for years as Kwee Dong, when in fact it's Qidong and is pronounced Cheekung).  Obviously I've Googled so here is some more information about it.

Qi -- chee or chi -- is the life force that flows through everything in the universe.  Gong -- kung -- means an accomplishment achieved through steady practice.  Qigong itself means cultivating energy for increased health, healing and vitality.  The practice of Qigong can be spiritual, martial or medical; in any of these forms there is emphasis on posture, breathing and focus.  Apparently the movement component is gentle and swaying.

H'mm.  A good thing for a fat fraying old hag to look into.

It was thrilling to go with Nan.  She has a laugh like a Waterford glass and eyes that scrunch up in merriment.  She is wise, compassionate, funny, interested in lots of cool stuff, has the best dress sense of anyone I know.  We have that peculiar relationship of New York -- we're friends without ever doing any friendship things.  I split a bottle of wine with her once several years ago.  We speak about half the mornings when I walk her dog.  She gives good advice and she accepts well-meant advice.

What a rare thing it is to be in a conundrum and take in advice gracefully.  It's a hard thing to do.  And she makes me feel like she feels better for having heard what I say.

Anyone who has visited me in the last ten years and has taken my Chinatown Circuit has gone down these dark narrow stairs and been whisked into a big room with ten or so massage tables.  It's the kind of place my mother would shudder at the thought of entering but it's perfectly safe and sanitary and sane-making.
 It costs about $60 an hour, which is a bargain in New York, and is a very specific massage.  You don't say anything.  There's no point because they're going to do what they do.  They'll find the painful spots on their own because they go to work on pressure points.  Things you didn't know were sore suddenly take your breath away.  My masseur today found stuff in my upper back that made me think I was going to asphixiate on the table, but his breath kind of coached my breath and I learned how to grab some air before he bore down again and I could only exhale.  After he worked on those knots a while, they still hurt but I could breathe through the pressure.

Nan commented afterwards, as we tumbled drunkenly into a cab, that the massage made her body warm up.  My legs were certainly warmer.  It leaves one not so much invigorated as, well, drunk.  All you can do is sigh happily.

Nan had a million other things to do today so we didn't do my Circuit, which includes a couple of stores, lunch, rice pudding and homage to my favorite shoes.  I had forgotten their business card, however, so we had to wander a bit and this is the best place in the city to wander.  We admired some clothes in a shop that wasn't open and we peered in a strange store full of magical things.

I was wishing we had more time to wander and take pictures and have lunch but this is the first time I've done anything social with Nan and I'd had to take a Klonopin this morning just to change money from 50s to 20s and put my shoes on.  It was a first date.  I showed her two of my favorite things and she liked them.  I got out of the Bat Cave, out of bed, ignored the Horrors and spent the money I'd saved for recreation and I don't regret that.  It was always there for fun but I've lost the knack of it.

Maybe we'll do it again.  I now journal after I say the rosary, noting things I don't understand or disagree with or things I'm thinking about as I say it.  The rosary keeps me busy with the mysteries and spiritual gifts and the prayers which aren't very specific.  "Pray for us sinners," "forgive us our trespasses," etc.  I say the rosary in an attempt to open a dialogue and possibly an unselfish one because the prayers are in the second person: it's not just my trespasses that need forgiveness, it ours -- the collective of who knows who?

I've had the Horrors lately.  Money is a looming problem.  That Situation with the dogs where I got myself fired has brought up past firings or bad bosses.  There is a possibility of something good coming down the pike that would resolve the financial worry but I think it's a small chance.  Today I made a poster for dog walking.  And I realized that when I have the Horrors, it's harder to say the rosary, which is all about us and stuff when I'm having fits over me, me, me.  I talk to God when I have the Horrors.  I ask for specific stuff.

So when I finished the rosary this evening, I made a list of the specific things I want.  One of them is hope.  I lost it somewhere and it makes doing things to fight the Horrors really difficult.

But I hope Nan and I go back to Chinatown again and that next time we might have lunch and talk, if not about hope, our dreams and fantasies.


mary ann rodman said...

Frances--You nailed it completely. Part of the Horrors (a big part for me) is the loss of Hope. At this stage in life I never thought I'd find myself in huge, apparently unsolvable situations with close family members (and when you are an only child, you can't just blow off family members.) If only Hope would come back to me. May Hope come back to you as well.

Hilary said...

Very interesting post, Frances. I love massages also. I know exactly what you mean about how they can find your pressure points all on their own (I have a Chinese lady) and it's usually a good thing since masseuses often don't speak much English. But, wow, it's a great experience. And I agree--I often have a hard time walking properly afterwards--it is like being drunk!

Liked everything you said about the Rosary and talking to God and the horrors. I skipped the Rosary last night. I'd had one lite beer with a restaurant dinner and it put me to sleep very early. It's a good thing I don't drive anymore. It wouldn't have been safe. I know--it's funny--never did I think I'd develop such a low capacity for alcohol.

I'm glad you have such a good friend and a low-maintenance one too!