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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Warm Oil Dripping...

I promise to make this entry short and well, greasy!

I was recently riding the J train home after a long day of work when a seat opened up and I was glad to take it. Today was a bit unlike other days in that I wasn't checking email on my iPhone, making my next move on Words With Friends, or thumbing through my new favorite graphic novel. Instead, I decided to shut my eyes and take a few deep, meditative breaths. Sometimes busy work days make me feel as though I've forgotten to breathe all day. there I was with my eyes shut and focused in on my inhale and exhale when SUDDENLY, I felt something warm and greasy running down my forehead. I looked up to see what was dripping on me and was appalled when I noticed that the woman standing beside me was holding a bag with Chinese take-out. She was holding onto the bar above my head for stability meanwhile holding a bag (of what I'm guessing to be greasy chow-mein) that had tipped over and was running down the side of the bag, and eventually down my forehead and cheek.

"Ummm...excuse me..." I uttered awkwardly while trying to get her attention. "Your food is dripping on me".  "Oh my gosh! I'm so sorry," she responded and rearranged the food that had tipped over inside the bag.

"I'm sorry too," I thought to myself. "Sorry I'll have two new pimples tomorrow from all the grease I had running down my face!"

Monday, September 12, 2011

Weekend Roommates and Enemas

The story I'm about to tell is a bit older but it's one that I recently dug up in my journal and thought it'd be a good one to share.

Almost three years ago when I started my current job, I was asked to attend a mandatory skill-builders conference. The first part of the conference would be a weekend retreat in Santa Ana and the second part would take place a few weeks later in in San Diego.  All of the new employees were required to attend both conferences. Being new to the agency, I did not know many people and therefore, my roommate was selected for me. I had the same roommate at both conferences and still regret not having requested a different roommate after having attended the Santa Ana conference.

The first conference with Susan was quite the eye-opener, although that experience did not at all compare to our stay together in San Diego. Just to re-cap Santa Ana, within the first hour of rooming together, Susan expressed to me that she had forgotten her toothbrush as well as her pajamas. "I hope you don't mind if I sleep in my underwear?" she asked. Before I could even respond, she had turned on the table lamp and proceeded to strut around the room in an oversized pair of men's tighty-whities. As an attempt to ignore this woman in her mid-forties with a gray mushroom haircut parading around in men's underpants (open fly and all), I indicated that perhaps she could ask the front desk staff for an extra toothbrush. She did not feel it necessary to brush her teeth that night and so, I figured she'd just wait until the morning.

The next morning (and the first day of the 3-day conference), Susan and I left the room to head down to the conference room. I told her we could leave a few minutes early and stop by the front desk for a toothbrush. She preferred not to stop by and assured me that she'd just drink a cup of coffee to cover up any remnants of her morning breath. Quite disturbed, I remained quiet and secretly devised a plan to converse with her as little as possible. This secret pact I made with myself did not last long as the first speaker at the conference had us partner up. As Susan dominated the conversation, I was forced to look at the thick film that glazed her front teeth. If only she had asked the front desk for a toothbrush!

Later that evening, after the conference was done for the day, Susan asked me if I'd like to  join her for a drink at the restaurant/bar across the street. In an attempt to be cordial with my weekend roommate, I agreed. It was over a few glasses of wine and Susan's raw steak that that she divulged to me that she had been in a polyamorous relationship with a 60-year-old heterosexual couple and she just so happened to fall in love with the man in the relationship. Apparently "he taught [her] all about tantric sex." She then explained that she no longer speaks with these two individuals because her feelings had become much more than she had initially bargained for. As if that conversation wasn't intense enough, Susan proceeded to then tell me about her current "situation" with her obsessive compulsive pre-op female to male transgender "lover". Although I am open to different lifestyles and all types of relationships, I found this conversation a bit too much to handle coming from someone I barely knew. I suppose it was less an issue of discomfort with the subject-matter and more an issue of not sure how to respond to this person I know very little about. We were breaching boundaries I had never expected would be on the night's agenda. let me fast-forward to our San Diego weekend. I arrived late to the hotel on the first night because I had missed my flight. I had made plans to meet up with Susan and some of the other women from our agency for dinner but had to skip it as I arrived much too late. That said, when I arrived at the hotel, Susan was not yet there as she was out to dinner with our other colleagues. I had about half-an-hour of alone time before Susan arrived at the room and immediately began complaining of stomach discomfort. When I asked her what she had eaten, she proceeded to ramble on about a Mexican feast she had just eaten followed by complaints of ongoing gastro-intestinal problems.

The next morning, I woke up to a 7:25 wake-up call that allowed me ample time to get up, shower, and make it down to the conference room for a quick continental breakfast before the series of workshops would begin. When I got out of the shower and left the bathroom to rummage through my suitcase, I almost passed out as Susan must have been expelling gas the entire time I was in the shower. The room smelled like the smelliest fart I've ever experienced. Susan stepped out onto the balcony to continue releasing; meanwhile, she carelessly left the sliding glass door open causing the retched smell to waft into our hotel room.

By this point I was pretty upset and I opted to meet her down at the conference room rather than walk down with her. I felt perhaps she could use the "alone time" and I could really use some fresh air.

I found an empty seat at one of the conference tables and Susan decided to take the seat directly behind mine. During one of the presentations, Susan's stomach began acting up again and silent bombs were being dropped left and right. Suddenly, people around me began searching for the culprit and I was absolutely humiliated. It dawned on me that perhaps people thought the smell was coming from me!

About mid-way through the conference and about an hour or so before lunch, Susan whispered to me that she'd be leaving for a while. She wasn't feeling well and wanted to "go back to the room to rest." That said, I was quite surprised when I saw her in the buffet line at lunch time. Every afternoon the hotel would put on a different themed buffet. On this day, it just so happened to be Mexican Fiesta. I asked Susan how she was feeling and if eating heavy Mexican food was a good idea. She responded, "I just want to see what they have. I probably won't eat too much though."

After serving myself, I sat at the table with some of my colleagues to enjoy my lunch. Susan sat across from me at the same table. As I peered across to see what items were on her plate, I noticed she had piled her plate high with cheese enchiladas and refried beans. Really!? She was a gas tank that needed re-fueling! Suddenly, I felt a sense of rage rush through my body. How is it that you complain about your gastro-intestinal issues and fart up a storm in a conference room full of people and then serve yourself a plate full of gas-inducing food? How offensive!

I refused to go back to the room when the conference ended for the day. Instead, I took a book to the pool and read until it was time to meet the other women in the lobby for dinner. I had to sneak upstairs to grab a coat right before we left and although I secretly did not want Susan to join us for dinner, I asked her if she'd be coming along. She replied, "I'm not feeling very well. I think I'm going to stay here and rest."

The other women and I enjoyed a lovely seafood dinner and decided to walk around the streets of San Diego. We were probably gone for a good four hours or so when we decided to return to the hotel for the night. Susan was lounging on her bed and watching t.v. when I returned to our room. Within 10 minutes of arriving, Susan asked me if I needed to get into the bathroom. When I responded "no," she said, "okay because I'm going to be in here for a while. I'm not feeling very well and I am going to give myself an enema."

"Whaaaaatttt? Is this for real?" I asked myself.  Who packs an enema kit with them for a weekend work conference and who performs this procedure with a stranger in the next room!? I had never heard of anything like this happening before and in fact, I had never known anyone who had given themselves an enema (or at least told me about it). I began asking myself a number of questions beginning with--Will there be awkward sound effects involved? Should I plug my ears?

While Susan proceeded to give herself an enema, I plugged my headphones into my laptop and watched an episode of The Office in hopes that my laughter would block out the sounds of any potential grunts. I believe I slept soundly that night anticipating the plane ride back to San Francisco the next morning and feeling relieved to have completed the last segment of the skill-builders conference.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Post-Coital IBS Abandonment

This past December I experienced a very painful break-up that has taken me on quite the emotional
roller coaster these past eight months. About four months ago, I decided to try my luck at online dating. I figured, almost every single person I know is doing this right now, and even those who are recently "taken" dabbled a bit prior to settling down with their current special someone. Not knowing what site to subscribe to, I did some preliminary research and decided on OK Cupid--a free site with no religious affiliation. Besides, it has a pretty cool interface in comparison to some of the other free sites I explored.

I went on quite a few dates with different potential suitors but most courtships ended after the first or second date as these men just couldn't hold my attention. About two and a half months ago, I met a guy (let's call him Frank), who I instantly took a liking to. He was sweet, silly,  had a lot to say, funny, and was very cute in a boyish kind of way. At this point, I was pretty impressed by him as none of the other men I had met possessed all these qualities. In fact, Frank did this thing where he would actually look me in the eyes while I was talking. Amazing! No awkward evasive eye contact. I thought to myself, "What a winner!"

At the end of our third date and a few cocktails in, I decided it was time to invite him home with me for the night. He gladly accepted this invitation and attempted to hail down a cab quite enthusiastically. Our "intimate" evening began almost instantly upon arriving at my apartment. However, there were a few "breaks" requested by Frank early on as there were a few incidents in which his excitement led to premature consequences. Overall, I'd say we enjoyed ourselves immensely and I fell into a deep sleep almost immediately.

At about 2 a.m. I woke up to an empty bed. I had rolled over to find myself straddling what I expected to be a body but turned out to be a lonely pillow. I looked at the clock and then looked at the floor. Frank's clothes were gone. I laid in bed for almost thirty minutes wondering why he had left and feeling completely insulted. This had never happened to me before. Why would he not wake me up? Did he tip-toe out the door? Why didn't I hear him leave? What went wrong?

After asking myself two dozen questions, I decided to get up to get a glass of water. When I walked into the kitchen, I noticed the bathroom light was on. "He must be in there," I thought to myself. "But...what's he doing in there? It's been 30 minutes!" I quickly filled my glass of water and returned to bed. I pretended to be fast asleep when he entered the room. When he sat on the edge of the bed to remove his clothes, I pretended to startle and awake in my sexiest groggy voice. "Is everything okay?"
 "I'm not feeling very well," he replied. "Can I get you anything?" I asked. "I'm fine. Just need to go back to sleep." With that, I was able to fall back asleep. I felt comfort in the fact that he hadn't left me.

That said, about two weeks later I found myself in a state of deja-vu.  We decided it would be fun to have another sleep-over after a night of live music and bar-hopping. This time, Frank seemed nervous to get started as though he anticipated a premature climax. We took it slow and with a few initial breaks, were able to have a pleasant experience. As I began to fall asleep, I felt Frank sneak out of bed yet again and heard the bedroom door close softly and carefully behind him. Five minutes passed. Ten minutes passed. About fifteen minutes later, he returned to bed with the look of discomfort on his face. At that exact moment, I remember thinking..."Perhaps this is a pattern. A very unattractive pattern."

So here's my theory: Irritable Bowel Syndrome! I think Frank has anxiety due to premature ejaculation and in turn, he cramps up with nervousness prior to having sex causing him to have irritable bowels. It's a lose-lose-lose situation! He loses because he has this condition with premature ejaculation. Then, he loses yet again because his anxiety prior to having sex causes lasting after-sex effects (IBS). Finally, I lose because between the pre-sex pep-talk and the after-sex thoughts about his bathroom business, I'm turned off. Completely turned off.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Reach for the Light

Groupon. Living Social. Bloomspot. Trubates. CrowdSavings. Each one of these websites negotiates huge deals with local businesses sending subscribers great deals meanwhile bringing new customers to businesses in the community. For a while, I was completely hooked! I was purchasing deals for restaurants, yoga classes, burlesque workshops, massages, facials, and comedy clubs. I became so excited about the deals being offered at the discounted rates that I loss sight of the importance of reading reviews prior to purchasing.

That said, I received an email one morning for a one-hour yoga/massage session. The original price was $110 and was discounted at $39. I thought to myself, "What a steal! I love yoga. I love massages. This sounds fantastic!" I eagerly purchased this Trubates deal and called to schedule my appointment with an older gentleman whose voice was soft and soothing.  I figured, this would be a great way to end a busy work week--I'll book for a Friday evening right after work. 

So it was Friday evening and I had just left my last field appointment for the day. I had been looking forward to a relaxing massage and personal yoga session. I mapped out the address for Live Love Yoga (yes, that's what the place was called!) As I parked in a strictly residential neighborhood in Laurel Heights, I began panicking as there were no businesses located on the street--only apartment complexes. While walking up to the address, I told myself "If you feel at all threatened by the man when he opens his front door, make up a quick excuse and jet!"

I rang the doorbell and an older (I'd guess mid-sixties) gentleman with a calm demeanor and flamboyant appearance answered. He welcomed me to his home and studio and asked me to come in and take a seat. My gut told me it was safe and so, I entered his home living room and had a seat on his comfy red suede couch. Naag Champa permeated through the air and the sound of soft, meditation music  drifted through the room from behind the kitchen door.

The therapist/yogi (let's call him Chris) sat across the room from me and asked me to explain a bit about myself so that he could better understand what kind of person he's working with. He added, "Perhaps you can start out by telling me what you do". I explained to him my field of social work and what my job as an Early Start social worker entails. His facial expression changed dramatically as he said, "you are a saint! This job sounds very stressful and emotionally taxing. I'm sure that has a great effect on your body". We discussed the stressful elements of the job but I made sure to clarify that I do in fact, enjoy the work I do. He then asked me about any physical problems I was having and if there are any areas of pain or discomfort. I began rubbing my right shoulder and explained that this has been a point of pain and discomfort on an off for the last two years. Very little attention was given to the pain I had indicated as he was curious to learn more about me and my personal/emotional life. "Are you in a relationship?"

Having just come out of a very painful break-up, this was the worst question he could have asked me and I responded in a shaky voice "I've just come out of a four-year relationship".  Seeing my eyes fill up with tears, he proceeded to pry more into this subject matter. "Are the two of you still in contact with one another? What happened? Was this a mutual split?" After the first few questions I completely melted down. So there I was...a stranger in this man's living room, 20 minutes into our "session", no massage, and tears running down my cheeks. I was a mess!

Chris realized it was probably time to shift gears. He excused himself by saying, "I have the perfect thing for you!" Meanwhile, I took this opportunity to wipe my face and take a few deep breaths. Chris returned a second or two later with a stack of cards and sat beside me on the sofa. All I could think was, "Really?! Now you are going to read my tarot cards?!" Just as I had expected, he sat beside me, revealing a deck of cards carefully spread out for me to choose from. I figured, "What the hell! I'm curious. I'll indulge him." I selected a card at random and flipped it over. Looking at the card, I was puzzled as to what it meant. It revealed a gleaming golden contraption of sorts with a spectrum  of deep blues and purples decorating the background. I looked at him as to say, "What now?" "Excuse me again, " he responded. "I'll be right back".

This time Chris returned with a book in his left hand and a hidden surprise fisted in his right. "Hold this in your right hand," he said to me as he revealed a shiny opalescent crystal. "Uhhh...okay," I replied. He sad beside me on the sofa and opened the book to a passage that corresponded with the tarot card I had chosen. He then proceeded to read this passage and I begun to ask myself "What is happening?" He rambled on for about ten minutes about new-agey mumbo jumbo that I couldn't quite comprehend. Suddenly he reached a passage that ended with "Reach for the light". At this point, I had caught onto the pauses in his speech and would quickly respond with the appropriate "uh huh" as though acknowledging what he had just read. Suddenly, Chris looked up from the page and said, "No, really. Reach for the light".  Completely confused I asked him, "what light?" He shifted gaze now looking at the window beside the faux fireplace. "Look at the sunlight coming through the window".  Unsure what to do and completely stunned at the situation, I had no other choice but to reach for the light. So imagine this: there I was sitting on this strange man's couch about forty minutes into our "session" yet no massage and no yoga have taken place. I am holding a crystal in my right hand, reaching for the light that is beaming through the window with my left hand, and I have dry mascara tear stains on my face. I felt absolutely absurd!

Chris completed reading his passage and closed the book. He then asked me to step to the middle of the living room rug and prepared me for what he called the "standing massage". "Standing massage?," I repeated. Chris began massaging my shoulders and carefully stretching my neck by tilting my head carefully from side to side. The "standing massage" was short-lived and to be honest, I don't remember too much about it as I was extremely uncomfortable and sweating profusely out of nervousness the entire time. He then led me in some breathing exercises and had me mirror some basic yoga poses. "Could this really be it? A neck massage in my sweaty work clothes and some basic yoga poses at the rate of $110?!" Right as I was questioning what I had been doing here for the last 45 minutes and how it is that I often find myself in "interesting" situations like this one, Chris said, "Okay...let me have you lay down for the full-body massage". "Yes!" I was so excited at this point...exactly what I had been waiting for. Granted there were only about 15 minutes left but I didn't mind as long as it meant I could  switch to a less-awkward position. That said, it quickly dawned on me that there was no massage table in sight. So...where would I be laying?

"Go ahead and lay in the center of the rug face up with your feet toward me." "Face up?" I repeated. Just when I thought things couldn't get worst...I found myself feeling very vulnerable while laying on this strange man's living room rug with sweaty armpits. Chris asked me to relax and practice the breathing exercises he had just shown me. At this point, I figured I'm going to do my best to absorb even just a tiny bit of relaxation from this experience. I closed my eyes and focused on deep breathing while Chris began massaging my feet. I do enjoy a good foot massage, so, I was taking it all in. Suddenly I felt Chris stop and could hear him walking around. Then I smelled fresh incense. He had stood up to light a new stick. With my eyes still closed, I felt myself sinking into a deeper state of relaxation. My breath had slowed, I was no longer questioning what I was doing here and had stopped obsessing over my damp armpits. SUDDENLY, I awoke to a bell ringing in my face. I'm talking two inches max above my eyes. Startled, I opened my eyes and saw Chris hovering over me with a bell. In a calm voice he said to me, "Thank you. Take your time getting up."

"Thank you?!" Are we through here? Was that it?" I thought to myself, "there's no way in hell I'm going to continue lying here to take it all in." So...I hopped up and quickly grabbed my coat. "Thank you," I said. Chris reached in for a hug and I awkwardly reciprocated.

A week later still blown away by this experience, it dawned on me to check his reviews on yelp. I can't say I was surprised to find that there weren't any written for Live Love Yoga. I think I will be the first!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Got Milk?

As a social worker who works with children with developmental disabilities, I often times make house visits and/or visit children in the hospital.

I was assigned a new intake for a kiddo who had been hospitalized for numerous gastrointestinal issues that were related to a severe metabolic condition. To compound the severity of this case, she was hospitalized after a routine doctor's visit as she was not growing or gaining weight. In addition, the family had lost their apartment due to the landlord selling the complex and they found themselves homeless with a very ill 2-year-old little girl who requires a feeding tube and a newborn baby. The clinical social worker working with this child in the hospital had arranged for me to visit the family there since it was unknown as to how long it would be before they could arrange temporary shelter.

So there I was...obtaining my two-year-old client's medical history and collecting routine background information. As I sat on the corner of the hospital bed interviewing mom, she picked up the newborn baby and held her in her arms. She proceeded to unleash her massive breast from beneath her moo moo and aggressively placed the nipple in the baby's mouth. The mother squeezed the breast and massaged it in a rhythmic manner allowing the milk to come to the surface; the baby appeared quite content.

Suddenly, the baby turned away from the breast and the nipple fell out of her mouth. Mom was watching the baby with adoring eyes completely unaware that a stream of breast milk was shooting through the air. As I looked up from my intake application to ask my next question, I felt a stream of warm breast milk slap me in the face. As mom continued smiling at her precious child, I quickly wiped the warm milk from my face and eyelid with the sleeve of my sweater. I wanted to save mom (and possibly myself) the embarrassment of knowing what had just occurred. Is this for real?! Did I just get shot in the face with another woman's breast milk?! What if it had shot me in the eye?!

While writing about this experience, I was reminded of a story a friend of mine told me in high school. She had just finished having sex with her boyfriend at the time while her dog slept soundly on a love seat across the room. After they were done cleaning themselves up, she looked across the room and noticed that somehow her dog had been lobbed in the head by her boyfriend's flying semen.

To my readers, I welcome any reminiscent flying substance stories in the comments below.