My final in Acupressure was not hard. It was not hard at all. And I was done with the test and out the door by 10:00, and did not have to be at work until 1:00. What? What was this feeling? What is this empty space? I think I recognize it… could it be… “free time?” I scooped up the Bird at daycare and had a long, luxurious (and sweaty) walk around the daycare’s neighborhood, lulled Birdy into a fat white sleep and dropped her back off with ‘Q, the new daycare worker*. I went to Borders and bought a Massage magazine and the new issue of Bust. I went to Bread & Company for a bite to eat.**
* I was informed yesterday when I dropped Birdy off that “M. no longer works here,” ‘M’ being one of the workers in the infant room, the one who consistently ruins my daughter’s precious first moments for me with a smack of her gum and a flippant comment. She’s not my favorite, but I felt she was at least very capable. Unlike her partner, the Evil Ms. J, who is a hundred and fifty years old, doesn’t hear well or move quickly, and has the worst, flesh-melting breath ever breathed onto another human. I left the daycare shaky about leaving Birdy with a stranger and someone I already know is inept. But it turns out that ‘Q is fine. Better than fine, actually, and better than ‘M’, because she is not married to/ divorcing the son of Evil Ms. J, is not sleeping on the job due to her personal issues, etc. She’s just a sweet lady with a broad smile and a mysterious tattoo who likes to snuggle my baby, when she can get her away from Evil Ms. J, that is. And Evil Ms. J is not really evil, but I used to think she was, and the name stuck. She has good intentions, but that does not make up for the breath or the potential for accidents due to her physical limitations. Sorry, but it just doesn’t.
**Fuck Bread & Company. I wandered around looking for a sandwich counter, then groped around for a menu (no help from the staff that just stared at me while I frantically looked for my sandwich choices), ordered a sandwich that was soggy and came with some kind of weird and salty-gross tappenade that was not explained anywhere on the menu, waited in a long line to pay, filled my own drink, stood around and waited for an available table, sat in the most uncomfortable torture chair that seriously made my toes go numb thanks to the slats digging into my ass, and then bussed my own table, all for eleven stinking dollars. I will not be back, as I feel I was robbed.
Because this is how it works:
I am frequently of the mindset that as soon as I become a licensed and for-real LMT, two things will happen, instantly:
1. I will have my own successful practice, which will be minimally but artistically furnished and in a hip area of town, and I will work two days a week, of my own choosing.
2. I will be healthy, with glowing skin and hair, tons of energy, making good food choices, with a slim waist and toned arms, gliding around in simple clothing and comfortable European-type shoes, being cool as a cucumber and bringing peace to all I encounter.
I have realized, however, that my leaving the business (or maybe it has more to do with my having Birdy) has made me much more at home in the time and space I’m currently existing in. I’m pretty sure I’m not able to describe it well, but where I was bound before by schedules and time and the structure of the 5-on, 2-off work week, I find myself wondering what day it is sometimes, not thinking “only a day and a half left” on Saturday, and not obsessing or dreading any of my commitments. I feel un-tethered, and better able live in the time I have, not two days ahead. I’m less regimented, in less of a rush. Maybe it’s all those acupressure treatments. That’s the really great thing about massage school: people have to practice. On you.
This is not to say that I don’t still have those panic moments at work where I get itchy and sweaty and feel like gnashing my teeth and kicking violently when I’m in the middle of a tedious mail-out project and I see no end in sight. But I am able to suppress it, and the stress comes from tedium and minutia, not doom and dead-ends, which is nice. And I lock up at night and leave it all in this little building, and it doesn’t touch me in my real-life world, which is becoming more and more my own as I continue to design it the way I want it to be. (You’ll be happy to know, though, that I am still doing quite a bit of fucking around at work. I have to have some consistency.)
I have it. Birdy has it. And I’m looking forward to A’s late office hours in the fall for only one reason (because the rest of it is going to suck): we’ll switch, and A. will be the drop-off guy, and I will be the pick-up guy. I hate leaving her, I hate the scared crying and the reaching. I hate the sinking, nauseous feeling in my stomach and the loud hum in my head when I look away from her little terrified face. I hate the hot dizziness and the feeling that I’m having a vital organ removed right there in the daycare center. I hate knowing that the daycare is so “clean” that Birdy might as well be soaking in a bucket of chlorinated bleach all day.
What I meant to talk about was that today, when I put Bird down on the floor next to this cute little round-headed guy in a bouncy seat, she immediately pulled up on his bouncer and started laughing and poking him in the belly (okay, the face, but it was still cute), and he was laughing along with her, and I felt a lightning bolt in my reproductive tea-set that told me I will definitely, definitely need to have more babies. I mean, I knew that before, but I’m starting to feel the little empty gray space that I felt a couple of years* before Birdy. Kind of like that weird empty hole you create when you move furniture around, that makes you say, “You know, something should go right here…”
*please note the use of the word "years."