| advance noise
for days of naze
| a person can work up a mean, mean
after a hard day of nothing much at all
||October 14, 1998
I Think I'm Turning Japanese:
I step out of the car already feeling a little better knowing that relief is imminent. Up the steps of an old refurbished house on a busy city street, through the front door and into the empty entryway.
Some people I know think I'm a little odd, a hedonist for paying a woman for an hour of pleasure. Perhaps they are right. The first time I did this was in San Francisco on my birthday. She told me to take off my clothes and rest in the tub -- she would be back in 20 minutes. I left the place 2 hours later with the deep inner knowledge that I would do it again.
On the second floor landing the door opens into a room that looks like a small, well-remodeled attic. I bow slightly to avoid brushing my forehead on the dark blue cloth hanging from the top of the doorframe inside. Mary sitting in a swivel chair next to a desk, greets me quietly with a smile and directs me to one of three areas screened off with thin, dark cotton material.
Mary is from Iowa. Her brown
hair reaches down to the tops of her shoulders. She
is slight but substantial and radiates a sense of
calm. Her face is fair in an Iowa way with the
slightest suggestion of Asia in her eyes. I've
known Mary for about eight years. I came to her the
year after my Bay Area experience and have been back at
least once each year since then.
By now, some of you have penetrated my little obfuscation. What is about to take place is not a seamy little sexual encounter (you hormone crazed surfers are all alike...) [hey! we resemble that remark! -the editors] but instead a heavenly session of shiatsu massage.
Shiatsu is both physical treatment and spiritual event. (One must truly dig the Asian duality here.) This Japanese healing art stems from traditional Chinese medicine, where the flow of energy, or chi, within the body is believed to be central to your well-being. When the flow of energy is blocked you don't feel so hot.
I lay down on the futon on my right side with my left leg bent at the knee and my right arm extended forward. This allows Mary to traverse the left side of my body without my having to move. Shiatsu means literally "finger pressure" and the technique is to apply pressure and movement at the gateway points along your meridians, which are the channels through which chi flows.
Now, some of you have doubting, or may I go so far as to say, derisive looks on your faces. "Those Left Coasters would be tolerable if they weren't so fruity and New Age..." But just let me say this: Shiatsu doesn't require faith to believe. It's a Missouri kind of deal. You don't have to believe in chi or meridians or gateways, because you can describe how you feel afterwards any way you like. I happen to find the chi metaphor an apt one although you won't find me greeting you in the office, "Yo, Stan, how's your chi flowing"?
Mary begins to firmly, yet gently, work her hands on my tension-gripped head. We talk. Mostly about our families and sometimes about work. It's a very quiet and relaxed conversation not only in keeping with the calm and soothing activity but also because there may be another session taking place just beyond the screen next to us.
As the session progresses and I switch to the left side, our discussion wanes as I gradually surrender my tensions and cares. Shiatsu is sometimes described as a dance between the giver and the receiver, and that in a cool kind of reciprocity "the giver is the receiver, the receiver the giver". Never having been a shiatsu practitioner I can't tell you if this is a slogan to make you feel even better about your passive (perhaps even "slug-a-bed"?) role or if it is, in fact, reality. But I'll believe it until someone gives me a reason not to.
After laying on your front with your face supported in a little face frame-like contraption as your back muscles are worked upon, you turn to the final resting position: your back. I am now in a completely relaxed state; a floating, restful zone that is a sort of waking sleep. My eyes are closed. At the end, Mary takes two slow but deep breaths that are synchronous with my own. And then she quietly lets me know its o.k. to take a few minutes to preserve this quiet and blissful state.
I dress. We talk a bit more. I hand her a folded check and tell her that she is an artist, which I truly believe. She demurs.
Walking out to the car, my mind has temporarily ceased it's manic activity and is still. I see things clearly.
Better than sex? No, not the movie, but the true opposite of sex. Making love is a building and heightening of tension that, most folks hope, is then toppled by a great crashing wave of euphoria. In shiatsu, your natural tensions are slowly and gradually released until you reach the calm, still place; euphoria that begins not with the crash and thumping heart but with a hush.
p.s. Here's a site where you can learn a little more about shiatsu.
p.p.s. "I can't bear the thought of missing new stuff hot out of the naze oven. Do you have some kind of new days notification list?"
|previously on days of naze:
what have you done for
|May you never be more active
when you are doing nothing.
|in the feedbag:
book: Citizen Soldier by Stephen Ambrose - post D-Day battles of WWII
mag: Esquire has become a very good read. Check out the Oct issue with the cracked head on the cover.
vcr: Get On the Bus (quite good); Golden Boy (a tittilating Japanese anime with a great big window into the society's work ethic)
movie: Antz "a boy meets girl, boy transforms societal norms" story.
server crashes in the woods,
does it make any noise?