Friday, August 17, 2012

Why I don't do "wellness"

Yesterday I went to a massage center. It's a potential client so I was offered a free massage, which is always great, but on my way out the marketing woman watched me walk down the hall and told me she could tell by the way I walked my spine wasn't straight. This is a fact I already know. Two years ago when I did my health check for my China work visa they told me I had "minor scoliosis," which sounds really scary until I realized it was just a small curve in the spine, and doesn't everyone have a messed up back? I get lower back pain when I stand in one place doing dishes too long, but - again - everybody has back pain. 

Now this lady is telling me I walk leaning to one side, and here I was operating under the delusion I have pretty good posture. Actually quite often civilians - i.e. people who don't work at massage centers - tell me I have good posture.  Now I imagine myself listing to one side like a sinking ship. She recommended I come back to see the chiropractor and get treatment, which sounds like more time and money than I want to spend on what may or may not be the reason my lower back hurts when I do dishes. I prefer ignorance about my ailments. 

Pro Tip: They did tell me that one of my vertebrae sticks out because I have computer neck. So, if you're like me and spend all day staring at one, take time to tilt your head all the way back and stretch out your neck muscles. This is supposed to help.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

A day in the lunch

Today I had a drippy caesar salad for lunch. I ate it with my headphones in, listening to a podcast where a few Beijing foreign correspondents analyzed the recent floods, but not before I got up from my chair to lust over the brownies behind the glass counter.

Since I didn't succumb to said brownies, I finished lunch and walked across the street to an import grocer where I pondered bars of dark chocolate (finally settling on the cheaper one), then briefly considered buying more instant coffee (decided against), picked up an apple, considered buying soy milk (decided against), picked up a pouch of pumpkin seeds and almonds and also bought a baking tray. After purchasing all of these things, I waited in line for my official receipt (gotta collect 'em for my taxes) and only after this a man approached me, "Do you speak English?"


I find that more frequently now when American strangers (and now a British one) approach me they ask this question, which is a bit silly because here I am, buying expensive groceries by myself, clearly to arrive at this juncture in the world, I probably had to learn English first, regardless of my country of origin. Still, I guess it's kind of nice in a politically correct, self-effacing way - as if we're far enough removed from British Imperialism and American super power that there might actually be unaccompanied white ladies shopping for fruit and nuts in central Beijing who don't speak English. Granted, while it might not be impossible to find said lady, it would be pretty, pretty hard.

Anyways, after an extremely long pause, this guy told me that he'd noticed me at lunch and only came over to the grocer to approach me, which could be kind of creepy, since he obviously waited until I decided on cheap chocolate, passed on instant coffee, picked up an apple, passed on soy milk, bought a baking tray, paid, got my fancy receipt AND THEN said hello. But I chose to feel flattered, he didn't seem like a bad sort, but then I've learned not to trust my first impressions.

It's strange to think about being watched in public and what people might surmise from one's shopping habits. I'm just glad he didn't catch me yesterday when I stopped at a convenience store on my way home and inhaled an entire sleeve of oreos.