Two things that changed my life.

1. I got a massage.

This is my one great splurge – I get a rubdown every four weeks. After years of searching, I have finally found My Life Partner Massage Therapist. Or massage technician. Or stress engineer. At any rate, My Life Partner Massage Therapist The Divine Ms. M. is just a joy. She has such a positive energy and caring nature that I want to get a massage every day and be her BFF.

I saw her in the grocery once and it was all I could do not to fling myself atop the citrus fruits and demand that she massage me right then and there. Because I have a great deal of self-restraint, I refrained from bruising all the fruit and instead enjoyed hearing about how she was going to make spring rolls.

So, I got a massage the other day. And it was glorious as usual. It is truly the best I ever feel. But this was a little different. My Life Partner Massage Therapist The Divine Ms. M. was working on my neck, her intuitive thumbs kneading muscles that felt … well, normal. And she kept working, and zeroing in … on two tiny knots I didn’t even know where there. But she knew.

Tears filled my eyes. Not because I was in pain, but because I was known.

It occurred to me that being known is the kindest gift we can give each other. I see you. I acknowledge you. Obviously, this is a theme lately. But it takes on a special poignancy when you’re head-down in a face cradle and trying to not cry and snot all over but you know that if you did, it would be just fine.

2. I made up a story about a fellow gym-goer.

So, there’s this guy at the gym. He rides the recumbent bike mega-slow while holding his iPad up to his face. He’s a hipster, probably in his early 30s, and he slow-rolls that damned bike. I burn more calories attempting to braid my hair than he does riding the bike for an hour.

I should also mention that all I do at the gym is walk on the treadmill. I’m still nursing my old-lady foot, so I don’t run, and I don’t walk all that fast. I walk. But I walk enough to get sweaty. Or maybe it’s all the judgment that makes me sweaty. Because I judge, and I judge hard.

Recumbent Bike Guy wears Crocs.

Crocs. To the gym. To slow-roll a recumbent bike.

Do these look like gym shoes?

I’m judging you! I’m judging you and your clear plastic glasses and ironic t-shirt and pansy-ass “workout” and inappropriate footwear!


I had an epiphany. I don’t know this guy at all. And as someone who wants to get a shirt that says, “Don’t judge me, fellow gym-goer! I have a foot injury!” I should probably not, you know, judge someone else. Something about do unto others?

So, I decided that there’s a reason why Recumbent Bike Guy does what he does in his unconventional footwear. I just up and decided that he donated a kidney to his mom and the recovery has made him unable to do any kind of workout but the recumbent bike for lo these three years I’ve seen him on said bike. And the crocs are related to some sort of lymphedema, surely. All this he went through for his mom, a lovely woman who works with sick kids and spends her free time teaching ESL.

Maybe if you don’t know someone, making up a sympathetic backstory is the next best thing. It helped me look at him with kinder eyes, and isn’t that the important thing?

What’s changed your life lately?

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  • Reply Kari Wagner October 10, 2016 at 11:47 pm

    I think your big break (at least book-wise) should be a story about the guy at the gym in the crocs.
    I'll wait.

    Oh and massage is LIFE CHANGING.

  • Reply Becky Brown October 11, 2016 at 5:01 am

    Kari, you are awesome and full of good ideas!

  • Reply Nance October 11, 2016 at 1:55 pm

    I waited and waited, and finally got a massage ONE TIME. And the masseur hit a spot and…MASSIVE IMMEDIATE MIGRAINE. (I'm a migraineur of almost 40 years now.) I mean, blinding and nauseating. So disappointing. And, of course, not her fault at all.

    Anyway, I got out of the Total Judginess Thing (although I do it for fun every now and again, as a hobby only) when I actively started trying the "Who Would You Trade Places With" game. Honestly, no one, really. Everyone has their own crap to deal with, when you come right down to it. So, like your Croc Guy Story, it's hard to know what's going on behind the persona.

  • Reply Andrea October 13, 2016 at 12:03 am

    I just got here, so maybe THIS is changing my life! Your sage advice to make up back stories to make the intolerable slightly moreso…I think I'd have to start with myself this week! 😉

  • Reply Green Girl in Wisconsin October 23, 2016 at 1:18 am

    That hipster with the crocs is my new favorite hero. I hope you write his story.

    Few things rival the right massage therapist. They are harder to discover than one might imagine. Glad you scored a good one.

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