Lower Back Lockup and other tales of this weekend.

I’ve been a horrible blogger. Last spring while school was still in session I promised myself that when I got to Monterey, I’d blog way more. I even had visions of vocabulary blogging, like I did in Taipei 2012. Alas.

It’s midnight now, so I don’t have time for a complicated narrative. This entry is just the highlights of the past few days.

On Friday (I can’t even remember what life was like before Friday) I had a 9am Chinese test. I only took an hour and a half to write it. I was the last person to finish, but the teacher noted that it was uncharacteristically fast for me. I felt I had done pretty well, but I could feel my back muscles tightening.

So right after the test I went to get a massage, and afterward I felt great. I ran back to the house to get my kazoo, and then back to school, where I MC’d the summer talent show. Oh yes. I told jokes (the cake joke, but not the octopus or doughnut joke). I sang a couple songs in Chinese, one was 拉肚子 (“diarrhea” to the tune of “La bamba”) with big J. The other song was 对不起,我的中文不好. Of course, in the middle of the song, I blanked on the words.

For those of you who don’t know me, this is a thing: I don’t feel stage fright or nerves about being in front of people. However, I always, always suffer from a memory blank. It’s happened ever since I was a kid, in plays, or singing lyrics to songs, or making important announcements.

Anyway, after the talent show, Atlanta J and I went to the beach in Pacific Grove to look at the tide pools. I could feel my back tightening again, and I started to feel afraid of slippery and rocky surfaces. We saw some fish, some anemones, tons of crabs of course, a jelly, and I some otters. I didn’t hear of any Friday night shenanigans.

When I woke up on Saturday morning, my back was locked up, and it hurt to stand up. I managed to get my lox bagel from the Bagel Deli (on toasted poppyseed), and from there made an appointment for a 9am massage at Massage Envy. The massage was great, and the massage therapist helped me figure out that my back was locking up because the muscles that are attached to my hip bone are in crisis… the lower back was guarding. The massage was great, as I said, but the crisis continued after the massage.

So I got in the car and picked up my phone to cancel on hizzoner S. I heard him answer, but then the connection dropped… so I thought to myself… I can make it to San Francisco.

So I drove 2 hours to San Francisco and went to meet hizzoner S in the Mission. S is super cool, into Asian American Studies from back in the day, had a favorite spot in the Mission for pupusas, and showed me a latino grocery store run by some Chinese Peruvians. I love the sound of Cantonese, but even more I love the sound of Cantonese English, I just find it irresistible.

I had a great time with S in the Mission district, but my hips and back were absolutely killing me after the car ride. It hurt to stand and I could barely walk. I called my cousin in Daly City and asked if I could just go to his place and lie down.

Of course once I got there, I had to answer the questions 1) what did you do to your back? 2) have you eaten, and 3) you’ll stay here tonight; which wasn’t a question. I went to lie down, and stretched and used a massager on the muscles in question while Cowsin J and I cracked jokes.

Finally the time came to get up and go to Auntie and Uncle’s anniversary dinner. It hurt so bad to walk, that I made a crack about needing a bastón. Uncle R heard me and immediately went to the back room to loan me his cane, which was AWESOME.

So I drove to the restaurant and the anniversary dinner, and it was great to catch up with cowsins and family. I didn’t get to play with my nephew because I was afraid to get out of my chair. After dinner I drove back to Monterey. When I finally got to the sublet, I jumped out of the car with no pain whatsoever. Whaaat?

The pain was back in the morning, and I skipped class. I determined that the source of my pain was not sitting or standing, it was the act of getting up… and that was excruciating. But by the end of the day the pain started to fade.

Today I went through my morning routine 7:30 lox bagel, 8:30 library to print, 9:00 to 11:30 morning class. I had tennis balls in my back, poking me in strategic spazmatic spots. I ended up skipping my afternoon class so I could come home and rest.

I realize now that the rest of this story is about how and when I did my homework today, so maybe I’ll skip it. The thing I will say is that I wasn’t able to go to the Mexican fair in Watsonville. I had been looking forward to eating elotes and watching lucha libre with Atlanta J. I heard all about it when he got back though; and saw pictures! He had a picture with a panda wrestler, and video of the bad guy luchador who was called “la migra” and had “border patrol” printed on his butt.

Oh and also, Atlanta J returned from the fair with a unicycle that he bought for $20. I can’t believe I missed that!

Tomorrow is already Wednesday, and there’s another weekly exam and presentation of Friday. Guh. There is too much fracking assessment in this program, it’s annoying, it’s taking away from contact time. Oh well. By the way, I got an 82% on that exam I took last Friday, the one where I could feel my back locking up. I’m surprised at how low that grade is, but then I looked at some sloppy answers and one that I even left blank… I wasn’t thinking straight.

So now my back is ok, it’s still a little stiff but it’s no longer locking up, that part has passed. It does feel a little beat up from two massages on consecutive days, but that’s a good hurt.

There are only eight days left in this program.