Pop My Neck and Seal My Lips


What should I share here:  full life story, half life story, fake story, or just small talk about office hours? Let’s call them A, B, C, and D.


How stupid is it to get migraines after a day of fishing?! Isn’t fishing supposed to cure you of ailments and stress? I considered that my body was just getting too old for it all and I should have a ceremonial dance around a fire pit while burning all of my fly gear, but then I realized my neck was just out (over-react much?).

So here I am, unwillingly headed to the Chiropractors office (so much effort). On the plus side, it gives me an opportunity to people-watch, one of my other favorite hobbies…

I don’t know if I’m the only one, but after spending a week with kids I get nervous around adults- especially if we are meeting for the first time. What if the reciprocating adult asks me hard questions about my life or about my career? Or what if I just start crying because I am so absolutely exhausted? What if I forget the formalities of a simple conversation?

I immediately start to prepare myself for the tedious balance between over-sharing and under-sharing…

Do they really want to know ALL of the reasons my neck is stuck sideways from certain stressors or should I just give a simple generic answer?

What should I share here:  full life story, half life story, fake story, or just small talk about office hours? Let’s call them A, B, C, and D.

I was met at the door by a skinny Portlandia looking male named Caleb: mid-twenties, with bright red hair and beard, tight slacks, suspenders and a crinkled shirt, the kind that says:

“It’s meant to be wrinkled, its fashion, get over it”.

He was not extremely manicured and his socks did not match, which eased me down a bit since I wore flip flops to the appointment even though it was 32 degrees outside (don’t ask).

His voice was calm and his red eyebrows rose with every sentence as if reassuring me that my answers were fine and I was in a safe place. Due to his evident compassion, I immediately felt called to over-share and choose A) Full Life Story. But I didn’t- I took my fancy paper-filled clip board and sat down quietly like I had ton on my mind, trying to portray that he didn’t need to babysit me with words to make me feel comfortable.

While eavesdropping on the patients in the back, I overheard two cases of ‘over-sharing’. One woman sounded like she truly believed Caleb was her soul mate and that she was there to not only get her back cracked, but to emote on almost every level of her life. For a second I thought they were on a match.com date in the office. Caleb was sweet and responded with kind words like, “that sounds hard” and “wow I didn’t know you could smoke in a bar these days”. He kept asking her questions, instead of dismissing her like a normal assistant would. He must truly enjoy listening to people? What kind of Chiropractor receptionist is this? Where are the mean older ladies that try not to make eye contact and smell like a rusty smoke break?

The second over-sharer was a  lady going on and on to Caleb about how her daughter hated school and was having anxiety attacks and so she pulled her out and is now homeschooling. She started to cry and told him it was really difficult. Caleb asked,

“Have you ever home-schooled before?”

 Instead of going with plan C) Fake story, the woman went full on plan A)Full Life Story:

 “No- I don’t know the slightest thing about it and I’m really bad at it”.

Then the long pause- Caleb, how are you going to respond to this one?

 “Well, I’m sure it will just take some time to get into it. Don’t give up!” Ding Ding Ding- way to go Caleb, smart answer.

Finally, it’s my turn. I’m drumming up ways to stay solid, to not let Caleb break me down because if I started talking, I may not stop today. I also just got done watching Downton Abby and my thoughts are sounding British so I hope I don’t respond with a strange accent and have to pretend to be Brittish for my entire session. I don’t want to get caught up in the mix of thinking Caleb really does want to hear it all or being an over-sharer like the others. So I keep in my mind that he just wants my money, he just wants my money.  

“How are you today?” He asks all counselor-ish and smiling.

“Good, thanks- my neck hurts”, I reply as blunt as possible- letting him know I am here for one reason.

“Well my dad will be in to help you in a bit with that”.

“Oh neat it’s a family practice then?” I’m determined to do more of the questioning than Caleb.

“Ya, it is. My brother is the other Chiropractor in the office.” He responds.

Me, suddenly and sort of brash-fully:


Caleb pauses, and smiles; I’ve caught him in his own game and now he must respond A, B, C, or D. He chooses B) Half Life story.

“Well I started to go to school for Chiropractor stuff but I’m still not sure. What about you, what do you want to be when you grow up?”

Uhg he switched it back on me and he was kind by pretending that I was not already grown up with it all planned out.

I thought about going full on plan A, but decided to just go with B):

“I have my degree in psychology, but I’m still not sure what I want to be when I grow up”, I tactfully respond and smile, thankful I didn’t give in to his switcheroo plan.

I didn’t tell him I wanted to be a full time mother and fly fisher, along with  being a multi-platinum author (I think I just made that award up oh and I dont plan on doing this- lethargic blogger works),  and someone who never has to go to the chiropractor when they grow up. I was proud of myself for holding back but then I laughed really had when he left to get his dad. What kind of game am I playing here? I need more interactions with adults, that is very evident today.

Later, after daddy-o told me my neck looks really haggard for a woman my age (thanks to a life time of sports), I had to meet back up with Caleb for the electro shock table deal-io. I tried to pretend like we hadn’t had a strange interaction and that I didn’t care what he wanted to be when he grew up. He pulled my shirt down in the back and put the sticky pads on. I asked him about office hours and told him they seemed busy.

So Caleb went about his business and after a bit I asked him to come over to turn up the unit to shock me a little more. Then, while half asleep and dazed, I said, “I like it real hard”, which was intended to be a fact. He laughed, thankfully. The other assistant, probably in her late fifties, yells over playfully to Caleb,

“Wow, are you going to curl her hair too!” He laughs.

And then I try to join in on the joking around and say,

“Ya, can you paint my toe nails after too?” ……………

He laughs again, even though what I said didn’t make any sense. Only seconds after, I realize that she was talking about the tens unit shocking my hair curled and what I was pondering was a beauty salon where I asked Caleb to do everything for me. I can’t explain it to them though-‘ oh never mind I get what you guys were talking about you scallywags, you’… no I can’t.

Why am I so awkward sometimes and other times I’m like the smooth operator that knows exactly what to say in every situation?! 

Well I have to go back in three times a week to get my wretched neck put back together, so I have plenty of opportunities to sabotage my so far lack of sharing and make up for the uncomfortable jokes I brought to the table (literally). All I know for sure is next time, I need to have some sort of deep conversation with someone before I go, to get my curiosity, my judgmental people watching habits and my ‘brash humor’ under control.

It turns out Caleb is just a nice human being trying to do a fine job at taking care of people- but Im still not going to let him break me down! Im sure he will be nervous around me after my hot and cold comments- trying to be withholding, funny and then sounding like a sexual predator or a woman in the throws of a mid-life crisis. I’m just socially unstable, Caleb, gosh! Fix my neck already!

And also, how can a drop table even help a person’s neck anyways- I have a two year old jumping on me all of the time- how is this doing anything different? I’m pretty sure the doctor will want me to go fly fishing for a few days in a row after, just to make sure my new neck works right?

I think today I am going to tell Caleb he would be an excellent counselor when he grows up- I am sure that won’t be awkward at all….


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s