They pound. They knead the skin. I wait, my lower back sore from standing waiting for the chair masseurs. “We Are Young” starts up. They must play it here at the mall so people will shop and buy. A woman from New York via LinkedIn says she wants a job in San Francisco, do I have one? Before I reply the masseuse is ready.
Forget about We Are Young a moment: even a culture that celebrates youth has a core appreciation of vitality and confidence, and those are not automatic companions of youth. If a massage keeps me focused and healthy, then I move closer to the vitality American culture celebrates. If I give a person a real job and a chance to move to her dream city, that sounds like the confidence part also. For a moment I feel myself closer to the heart of where I want to be, to where many strive to be: vital and in charge.
On BART heading back to Oakland, then Berkeley, we speed arrow-like through the Transbay Tube, so elegant and we’re through. How fast did we in this crowded train fly, the sky lit up all around the full train sailing so smoothly like a tunnel of people and light surrounded by a moving world. The truth may be more terrifying than the lie I believed. The truth is, how we act matters. It matters so much the residuum of genes and training is like a pale transparent jellyfish, a vestige, the physical body in a virtual world. When I encounter another person, should one of us think we engage our bodies and voices they’d be right, but that is the residuum, the lesser part. The main part of engaging is our energy, the actions that we take towards each other and the way we hold ourselves. And even the actions are eclipsed by the way we hold ourselves. So I have training, genetics, physical appearance, and now even our actions towards each other as less appreciated step-children to the single important energy choice of how I hold myself.
As I look I find this at the core of everything. Whether I’m sitting at my desk at home writing, arguing with my daughter about taking an Uber or walking, sniffing and wondering whether to take a nap. And oh yes, noticing my suit and choosing to think about going back to work tomorrow. I get to choose what I think about and even more how I think about what I think about. What if I practice thinking well of it?