By Kristen Ace Nevarez, Senior Staff Columnist
According to Webster’s dictionary, stress is a state of mental or emotional strain or suspense.
According to me, stress is the loop of Queen and David Bowie’s “Under Pressure” that has been playing in my ear since September. Stress is the fact that I literally wrote “2 a.m. – 6 a.m. sleep?” in my day planner last week. Stress is mourning the death of my Beta fish (R.I.P Our Mutual Friend 2009-2010). Stress is doing my theater history homework via audiobook while driving, because I don’t have any other time. Stress is being so tired on your way to class you stop at a stop sign and wait for it to turn green.
It was when one of my students pointed me out while saying, “Ms. Nevarez is the one with brown hair who looks like she’s experiencing a midlife crisis” that I decided it might be time to take a little break. However, being who I am, I wanted to relax better and with immediate results. I wanted to be on the cutting edge of relaxation. Thus, I decided to research “rest” so as to achieve it most efficiently.
Sidenote: I am fully aware extensive research about “how to unwind” is abnormal, but I can’t help it. It’s who I have been my whole life. When I was in the sixth grade and had a crush on a boy, I responded by going to my school library, checking out the “M” Encyclopedia Britannica and looking up “male.” This past summer, I searched “how to dress like a female college student and not a middle-aged business woman” on the library periodical and research database. But back to my story …
So, last week I typed “stop dreaming about paperwork” in to Google and hit “I’m Feeling Lucky.” Thirty minutes later I was standing awkwardly in a day spa lobby filled with caucasian PTA moms with matching blonde highlights.
My masseuse, to be henceforth known as Mrs. Judgmental Sounds Lady or Mrs. JSL, took me to a dim room with candles and a stereo playing what seemed to be a combination of non-native birds and The Sims computer game soundtrack. Lying down on the massage table was the closest I’d come to sleep in the previous 19 hours. I expected to spend the next 60 minutes drowsily enjoying my second favorite day dream: winning the lottery, tearing down Parking Structure 4 and building the Swiss Family Robinson treehouse as my personal clubhouse.
Nope, that’s not what happened.
The second Mrs. JSL touched my shoulders, she stridently “tsk”-ed. I thought that was somewhat strange, but decided to ignore it. She continued to make escalating noises of disgust for 20 minutes, growing louder and louder as she discovered my back, neck and shoulders are less muscle and tissue and more of a tension rock pretzel.
When she literally yelped at my shoulder blades, I finally said “I know I’m stiff. I work a lot.”
Mrs. JSL sighed loudly: “And you have no boyfriend?”
There it was. I can’t talk to anyone older than 40 during the month of December without them asking me why I don’t have a boyfriend. I think it’s the holiday season; something about winter makes people want to stay in, watch movies and fight with their significant others.
“You work and be tense-tense, that why you have no boyfriend. That why. What you want?”
“I kind of just want a massage.”
“Don’t you want nice husband, nice kids?”
I realized she wasn’t going to let it go. I had two options: One was just to let her tell me everything Chinese culture required I do in order for a man to love me. The other was to confuse her into silence. You can guess which one I went with.
I said sincerely, “Late at night I toss and turn and dream of what I need.”
“Yes? What you need?”
“I need a hero.”
“I’m holding out for a hero ‘till the end of the night. He’s gotta be strong and he’s gotta be fast and he’s gotta be fresh from the fight.”
“I need a hero,” I went on. “I’m holding out for a hero ‘till the morning light. He’s gotta be sure, and it’s gotta be soon and he’s gotta be larger than life.”
I don’t know if she realized I was reciting the “Footloose” soundtrack or decided I was hopeless and would die alone, but Mrs. JSL shut me up with a painful “deep tissue” kneading move. I gave up trying to relax and spent the remainder of the massage session mentally preparing a spring musical production budget and grocery list.
Don’t you worry, fair readers. I have discovered the ultimate stress buster, and with finals around the corner, some of you might consider it too. Most insurance companies don’t cover it, but I still recommend a frontal lobotomy. It has worked wonders for me.
—Kristen is a theater arts senior, which is probably why she is so melodramatic.
—This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Daily Aztec.