The scene: The spa, where I have gone to get a deep tissue massage as a reward for finding employment. A young woman about a foot shorter and 20 pounds lighter than I am is my masseuse. Her name is MJ. She has a stock Slavic accent, the kind you hear in Cold War movies or Rocky & Bullwinkle cartoons. She begins working on the enormous knots in my back.
The scene, continued: And by "working on," I mean she crushes me with strength that seems incongruous with her petite frame. I endure in silence until it becomes necessary to distract myself from the blinding pain.
Julia: So, what are knots, exactly?
MJ: Well, they are the muscles. But sometimes they are the tendons, and sometimes they are the nerves.
Julia: Ok ... so what causes knots?
MJ: Well, the muscles, they get strained. Or they are all bundled up, you know, with the fevers.
MJ: Yes, the fevers, the fevers ... oh, maybe that is the wrong word? The fivers? Fivers, maybe?
Julia: Oh, do you mean "fibers"?
MJ: Yes! Fibers! The fibers, they get tangled. Unless they are the nerves. And that's why it hurts.
Julia: Ok, good to know. (Inner monologue: By which I mean, I still have no idea what knots are and what causes them.)
MJ: (pounding my back) You should come back more often. So much tension, not good ... (pounds my back again)
Julia: Yeah, that sounds like a smart idea. (Inner monologue: Were you trained by the Gulag?)