My Fresh Hell
Life in Scribbletown.

Philosophical Adventures in Spinal Manipulation

2006-11-03

Man, I had the strangest conversation yesterday with my chiropractor. Really, I truly try my best not to have discussions with people – unless they know me pretty well – about religion and politics and feminism. I usually try to keep myself to myself. Mainly because I am generally surrounded by people who have opposite views and become very stridently vocal about them when I let out my secrets. Either that or they look at my funny and treat me like I’m a little touched in the head forever after.

But yesterday, I walked into the chiropractor’s office and heard a patient/customer talking to the receptionist about whether animals have souls. The receptionist, an older woman who looks quite butt-average but has been known to play The Best of ABBA (!!sweet!!), said that of course animals have souls.

The patient replied, “Well, they don’t have souls because they can’t be saved.”

*blink*

Um.

I swear I almost just turned around and ran out of there because….no. Just: no. Please don’t go there. Oh Lord.

The receptionist saw me then and I agreed with her, quietly, that I thought animals have souls. Because, in my experience, anything with a distinct personality – and I’ve owned a number of wacky cats in my life – is more than just a collection of instincts. There’s something else there. I don’t think this conflicts with my atheism in the least. Feel free to disagree. I’m cool with that.

But the whole “saving” issue is just beyond me. Really, saving them from what? Animals and people are what they are. I mean, good lord, I don’t even want to have this conversation. I’d be here all fucking day and I’ve got better things to do.

So, my chiropractor shows up to usher me in and I make a remark about how I don’t want to get further enmeshed into some theological discussion. My chiropractor – let’s call him Steve because I’m tired of typing “my chiropractor” (shit! I just did it again!) over and over – began to go on and on about how much he loves Mormons. (I know someone who will be hooting over that one.)

Frankly, I don’t remember the reason he gave – he apparently lived in Salt Lake City at some point – but I just kind of looked at him because…well, I didn’t have anything to add to this.

At some point, mainly because he just kept on talking, I admitted I was an atheist. I’d known he was a religious person for some time because he’d say things like, “When God created the clavicle…and these muscles (which I don’t remember the names of)….he had thus and such in mind…blah-blah-blah.” So, yeah, that was a big clue that I should just nod and say nothing. He also refers to the bible as The Instruction Manual. Riiiiight.

But I was surprised when he told me that he’d been where I was (as if this just simply a stage in my “spiritual development”) for a long time. I did not ask what made him go from Practical Common Sense Thinking (and surely was awake during most of his biology and chemistry classes) to believing in God again because he went off on another tangent and I explained that much of what I dislike about religion in general is the way women are so denigrated. How we – throughout history – have played a second-class role and that much of the religious clap-trap (I didn’t use that exact term) put it in writing that women have a certain place and it is not as an equal to men. And have used those religious writings to then later write laws that make it difficult for me, even today, to make decisions about my body. What the hell?

I told him that I’ve always felt uncomfortable being deferred to – what the Southern Gentleman would call “respect” – in public. That having men talk down to me, open doors for me ONLY BECAUSE I’M FEMALE freaked me the hell out.

Steve was taken aback, “I never thought of that before. That’s never occurred to me. I was raised in Georgia and I would have been slapped upside the head if I didn’t act a certain way towards women.”

Maybe it’s a generational thing, I said, but the only time I ever wanted someone to hold a door for me is when I was pregnant or carrying my heavy small children. Otherwise, I consider myself a human being – equal to all humans – and am really, really uncomfortable being treated differently simply because of my gender, which I cannot change (well, at least not very easily, and EWW why would I want to become a guy? I don’t how they walk around with those things, to quote Elaine Benes). Women and homosexuals – the Last Minorities.

I think I really blew his mind. I even joked about The Dark Side which was a mistake because not only does he believe in heaven but in black magic and hell, etc. Which is ludicrous, frankly, to my thinking. I told him I was joking but it just set him off again. Satanism came up. I tried very hard to just tune it the hell out which is kind of hard to do when you’re alone in a room with someone who’s cradling your head in his hand while cracking your damn spine.

I have a feeling next month’s visit will be quite interesting.

[EDIT: I want to be clear that I really like my chiro, he's a nice guy, and we had a really good conversation. It was nice to be listened to and understood and I did the same. I just was not expecting this so my lack of responses were, in large part, due to the fact that I was not prepared to discuss any of this.]

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10:57 a.m. ::
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