“I used to wake up at 4 A.M. and start sneezing, sometimes for five hours. I tried to find out what sort of allergy I had but finally came to the conclusion that it must be an allergy to consciousness.” – James Thurber
Sunday, July 04, 2010
I Must Have the Word “Sucker” Tattooed on my Forehead
I’ve been having a lot of trouble with a terrible “crick” in my neck. It is on the left side, and can get so tight and sore that I can’t move my head. And, any sudden movement that jars my neck causes excruciating pain. I’ve tried rubbing it, putting hot pads on it, I’ve even allowed that awful Ben Gay stuff to be rubbed on it in order to alleviate the pain.
About a week ago, I went to the local mall where they have a chair massage station and I had a Chinese guy work on it with some fairly deep and painful massage. While the experience was not pleasant, I think it worked some and my range of motion was substantially better the next day and the pain was less. With Lynne’s nightly neck rub and more smelly stuff rubbed on, my neck gradually improved.
To rid myself of the pain-in-the-neck permanently, I decided to go to the mall and have that guy give me one more treatment.
Our mall is fairly large. All the main corridors have a line of “cart vendors” down the middle. You probably know what I mean. These temporary-looking kiosks that sell everything from cell phones, to toys, to embroidered caps. As I was walking down the corridor a cute, young girl with an Eastern European accent grabbed my hand and steered me to her kiosk. Before I could object, I had a blob of damp salt (from the Dead Sea!) in my hand and I was instructed to start rubbing the salt between and all over my hands. I obliged while she squirted my hands with mist from a water bottle. She told me stories about the properties of the salt from the Dead Sea and how it would exfoliate my hands and leave behind essential oils that would make my hands smoother and softer. I told her I did not care if my hands were smooth and soft and was not sure of the benefit of rubbing salt on them. She just smiled and kept squirting water on me.
When the salt was finally completely dissolved and washed away she gave me a paper towel to dry with. Sure enough my hands were soft and felt good. She now posed the observation/question. “Now your pores are wide open and you, as an intelligent guy, know that is not good, right? So, what must we do now?” I had a brief fantasy, but alas that was not what she had in mind, of course. No. It is important to close those pores with a lotion that was now being applied to the back of my hand. I rubbed and rubbed to try to get rid of the oily, greasy feel of the lotion and had to finally get quite firm with her that I was not going to buy any product from her, but that I thought she was a good saleswoman and she would, no doubt, sell plenty of salt and lotion to other people.
I finally extricated myself and made my way down the corridor to the massage station. My guy was there, but he was not the first masseuse in line. I walked past the Chinese woman who greeted me and went over to the guy and reminded him of my neck and asked him to do another 20 minute massage, perhaps a bit more gently. He seated me in the chair, but then the woman came over and said “I do massage.” I figured it was okay, I didn’t really care who did it, I just needed a quick 20 minute massage to finally get rid of the pain-in-the-neck and then get back to work. I was already running late because of the Dead Sea Salt girl.
I’m not sure how it happened, it is all a bit of a blur to me now, but the lady told me that it would be much better if I had a table massage instead of a chair massage. That way I could take my shirt off and she could work on my back and neck better. It seems the owner of the chair massage station had just acquired space in the mall and had set up a few table massage stations, would I like to try that? Before I could really think my way through this and reply, she grabbed (my soft but still somewhat greasy) hand and began leading me back down the corridor toward the Dead Sea Salt girl. Just before we got to her we took a left, went outside, then a right, then along the building until we got to a door that opened into a room with several massage tables partitioned off with screens. I was led to a table and told to take off all my clothes down to my underwear.
Having had many massages, I knew the routine and figured I’d comply and see how good the massage was. After all, when I bought Mia I gave up my membership at the local Massage Envy, so was missing my monthly rub down, and maybe this would make a good and inexpensive alternative. I could pop over to the mall during lunch for a quick and soothing massage.
So, I complied. My options for minimum time were now 30 minutes, so I said okay, and clearly instructed her to work mostly on my neck and upper back. After a minute I felt a second set of hands massaging the backs of my legs. After a minute of that came the question, “Mister, you want four hand massage?” I asked if it was no additional charge. “NO. You pay both of us.” What a clever idea, get a 60 minute massage in 30 minutes! I wondered if they had an eight hand massage so I could be in-and-out in 15 minutes, yet enjoy the benefits of a 60 minute massage!
“No, I don’t think so,” I said. Hands number 3 and 4 quickly disappeared and there was some conversation in Chinese.
I have to admit the massage was very good. She did concentrate on my neck and back, but quickly did my arms, legs and feet also. After my 30 minutes were up I dressed, payed, and was on my way back to work—running a bit late and feeling like a sucker. But, a sucker with a loose neck and soft hands.