Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Today's Adventure

I was browsing one of those stuff-in-your-neighborhood-for-half-price sort of websites and among all the local plays and comedy shops and baseball tickets there was a deal for a massage.


Supposed to be some sort of fancy package with an hour long massage with aromatherapy lotions, some bizarre hand softening treatment, hot rice bags and stones placed upon your person, and cold stones rubbed against your face.  Regularly $130 -- yours for only $60. 

Er...did I mention Sunday was my birthday?  I plunked down my $60 and took an appointment after work today.  Happy birthday to me.

Now, the spa had just moved to its new and improved location about ten blocks from my house.  I had its street address.  And, for good measure, I looked at the directions on the spa's website.  This was somewhat problematic, as the directions seemed to lead you to a place a block away from the street address.  "Hmm," I wondered, "is there a back door or something you're supposed to use?"

I drove to the place the directions pointed me to.  All I saw there was an old abandoned building.  I parked and decided to walk to the street address.  Even then, I would have missed the place were it not for the fact that the half-price-ticket site had cheerfully informed me the spa was located above a pub.  Walking past the pub, I saw a staircase with the street address noted on a wall nearby.  No sign saying "Day spa upstairs."  In fact, no sign saying, "Day spa."  Just, at the top of the stairs, a little sign reading, "Open."

I walk up the stairs, thinking there's about a fifty percent chance I'm hitting the service entrance for the pub.  I cautiously open the door and see another staircase, going up.  And then it hits me.  The unmistakable scent of essential oil.  (Shout out to Tammy.)  This is clearly the right place.

I go up the stairs and find myself in one of those touchy-feely places.  You know, the ones where there's all sorts of quartz stones around emblazoned with words like "Health" and "Balance."  And there's cassettes you can buy about female empowerment.  (Around now, I remember that I had seen "Aura photography" on their website in the list of services.)  When I parked my car, I had taken off my work shoes and slipped on some flip-flops.  I still don't believe flip-flops are appropriate footwear for any place other than the beach, but I thought I REALLY didn't want to force my feet back into those heels after a relaxing massage, so everyone would just have to deal with me wearing flip-flops, dammit. 

My therapist entered, barefoot.  Wearing a tank top and some sort of sarong.  She offers me some water.  I accept.  She goes away and comes back with a stone cup with some Chinese character on it.  (Probably means "longevity" or something.  I don't ask.)  She leaves the room and I drink the water.  It tastes funny.  I wonder idly if I'm being poisoned with some bizarre herbal concoction and that I'll pass out right here (on these really comfy cushions) and I'll wake up two hours from now without my wallet but with one hell of a headache -- and then I realize it's just lemon.

Before we go into the treatment room, my therapist shows me a list of all sorts of different aromatherapy mixtures she offers.  I am to choose the scent I want, based on what sorts of health effects I want from it.  I look down the list and choose the mixture of orange (cause I love that) and Jasmine (cause I wuv my Jasmine).  I am informed that this particular combination is good for "mellowing out female problems."  I can't say I actually believe in this stuff, but, if it does that...well...bonus.

I'm then brought into the treatment room (massage table, rug, some hot grill-like thing with rocks in it, speakers blaring out relaxation music to drown out the pub downstairs, lots of candles in some set up involving stones and a mirror that very likely isn't some sort of witchcraft altar, but you never know), and told to disrobe and park myself on the massage table.

This I do, and my therapist re-enters the room and gets down to business.

Here's the thing.  I'm generally a talker in these situations.  I know, I know -- a lot of the whole massage experience is supposed to be about relaxing in silence, but when some total stranger has their hands all over me in ways somewhat more intimate than most of my dates, I figure I ought to break the awkwardness with a little chat.

My therapist had this way of ending each comment with a, "Know what I mean?" to which I felt obligated to respond before she'd go on.  This was all well and good when she was saying stuff like she could tell I worked with computers (and was right-handed) based on the quantity and placement of knots in my neck and shoulders.  But when she moved on to things like being able to tell if someone is constipated just by touching their feet, I just mumbled "Mm-hmm" as if I was actually on the same page as her on that one. 

Then she said that when she walks into someone's house, if they have a houseplant that's dying, she'll immediately feel thirsty even if the plant isn't in the same room.  Now, I was a little skeptical of that one, but you don't really want to express skepticism when you're lying there naked, your hands are wrapped in plastic bags, and the person of whom you are skeptical has access to a hot plate full of steaming rocks.  (It's sorta like how I always nod in polite agreement with whatever whacked out political theory the cab driver is spouting.  Because you don't want to piss off the guy with the power to hurl your side of the car into oncoming traffic.)  Discretion being the better part of conversation, I tried my best to sound impressed by my therapist's powers of botanical sympathy.  And steered the conversation quickly into safer topics, like kittens.

Being distracted by the conversation, though, I sorta failed to notice the whole massage thing that was going on.  At the end, she asked me how I felt, and ... upon checking in with various areas of my body for reports ... I concluded I was pretty much asleep from the neck down.

Mmmmm.  Good.  A little weird, but good.  If they keep that $60 deal going, I may go back.

But I'm still not getting my aura photographed.


tammyg22 said...

But you have such a lovely aura!

And yes, I do know of your fondness for essential oils.  *snicker*  I'm actually rather amazed you stayed, truth be told.

andreakingme said...

~*~*~*~*~ Happy late birthday, you young-young! ~*~*~*~*~

It seems as if you had a relaxing and amusing massage there. I love the way you told it! Sure makes ME want to go and get one, but if I heard someone say they could tell I was constipated just by touching my feet, I'd burst out laughing.

So how does one go down two flights of stairs with a body that's asleep from the neck down?