Author’s note: Today actually happened yesterday
Today didn’t start out like any other day. Today I woke up in severe pain. Usually if I experience pain, it’s generated though my low back. Today’s pain was neck and shoulders. I live in a rough city, so naturally I thought I’d been shot. Perhaps by a stray bullet while I slept. I asked my husband to check for bullet holes. After an exaggerated eye roll, he informed me there were no holes (in my back). I asked him to check again. He refused.
Oh, the pain! I iced it. I rubbed in Castivia. I popped anti-inflammatories, then muscle relaxants. Nothing worked. I couldn’t think of what I did the day before that would cause such pain other than gardening. One of my hobbies is buying plants then watching them die before I can get to planting them. The day before, I managed to plant one before getting distracted with brushing the cat. So not a lot going on in the active department.
After losing the will to solve the “why” mystery, I then embarked on the I-need-a-massage quest. I remembered a friend telling me about a relaxation station near to my house. I was warned they speak no English. So off I go, my daughter in tow, to the non-English-speaking relaxation station.
I was pleasantly surprised to see so many happy Asians eager to assist me. They showed me a chart where I placed a checkmark next to the menu of services. I chose the shortest amount of time and cheapest: 20 minute chair massage at medium intensity for $13 bucks.
My masseuse, a broad-shoulder male, brought me to my chair, while Camryn was being entertained by the rest of the staff. She is very shy and probably was hating every minute of it.
Without any sort of warm up whatsoever, his hands went straight for the neck, wrapping themselves around in a choking manner. Then he graduated to his beat down: extreme violence upon my back regions. There were popping noises that sounded like large-sized bubblewrap from underneath my skin. I could hear the tearing of muscle cartilage, the ripping of tendons. I wanted to scream. Don’t they know I bruise like a peach? He, all the while beating me to death, carried on a conversation with another masseuse in a loud and excitable voice—which also scared me.
He brought his elbows into it, his knees, and maybe a whip. (Bob Trusty, if you’re reading this, I feel so bad for you right now how Elizabeth whipped you on your first date. Shame on her. I think you need to buy her a gift certificate to this masseuse.)
Meanwhile, I kept wondering, if this is medium intensity, what is the highest? Death? Do they take you out back and karate chop you to death? My thoughts were interrupted by a body slam upon my back. After crying and a brief but holy experience with the “white light”, my thoughts went to their usual paranoia playground. Does he mistaken me for someone he hates? Did the recommendation come from my enemy whom I thought was a friend?
Then I heard the magic words “Okay.” Finished. Yay! Not. He only wanted me to lift my head off the support so he could put some wrestling moves on me. He had me in a head lock, trying to snap it off. I was glad for the room-divider so that Camryn wouldn’t have to watch.
When it was over, I crawled to the door then slithered to the car. I wasn’t any better, but I survived, lived to tell about it, in fact. I asked Camryn how it went for her out front and this is how she described it: “They gathered around me, happy, but didn’t touch me. They looked like they wanted to, though. The spoke Chinese and a man interpreted for me. He said, ‘She ask how old.’ I told him, nine. He interpreted and they all nodded. ‘What your name is? Ahh, Karen. Pretty name. Your eye. Beautiful. Blue. Your hair. Natural. Pretty. Princess. You like computer? Your mama like computer? Everyone like computer.’ And they talked to me about everything while swatting flies.”
My heart was so warmed over at their deep interest in engaging Camryn in conversation while I was being bludgeoned, that I forgave all the violent assaults on me.
Did it help me? No. Would I go back? Yes. But next time, I’ll check zero intensity (one is the lowest), perhaps bring my own feather that I will require they use.