The Deep Tissue Encounter

I just had, hands down, one of the weirdest massage experiences.

I say ‘one of’ because I guess the art of me getting rubbed down for sports therapy has always landed me in the looney camp. A few years back, it was the man with the beard who gently removed the towel from my backside completely, the very towel I was under the assumption would cover my butt from the bearded man. He also went on to try and sell my mother on ‘a full cleanse’ when she was in last, giving her a tour of his colon-pumping space machine. He said it was his wife’s specialty and she wouldn’t believe what all came out. We’ve since moved our business.
I’ve been feeling like the elderly lately, racking asinine mileage every Saturday in preparation for a February marathon- which is, as of this very excruciating moment, not feeling like much of a possibility. I’ve been shuffling along at a novice pace just trying to finish my regimen, gnawing on astronauts food and hallucinating that I see water bottles on the horizon- yet still terrified to leave water bottles out for myself because of {none other} than the homeless. It’s an irrational fear, resulting in the worst case scenario of them drinking it and me dying of thirst right then and there. I typically stop four or five times to sprawl out on the gravel amidst the other trainers to do the splitz, the only solution to my chronically overwound hips. I make no apologies for my indecency, and have actually collected quite the motley crew to run alongside me. On occasion, I pause my ‘Adventures in Odyssey’ children’s moral stories (Focus on the Family, anyone?) to adjust my pants, remember I should’ve taken Alieve, and get moving so I don’t have to do this much longer. Today was just over 17 miles.
I called the two massage companies I know in town, desperate to see if they had anything to offer me on this very last-minute Saturday request. They didn’t. Befuddled and in too much of a slushy haze, I staggered my way to the car and drove to the mall. I went to Forever 21 to buy cheap junk, I porked out at Chick-fil-A by myself (it’s not Sunday!), and I bought a present for my soon-to-be Eagle Scout overachieving 15 year-old brother.
Just on my way out, I walked by a dimly lit space that read “RELAX” in red wiring overhead. Before I could linger, a foreign voice beckoned me in, pushing her hand behind my back to show me the menu of reflexology specialties. No, I didn’t care about the $20 for 25 minutes special on the back, my issues were much greater than just my back. I asked about a real massage and was led in an instant to a back makeshift room, with a Santa Clause nightlight and invasive upside-down parasails.
“You want man?” she asked.
“I don’t really mind,” I told her. “I just want someone who can do deep tissue work…”
She was already gone. Since I didn’t really know what was going on, I just sat there. A few minutes later, a gentleman knocked on the door, opened it, barely looked at me, and then slammed it shut again. The woman appeared a moment later, informing me I needed to “take my clothes off.” Apparently the masseuse didn’t appreciate that I hadn’t done so already. In all honesty, I wasn’t taking a thing off until I knew verifiably that there wasn’t a chance this was a scheme- getting me in the buck only to yell “fire!” and take my handbag. But I finally de-robed and lay face-down on the table (with a towel & appropriate garments intact).
I don’t even know how to sum up the whole hour. Incredible? Painful in a good way? Very therapeutic? All of these would do just fine, except for the fact that I’ve never had a masseuse give 3/4 of the massage whilst on the table with me. The man nearly sat on my rear to rub my back, hovered centrally to focus on my legs, and moved my arms to balance on his knees on the side of the table. He took no caution in going after each musculoskeletal system with fervor- after he finished sitting on them. My toes actually hurt from him sitting on them. The language barrier was no match for the cultural barrier, which was all unmatched compared to the mall-ordered massage experience as a whole.
When I left the mall, it was 8 p.m. I walked out with an obnoxious yellow bag and towel lines across my face, mascara pressed everywhere, in more of a disengaged state of mind than when I first left. I’m still doddling around with the idea of how that makeshift table managed to support both myself and the acrobat legend of “Relax.”

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