Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Oh, Augie.

"Augie, where's Jake?"

"He's dead. He was riding his horse and he fell off a cliff." *sniff, sniff, sob*

Where better to watch AMC's 25th anniversary showing of Silverado than a Chinese spa? Of course that dialogue's completely made up, because I've never really watched Silverado (save for 45 minutes the other night) and I don't know Augie or Jake, but I shared some contemplative moments with them from the comfort of one smooth black massage chair at the Chinese reflexology massage place. The glowing screen of a Vizio existed in such dichotomy to the quiet spa music, the trickling fountain, and the dim lights. That Vizio, a proud juxtaposition of East against West, was funny only to me. I went there for a beatin' and I had to wait a while; Augie and Vizio were my spirit guides.

There's this little shop in town across from Wal Mart where you can get a massage for pretty cheap--don't worry, everything is on the up and up but nobody there speaks English very well (I could care less) which is, I believe, the reason the prices are so low. I was drawn in last summer by the promise of a $20 foot massage. The foot massage really turned out to be a face/neck/ arm massage, followed by scalding water and what I can best describe as the process known to a well-pounded chicken cutlet, followed by a (clothes-on) full body beating in one of those weird massage chairs--where your face goes in a leather doughnut and you hang, hunched over like a brown bear hunting for salmon.

Good times. Good times.

After my first week of slow torture at the hands of Tony Horton, I knew I needed a massage. Not only am I to massage as Brittney Spears is to Cheetos, I was really jonesin' because I'd worked my muscles so hard all week. When I was dancing full time I, all I'd have to do was push my feet in the general direction of E and he'd commence with the major eye-rolling and whining because he knew the request that was coming. E's great at foot rubs, but he makes a lousy partner in this regard. He's too ticklish for me to return the favor--nary a back rub or a foot rub from me will be had at this house because if I even give thought to touching him, it will send him shrieking into the next room like a 12 year old girl who saw a spider. (Sorry, honey.) So there's really no asking someone like that because if there's no promise of even steven, there's no reason for one nice person to keep pounding away at the feet of the demanding, harpie, she-wolf wife. I mean, not on a regular basis. Not when the addiction is this strong.

So every once in a while E will size me up and decide that a good massage is worth the monetary loss because I'll leave him alone for a while. Saturday night was such an occasion. I dropped by the reflexology place, knowing that it would hurt but hoping that it would provide some relief to my aching muscles. I love a place that will take you in first thing, but then sit you in front of AMC for 45 minutes while you wait. You know, it could have been worse, and to be honest if I was at home I'd just be sitting on a couch watching a glowing TV anyway.

I hate to sound annoyed, because I wasn't. I figured that the money I was saving by being in this cheaper establishment was worth the wait. That gave me more time to contemplate/prepare for my beating, anyway. I sat there and gave myself (and Augie) a little mental pep talk. In truth, the anticipation of the beat down was worse than the reality this time. Last time I went, I had the owner--a man--and this time I had a soft spoken woman named Anna. Anna didn't have it in for me quite as bad as the guy did.

Of course it hurt, but I tried not to be a baby. The soles of my feet are tough as heck from dancing and walking everywhere barefoot from about April to September. The one that gets me is the slapping and the punching (yes, I'm serious) of the calf muscles at the end of the foot massage. Lordy. Those things were sore, and they were scared as they felt Anna's nimble wrists go out for the ol' one-two. Got through it though. It was like labor. Or so I hear. I sat there and wondered with each poke which internal organ was being called to attention. Is this the part where you connect to my spleen? Is that supposed to make my gallbladder relax?

Every time I get a massage I also wonder about how choreographed the movement is. Each job I've held from coffee girl to waitress to smoothie schlepper has held a choreographed set of moves that I try to navigate with grace, efficiency, and a natural flow. I can't help but wonder as I'm being massaged--whether it's legs or back or face, anything--if the movements are ingrained, if they're a rote dance performed each day by the massage therapist no matter what shape, size, or hairiness the person is beneath her palms. These are the things I think about when I'm getting a massage. No empty mind for me.

A series of complicated maneuvers followed that involved Anna's elbow working into my shoulder muscles like a railroad spike, and all I could think each time that she crossed over my left shoulder was I wonder if she feels my scoliosis. I wonder if she knows this side of me is wrong, and almost always in pain. If Anna made any discoveries about my anatomy, she kept them to herself. Thank God. I didn't need another awkward conversation like the day in junior high we all had to pile into the showers one by one and stand in our bras to be analyzed for crookedness. Yes, I'm crooked. I've managed to lead a very normal life. Thanks for being a lamb about it, Anna. But could you maybe not drive your elbow through my back and out my shoulder? Maybe? Aw, never mind.Do your thing.

Anyway. Anna didn't try to make small talk or any talk--which I hate--and didn't require my consciousness at any point during the foot/shoulder/back massage, which made for a pleasant, mildly painful beating. I left feeling like I'd been asleep for two hours, and at the same time like I'd been the mortar to the pestle that was Anna's ulna. It was an interesting combination of relaxation and pain.

I'm glad Kevin Costner was there to share it with me.

1 comment:

  1. What I am most proud of in this post is that fact that you know the ulna primarily makes up the elbow :) It's the x-ray tech in me! hehe