The masseuse has surfed a flood of pain in her personal life which she shares as she elbows into my back. As she digs in, she recounts a marriage of violence that ended when she reached for a knife that slipped into her own foot, saving her from doing something as awful as she had endured. I really didn’t need to know all the details as she pressed into my spine. I guess it was part of her process in exorcising the devil buried deep in the deep tissue.
I have had massages on the beach in Thailand – and remember looking out thinking, this is almost as nice as Martha’s Vineyard. I have been walked on in China and Japan and pummeled in Germany. I have had really loud Dylan massages in Manhattan Beach from my dear friend Heather. I have looked down through the headrest at nurse’s whites, at naked soles, and bad pedicures. I have woken up from a jet lagged stupor to old Russian breasts pulled out like old doormat in what was posing as a massage on East 10th St. I have had a shoulder rub in the first class cabin on Virgin (go for the manicure). I have been rubbed by the blind man in Hollywood. I have been talked into chair massages on street corners. I have been told this is good for you. I have been told to breathe deep. I have been told, “drinks lots of water.” I have been told you might be sore tomorrow. I have fallen asleep and dreamt softly. I have tried channeling hands to my scalp, to my feet, under my scapula. I have always tipped well even when it wasn’t worth it.
The funny thing about massages, is that you know in the first 30 seconds what you are in for. I have never been wrong. If the first minute is bad, it is all bad. If the first touch is magic – you are generally in for a great ride.