Thursday, July 24, 2008
A dear friend recently asked (in print) if I would please blog soon, and well, let's face it, that little ego stroke was all it took to get my fingers on the keyboard. Fortunately, there's been a blog brewing in my mind, though I've had doubts about my ability to convert it to written word. But for the sake of my friend, I'll give it a whirl...
As some of you know, my back is a worthless piece of shit, and has been for many moons. Thus, for Christmas (in 2006), my mama done give me a certificate for a massage. I practically melted as I opened it. In our family, I am the massager, never the massagee, so I lost myself in a dream of having my lower back pounded/pummeled/pelted for an hour.
And then a strange thing happened: I didn't use the certificate for two years, despite periods of such acute pain that I couldn't go out and play, not with my kids, my friends, no one. I relied on an Excedrin/coffee cocktail, and just rode it out. Friends would say, "You need to get that massage." "I know," I'd counter, "...but..." I can't say what my aversion was. I'm fine getting down to my skivvies, fine with strangers, and sure as hell fine with someone using their mad massage skills on my train wreck of a back.
Cut to last Monday. I couldn't bear seeing my "MASSAGE" reminder in my inbox anymore, and I went in. The form asked if I had any problem areas, and I circled lower back until the pen ran out of ink. When the spritely masseuse appeared, she took one look at my form and promised to "really tackle that lower back." I could hardly wait to get naked and let her work her magic. Little did I know her magic lies in another realm altogether.
As we entered our room she made obligatory small talk, and I mentioned that I have two kids, at which point she practically fainted, only to steady herself and tell me what blessing from God they are. I concurred, for they are pretty great, and I'm not above thanking God for them. Soon we established a common acquaintance, a woman whom I hold extremely dear, and I somehow told myself that our mutual friend was certain to translate into the best massage ever given. Nothing could have been further from the truth. Instead she used this beloved friend as a segue to this women's retreat she recently attended. Now, I'm no Einstein, but it only takes a few "praise Jesuses" and "thanks be to Gods" for me to clue in to a person's spiritual persuasion. For the record, I have nothing against Christians, and in very specific contexts, I even identify myself as one (followed by "but...but...but..."). I mean, I think the world is being destroyed in the name of Jesus, but I try not to hold that against any particular Christian. Anyway, so we're thirty miles into this lifeless retreat anecdote-turned-sermon, and I realized that she had only massaged my upper back, one side at a time, and was moving to my feet. "Surely she's saving the best for last," I told myself, and my lower back became giddy with anticipation. After lightly (tickling?) my legs, I became worried about the time. I knew I must only have 20 minutes left, and I REALLY needed some attention on my back. I was at a loss to hint to her, as my sinuses were draining like Niagara Falls, and I had but one thin Kleenex keeping me from soiling the little face pillow. Also, I couldn't get a word in, what with her gushing about some author at the retreat who writes books called Princess. So named because we women, whether size 2 or 22, are all God's princesses, and we ought to dress the part. Oh and God is particularly fond of his little darlings wearing rhinestones! Lord in heaven, all I could do was respond in silence. She couldn't have heard me through the face pillow anyway. She went on to explain that this author's background was that her church, in response to her severe financial crisis, decided to support her attempt to become Miss USA. Blessed be these rhinestone morons, they dug deep in their pockets, not to feed hungry children or build homes, but to outfit this Princess in her evening wear and buy her plane tickets. I admit to taking the Lord's name in vain in my head, and also, asking him to transport me. To anywhere. Ghetto. Side of the road. Republican convention. Whatever. He certainly wasn't answering my prayers that this goon go anywhere near my lower back. That's right. She never touched my back. She did some creepy face smoothie, during which I was forced to look at her. I shuddered and squeezed my eyes shut. I no longer wanted her touching me at all. I didn't want her holy-rollin' rhinestone-lovin' spirit seeping into my flesh. I have my own problems don't you know.
Under less disturbing circumstances, I may have conjured up the nerve to say something like, "What the fuck? What about my back?" But I r-e-a-l-l-y felt ickified, and couldn't get my clothes on fast enough. I averted her gaze, and tried to tell myself by crossing the threshold of the massage room, I'd be free of her Fire-and-Rhinestone cooties. I literally ran out of there, where Todd and Reilly were waiting. In the car I spied a MUCH-needed box of Kleenex, and thanked the Lord. I may not be on par with his other Princesses, but at least my nose isn't running.
...oh my achin' back...