Monday, May 18, 2009

Story Time: A Relaxing Moment

Daily Specs:

Attainable Goal: Get the boys outside while it is sunny and nice. Insert check mark here.
Grievance: Big Love ate the rest of my sub sandwich, so I had to make lunch. I am so lazy.
Celebration: I got an hour and a half long nap today! And the double stroller fits easily in my trunk!

As a "new mom" gift from Big Love's co-workers, I got a 30 minute massage at a nearby salon. This is an awesome gift. I have had only one professional massage before (for Christmas from Big Love) and I felt it really made a difference on my overall demeanor. So to receive yet another massage was really thrilling, and I looked forward to getting it done. I had made my massage appointment for a week and a half ago. Big Love was all set up to watch the kids, and all I had to do was go and get pampered. So I arrive at this place, check in, and sit in the waiting room. The waiting room is set up to pre- and post-relax the clients, so I take my tiny mug of house brew, pick up the most recent issue of Time from the carefully posed magazine display, and sit in a soft earthen-tone leather chair that has just enough firmness that makes it easy to get out of. I do a quick survey of the room, notice the other men and women sauntering in and out, and take in the general feel. The Musak was playing some sort of watery instrumental with haunting vocals, probably from a Birkenstock-wearing girl group or pre-pubescent boy choir. The walls were a sort of natural lime green, brownish grey cement floor, and assorted vases full of rocks were littering the end tables. I was doing my best to compose my tightened muscles and sink into the milieu, which proved difficult, as all the articles in Time were foreshadowing the imminent demise of our country.

When I finally got to the point where I could drink my coffee and feel my shoulders begin to droop, a rather energetic woman interrupted the assumed silence with her boisterous gallop into the waiting room. She was obviously an employee. Her garb consisted of a white button-up blouse, gently wrinkly, like she had just pulled it out of the dryer instead of taking the time to iron it before work, black stretch pants and black orthopedic shoes. She was short...well, shorter than me. Most likely an average height for a woman. She had wavy, bleached blonde hair pulled back in a ponytail that probably should have been redone mid-day, as curly tendrils were flying about her face like the snakes of Medusa. She was slightly overweight, with a pillowy upper body that made me immediately judge her as very maternal. Her perma-smile was genuine enough, and while it was infectious, it rather contradicted the atmosphere of the room.

She peered at the people waiting with a skeptical eye, and each person, in turn, returned her gaze by casually glancing up from their publication of choice. When she didn't find what she was apparently looking for, she began to study the clipboard she carried in with her. "Lauren P..Pick...thorn? Lauren Pickthorn!" She is not the first to struggle with my name. I smiled dutifully at her and put my magazine and coffee down. When she doesn't see me immediately I cautiously raise my hand to the level of my shoulder like a shy first grader. When she saw this awkward move, she bumbled over to me and shoved the clipboard in my lap and told me to fill it out. With no further instruction, she left the room. So I filled it out. I checked the appropriate boxes, telling my family history, medical history, contact information, and that I was breastfeeding. She re-entered the room a couple minutes later and I stood to greet her. She snapped the offered clipboard back to the comfort of her personal bubble and began to peruse it as we exited the room and walked down the adjacent hall. Other employees similarly dressed were loitering in the darkened corridor, talking and laughing amongst each other, but straightening their posture and giving me the obligatory smile as we passed. My escort stopped short, squinted her eyes at the form that she was still reading, then gave me the once over with her gaze. "Are you pregnant?" she began. Bad way to start.
" Breastfeeding." I felt like pointing out the boxes on the form where I had not checked "Pregnant" and had checked "Nursing", but I felt like that may have been a bit rude.
"Did you know that you are signed up to get a pregnancy massage?"
"Yes." I did know this, but apparently I needed to explain further. "I was told that the few weeks after giving birth, you are still not supposed to have regular massages. Not sure why, but that is what I was told."
She threw back her head abruptly laughed, "Ha! Of course you can get a regular massage! That is so silly! You can lie on your stomach, right?" I could. "Then of course you can get a regular massage! But I have to completely re-set up your room, because, silly me, I set up for a pregnancy massage! Silly me!"

She continued to tell me a story about a time when a man came in for a supposed pregnancy massage, and I chuckled in all the appropriate spots. When we got into the room, I noticed it was decorated almost exactly the way the waiting room had been. Same colors, same floor, same stones in jars. The only thing different was the single wall covered in a giant mirror. My masseuse (she told me who she was on our trip down the hall) swirled around the room, re-arranging pillows on the massage table that would allow me to lie on my stomach. She left and I undressed, placing myself on the table. I was still reeling from the non-relaxing qualities of this woman, but I was convinced that she would simmer down her character for the actual massage. So as I lay there, I begin to soak up the atmosphere once again. I put my face in the donut shaped pillow, closed my eyes, and felt my muscles begin to get heavy with relaxation.

They masseuse entered, and as I had suspected, her demeanor was toned down significantly. For the first 25 minutes, she spoke only once, to tell me to let her know if she was doing anything too soft or too hard. I agreed with a quiet hum, and let her pamper my over-worked back. It was 25 minutes of uninterrupted bliss. Once it was time for her to work on my shoulders and neck, I dutifully turned over onto my back. At this point, I was quite sure I would finish out my massage without a hitch. Much to my chagrin, however, my bubbly masseuse began to speak. And not in the gentle, patient tones that one would expect from a person who is supposed to be gentle and patient for a living. No. It was like running into a long-lost high school friend that yells at you from across a crowded airport gate and runs up to you screeching almost inaudibly. So for the next 5 minutes, she asks me an endless string of questions about my children, which I answer in short, rude one-word sentences. Not getting the hint, she follows each of my responses with a long anecdote about her own children, coloring her stories with a periodic guffaw or enthusiastic pounding of the fist on the pillow directly next to my right ear. At this point, I resign to the fact that no matter how good the massage is, all I am feeling is annoyance.

I have decided to take the ever-so-infrequent blog to narrate a story from my life. It will likely end up much like this one. Not necessarily funny, not necessarily sad, but just a story. I don't really know a certain one reason why I am doing this...perhaps it is to remind myself to keep my outlook on life light. Perhaps it is to help me learn to be more observant. Perhaps it is just to teach myself to be a better writer. For any reason, I hope that if you had the stamina to read the whole thing, you were able to glean a little bit about how one like me views the world.

No comments:

Post a Comment