Occasionally, one becomes so psychotic with stress that one’s family demands action be taken. That is why last week I found myself entering a dimly lit room with candles burning, tranquil music playing, and massage table waiting.
My mom, God bless her, is forever trying to get me to relax using strange and suspicious techniques. She buys me vitamins and gift certificates for massages, facials, and pedicures. I know. I know. She’s up to something.
Anyway, after being shown into this little cocoon of warm earth tones and Chinese letter art, my matronly massage therapist instructed me to “undress to my comfort level.” She then left, shutting the door behind her.
I have no comfort level with nudity. I’d prefer to take my showers fully clothed.
But I gave it the old college try. I removed one or two articles of clothing and quickly slid under the fluffy blanket on the massage table. After awhile, my therapist came back.
Even from my face down position, I could tell something was wrong. Her Danskos appeared in the blurry oval of my vision and she clucked. “You don’t want your back done, then?”
Me, out loud: “Yes, I want my back done.” Me, not out loud: My back is the only part of me I want you to touch!
She gently informed me that I’d failed at basic undressing and suggested ways to rectify the situation. Since she was nice and very non-threatening, I complied.
To my surprise, even as a near nudie patootie, I was able to relax and enjoy my massage. We talked about Crocs, her vacation plans, and my poor posture.
Everything was fine until she finished and told me to stay put for my facial.
She left and I was once again alone in a room, listening to Sounds of Nature for the Small of Bladder.
Oh, a gentle spring rain.
Oh, a trickling brook.
Oh, a thundering waterfall.
Oh, a tidal wave.
It became harder and harder to relax.
But what could I do? Any moment the aesthetician would walk through the door. I was stuck. Naked and uncomfortable. Every moment she didn’t come became a wasted opportunity to bolt out of my cocoon, toss on my clothes, and make a run for the restroom.
Don’t they usually provide robes?
Not a robe in sight.
Ok, now I’ll go.
No, wait. What if she comes?
No, no. I can’t risk it.
Finally I could wait no longer. I decided a Shock and Awe approach was my best bet. I tossed away the blanket and tumbled off the table, completely forgetting my well-oiled feet. The following spectacle involved one or two squeals, a crash, some mild bruising, and way too much exposed skin.
Too traumatized to slow down, and convinced that any moment alarmed staff would arrive on scene, I pulled on my jeans and top, skipping certain items supportive in nature. I tiptoed out to the lobby and asked for the restroom in a hushed and appropriate, only slightly desperate tone.
The attendant, who looked like a bouncer, informed me the restrooms were outside the salon in the lobby of the building. As I jiggled my way to the door, I heard him mutter, “We’re not offering that one any water.”
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