Monday, May 17, 2010
It's 6:23pm. I am gingerly sipping a coffee in Starbucks not 50 feet from Massage Therapy Works in Davis Square where I spent the last 45 minutes having every god-fearing knot, kink and crick stricken from my back and shoulder area. That's not to say I'm not still absurdly sore from playing Swedish most of Sunday afternoon, but my-oh-my do I feel sprightly.
I've never had a massage, and until recently, had resoundingly scoffed at the notion. It's not that I didn't think it had merit, it's I didn't think my life merited its benefits. I'm pretty tightly wound (despite my best efforts), but stressed? Pshaw. Well, if I was calm before, now I am sloth-tortoise-Ghandi-Darth Vader-Gumby calm. But to answer the burning question you are all wondering, I'm not sure how this will effect my blog. Will I be able to channel the same snark? Has my sarcasm-carriage pumpkined out? Let's find out.
I chose Massage Therapy Works because of their peerless Yelp reviews and their proximity to Arlington. When it comes to doing things in the Boston area, these are my primary criteria. Actually, those and price. Actually, mostly price. Well, MTW fit this bill perfectly. Their website conveniently allows you to schedule appointments online, and they have a wide range of therapists and specials at all times. Apart from being a bit over-matched with the selections (Is it weird to have a girl? Is it WEIRDER to have a guy?? How long are massages?? Do I need a safe-word?), I was sincerely excited at the prospect of being relieved of my snarled shoulders.
My masseuse (Natalia) was a deceptive little pixie. Not deceptive in a bad way. Deceptive in a "How is this tiny girl going t-OWOWOWOWOWWW" way. She had full eyes like an intrigued kitten and nice toes. That's what I was able to gander from meeting her at the front desk and viewing the rest of the process through the massage table face-hole. She politely had me sign a waiver and led me to dim room with some Chinese proverbs on the wall and what sounded like underwater Mandolin trickling out of a CD player. She said to get undressed as much as I would like, lay on my stomach under the covers and she would be back momentarily. Yes, I got naked. Yes, I felt sheepish whenever she approached my lower back/bum area, but what can I say, Dangor is my middle name. To answer the rest of your questions before I go on:
1. I don't think so, but I didn't ask. I think it's illegal.
2. No, it was professional and I am not 13. Not even a little bit.
3. She asked me before we went in, but I didn't have to go.
It was about this time that Natalia showed her true colors. What opened with some gentle kneading that a well-trained housecat could probably muster quickly turned into a dizzying display of torque and leverage. She smushed and pushed muscles that had never before been subject to such sadism and they responded appropriately. She played my spinal cord like an upright bass. She told me to relax, and I earnestly tried to relax. I looked at her toes, I listened to the music. But I kept forgetting to breathe. Perhaps it's just me, but holding my breath is my response to moderate to severe pain. Not a great twist on fight or flight, I agree. It was unconscious, but obvious. It took nearly 15 minutes for me to come to terms with a stranger treating me like a misbehaved Kobe cow, but after she turned me over and went to work on my neck, I was the proverbial putty in her hands. I tried to figure out exactly what she was doing and with what but it was useless. Here is my best approximation. A blowtorch traced the length of my neck while three (or four) gerbils gnawed at the base of my skull. A liberally-lotioned boa constrictor contorted around my neck and extended it to a dangerous degree. Where she found such amenable wildlife I do not know, but when I came to she told me to take as much time as I needed to get dressed. I put the $59 on my debit card and gave her a tip. She asked if I wanted to schedule another appointment, which I awkwardly dodged and scampered across Elm Street to get my bearing and to make sure there weren't any muscles flapping/rattling around back there. Everything seems to be accounted for, but I may be bleeding internally, in which case I will amend this post. If I do survive the next 48 hours, it has my highest recommendation.