I awoke with a pounding headache, a kid’s foot in my face, and a crooked neck. Yet, in a few hours, none of that would matter because I had booked myself in for a massage.
I felt a subtle sense of calm just knowing the sounds of distant crickets and soft breezes would soon envelope me into a Zen-like state. I imagined myself, in a post-massage euphoria, floating out the door, sporting a vibrant, peaceful glow…
So, up went the ponytails and in went the lunches. I then bid my kids adios and peeled out of the school parking lot.
Moments later I was lying, clothes-free, under a clean white sheet; my face awkwardly crammed into the donut-like hole of the massage table. There weren’t any audible crickets or breezes but the background music, a combo of didgeridoo and ocean waves, certainly sufficed.
The massage therapist entered the room, sat down on her stool, and began kneading the knots out of my neck. Her hands were strong and skilled. She checked-in to make sure the pressure was okay. I told her it was.
And then, she stood up, slid the stool under the table directly below my protruding face. I gulped down a gag as a harsh aroma emanated from the stool and crept into my nostrils. Survival-mode kicked in and I held my breath; eyes moving from side-to-side for no apparent reason. Should I say something to her? Like, “I was hoping for eucalyptus or lavender, not Eau de Ass Crack.” I mean, how would I even broach the topic? Would I say, “Excuse me, but your stool smells like… stool”? Or maybe, “I’m dyin’ under here! HELP!”
(I’m sure a simple, “Would you please move the stool?” would have done the trick. But, somehow, I didn’t think of it at the time.)
So, what did I do about the situation? Nothing. That’s what I did.
Instead of facing the problem, I opted to shallow breathe for the remainder of the treatment while mentally downplaying this attack on my air supply.
Needless to say, I was grateful-as-fuck when the face-in-the hole position finally brought congestion into my sinuses leaving me blissfully incapable of breathing from my nose.
Time. Stood. Still.
And when it was over, I launched myself off the massage table and got dressed. I definitely wasn’t floating nor was I sporting a vibrant, peaceful glow. My neck did feel better, though.
I paid the bill, and replied (with a robotic smile) that, “Yes, it had been a great massage!”
I even left a tip because apparently I felt it was mean not to. Yes, I had to endure face to face space with the scent of a bum but I’m sure it was unintentional.
And then, before I could muster up a, “No thank-you!” I’d booked myself in for another appointment with the same person, for the following month. Because, hey, why not?
I got in my car and drove home, with full intentions of cancelling the massage and possibly sending the masseuse an anonymous note to tell her about her butt.
Yet, somehow I felt badly for her.
So, I decided not to cancel or write a note. In fact, the appointment is coming up tomorrow. I figure I’ll be better prepared this time. If she slides the stool under the table, I’ll just ask her to move it. Right away! I’ll tell her I’m claustrophobic or something like that. Because, I certainly can’t be the one to tell her that she has a smelly bum. But if I don’t, who will?