It’s been a stressful week. By Tuesday evening, I’d already clocked 30 hours of work… and if you count Sunday, which is theoretically a day off, the tally was closer to 36 hours.
By the time Thursday afternoon rolled around, I was spent. On a whim, I picked up the phone and called to see if my massage place had any cancellations that evening – they did. So an hour later I found myself stripping down for a massage.
Normally I get massages on the weekend, walking the five miles to the studio in yoga clothes. Thursday, however, my routine was totally thrown off since I was coming straight from work.
When my masseur – a big, burly guy named Errol who contagiously giggled like a girl – left the room so I could change, I panicked. My outfit was COMPLICATED to remove, and I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to strip down before he came back to knock.
For starters, I was wearing a collared button down shirt with half-pearl buttons, which are slippery and tough to work back through the holes. Knowing I was up against the clock only made me fumble more. Then came my socks. In and of themselves, they weren’t that tricky. But I’ve started wearing fluorescent orange compression sleeves over them (don’t ask) which are a feat to remove.
I felt like I was in a race. I tried to reassure myself, knowing he’d knock to make sure I was ready before re-entering the room. But I’ve always found that exchange to be a bit like a conversation with an adult from Peanuts: I hear the knock and a muffled question, and I’m not sure if I’m supposed to say, “OK” or nothing. Whatever I choose, they seem to come in regardless, so I decided the knocking wasn’t much of an insurance policy.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m actually not modest and wouldn’t actually care if someone walked in on me naked. But it’s awkward. Like when I was at the gynecologist a few weeks back and the nurse whipped in the room to see if I’d been given a gown – only to find me already bare-assed in the middle of the room, stepping out of my underwear.
“Oh geez!” she said, clearly startled. “I’m so sorry!”
See what I mean? She was going to see me naked only a few minutes later, so it wasn’t my nudity that bothered her – it was that I wasn’t where she expected me to be. It was as awkward as if she’d walked in and found me crouching on top of a filing cabinet. So that’s what was going through my head as I changed for my massage. Must. Get. Under. The. Sheet.
Fortunately, I made it. But in the process, I forgot to run my fingers between my toes. I always do that to make sure there’s no random sock lint, because I think if I were a masseuse, I’d puke if I had to rub someone’s feet and I encountered toe jam. Before I could remedy the situation, Errol reappeared. Crap. Whatever.
Errol was awesome, and I’m not just saying that because he complimented me on having well-developed lats. Which, now that I think of it, might actually NOT have been a compliment.
In any case, we’d established a chatty rapport, so when he got to my feet I said, “Hey, I’m sorry – I totally forgot to check for lint.”
He had only my right leg and foot exposed at that point, and he responded, “Please. Your feet are in great shape. You should see some of the dogs I have to walk. I just close my eyes and jump right in.”
“Careful,” I cautioned, “You haven’t seen the left one yet.” And because this is how my brain works, I continued, “How awesome would it be if it was all snarled and I was missing toenails? You’d feel horrible.”
Apparently, Errol didn’t share my sense of humor, because he was pretty quiet after that. Lesson learned: Never relax so much that you think strangers will appreciate your warped mind. It will just make them sit in silent judgment. Which – if you’re getting a massage – actually turns out to be OK.
Or maybe he’d seen this clip and thought he was on a hidden camera: