Write Drunk; Edit Sober   –Hemingway

Thank you, Ernest.  Although I promise I am not drunk or even drink right now, as I’ve been on the proverbial wagon since last month.  Exactly one month ago today, in fact.  It’s never wise to consume beer that is darker than Mich Ultra in a fashion which rivals how you wished Tom Hanks would have eaten at his special reunion party once he got off that godforsaken island.

Now that we have that all cleared up, let’s move on to the topic de jour:  I had an 80 minute massage at Woodhouse earlier.  To say it was long overdue is an arrant understatement.  After dumping my things into a locker, I changed into the plush, commodious robe and those hard plastic slipper things which don’t do a thing for your feet after a long run.  To the hallway I went, making nice with the way too bubbly employee who insisted upon walking me the six steps around the corner to the Quiet Room. 

The Quiet Room is quite possibly my favorite room in Fort Wayne.  No, I’m not embellishing for effect.  That room makes me happy and instantly reposed while simultaneously reminding me what cozy feels like.

When I drift off to dream, that room is exactly the kind of place my mind wanders.  From the floor to ceiling stone fireplace, to the candles aligning the massive wood mantle, I sunk deep into the oversized leather couch and all its welcoming pillows – hot cinnamon tea in hand.  As I gazed into the fire, the thoughts which swirled in my head at warp speed were all over the place; yet, I was completely and utterly relaxed.  I’m like James Taylor.  I can only get to a point of total calmness if I’m in front of a fire or if it’s raining.  Someday I am going to go to Aspen or Zermatt and just reminisce for days in front of a gigantic stone fireplace wearing the coziest sweater and drinking spiked hot cocoa.

Half-asleep, I heard a deep voice mumble, “Beth?”  No way could this be the guy who’d be working on me for the next 80 minutes.  My hard plastic slippers went shuffling down the hallway behind a man who was clearly either Lou Ferrigno or his younger twin brother.  And by incredible hulk-ish I mean I was pretty sure the room we were about to enter contained one massage table, some birds chirping through speakers and certain death.

About-to-break-me-in-half asks if there are any special areas of interest, areas which are troublesome or causing me pain.  Reluctantly, I tell him I am a runner so my legs are always a wreck.  He nods, and assures me he understands as he is also a runner.  If I wasn’t so scared for my life I would have laughed in his face, the one attached directly to his bulging shoulders.  Instead I silently followed the directions I know by heart:  hang up the robe, kick off the torture shoes and crawl under the sheet face up.  He’ll be in to kill me in a second.

It started out fine.  Enjoyable, in fact.  I like when they don’t talk and I especially like the head rubbing.  Anthony (I think) commenced there and was on a roll when all of a sudden, I stopped breathing.

“Too much pressure?”

“Nope.  I’m good.”

“You seem pretty tough.”

Great.  I love when people tell me that, especially people who don’t know me.  While that may be true once in a while, it most certainly is not true all the time and it definitely wasn’t true as he went for the arm/elbow combination down my legs.  That IT band is tricky.

“I can work on your hips later if you’d like.”

Apparently my silence was taken as an affirmative.  I had noticed Anthony’s multiple tattoos only seconds after meeting him.  Roughly half-way through our session, he divulged that he was in the Navy.  Not only was this unrestricted line officer busting my back, he decided to point out our unfortunate similarity.

Don’t go there.  Please don’t go there – either literally or verbally, I thought.

“Yes, I foolishly got it about twelve years ago.  Honestly, I forget it’s there so I also keep forgetting I need to get it removed.”

Once someone asked me if it said, “Leon.”  Funniest friend I’ve ever had.  Have.  Had.  Anywho…I gotta get this thing removed. 

To the hips he went, and by hips I mean glutes.  It hurt so much there was only one thing for me to do as he was poking and prodding and bruising:  put myself back in front of that fireplace, in my own little Quiet Room.

My body’s aching and my time is at hand
And I won’t make it any other way
Oh, I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain
I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end
I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend
But I always thought that I’d see you again

I will not be seeing Anthony again.  Or hopefully anyone named Leon.

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