Tuesday, August 29, 2006

I pulled a muscle near my left shoulder blade -- nothing too serious, just some minor discomfort that I thought would go away, but instead the aches seemed to migrate over to the right side of my neck and back with a vengeance. I’d love to say this occurred as a result of turbulent parachute deployment during my BASE jump off the Bonaventure building, but actually, I just slept on it wrong. Down pillows can be dangerous.

This happens to me once in a while, like every 5 or 6 years. It’s not a spine thing so a chiropractor can’t do crap. Nor can heating pads or ice packs or icy hot pad packs or whatever. I just have to wait for the muscles to heal. But 'til then, I'm not exactly happy and peppy and bursting with love. You can’t do anything to take your mind off the pain -- laying down or sitting makes your back stiffen up, walking around reminds you of it every step, as well as any movement of your arms, like when you grab the phone to make an appointment to get a massage.

I was always skeptical about massages. They were a great prelude to fooling around with a girl in college (“Oh you’re so tense, let me rub your shoulders…”) but I never felt like they did any good for my upper body. In fact, I usually ended up feeling worse -- maybe because I was anxious to skip the formalities and cut to the happy ending already.

But since I’ve had these gift certificates to Burke Williams forever but never used ‘em, I decided to finally cash in on my free massage. The place is just down the street from me, too. But I wound up late for my appointment and had to apologize to the guy at the desk -- I didn’t realize they had relocated up the block. “Yes,” he said. “We moved three years ago.” Good thing those certificates never expired.

Since I would have to wait for the next appointment, I was encouraged to take advantage of the facilities. I got a brief tour and decided to try everything out. Now, I know some people love health spas. But I'm not comfortable being pampered. Especially around strangers. While the heat from the jacuzzi and steam room loosened up my sore trapezius and latissimus dorsi, I was less relaxed seeing other guys' nekkid glutemus maxi-must you walk around with that gnarly ass in plain view?

I gotta say, the Quiet Room was fantastic. It's a place to sit in a comfortable chair and just read or chill out in total silence. That's right -- silence. You can actually hear yourself think. Or is that the reason these things are so rare -- who wants to think? When they can can have insipid conversations on their cellphones, or obliterate their brains with that "Promiscuous Girl" song blasting outta their iPods?

The music was the only thing I didn't like about the massage. Hearing New Age waterfalls and forest ambience -- sounds-to-relax-you -- just make me agimitated. Otherwise, the massage, I have to admit, was awesome. This tiny woman masseuse managed to knead my knotted kneck into a loose knoodle.

When I was done, my shoulder and back were definitely more flexible and hurt less, but the problem was still there -- the pain from the sprain came mainly to make me insane in the membrane. But I can feel it getting better each day, so I just have to grin and bear 'til I'm off the DL.

In the meantime, Adelphia and I went out for drinks -- my girlfriend and alcohol would definitely take my mind off the discomfort, since ibuprofen and lotsa water doesn't seem to do diddly. She wondered: do I need something stronger?

Hey, I've still got coupons for Burke Williams -- I'm no longer against getting another massage, but as I told Adelphia, "Pain killers are for pussies."

"Not a bad slogan," she said. "You oughta have a t-shirt like that."

So I sketched the idea on a napkin. She said she liked it, but I think she was just massaging my ego.


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