My next dealfind deal was for a Chinese massage, half an hour of heated massage, and half an hour of Chinese massage.
“Are there any landmarks near you?” I asked on the phone, because I am terrible about driving to new places, probably because of my dyslexia.
“Landmarks? What ?” The woman said in a thick Chinese accent.
“Other businesses I should look out for?”
“We are 2 blocks south Costco.”
This would not help me, because I can’t tell north, south, east, west, and my friend Kim confirms that she has no idea what a “southwest corner” is either, so it’s not like I’m stupid.
Echo massage was on Aurora, the strip. Aurora is where you go to pick up underage hookers and take them to a super cheap motel. It’s the only place you can buy guns in Seattle, as far as I know. I used to buy my krispy kreme donuts there, until they stopped giving out free fresh hot donuts. Probably only a committed skinny could turn that down. Then once you’re in the door, you just have to buy 2 boston cremes, 2 chocolate glazed (the best for dipping), 2 white cream filled, and 2 raspberry filled. Aurora is full of cheap delights-a blowjob, or a cream filled donut?
I practically drove past the place, it was so unexpected. It was in a one story run down shack,with 2 hideous paper lanterns hanging on each side of the door. The coup de grace was the blinking “open” sign.
“OK,” I told myself after taking a long breath in, “so you would normally not patronize this place, it’s worse than a cheap psychic’s. But a massage is a massage.”
I went inside, to find an office that could have been located in a trailer at a building site.
“Come back with me” the Chinese woman said. There was a very beautiful young woman smiling widely when I came in, and I thought she would be my masseuse. I noted the many licences on the wall.
The older woman led me back to a lavender room with a massage table and what I can only call a contraption.
“You have heated massage first, lie down here.” I lay down on the contraption probably purchased at the aforementioned Costco, and I felt big steel bumps and was immediately very uncomfortable. “This machine will hit all of your acupuncture points and increase circulation” she said. I was so frightened that I couldn’t hear the rest. I was being manhandled by a robot! She left the room after putting heated weights on my stomach. When she said, “Here are some weights” I heard “You need to lose weight.” I wouldn’t put it past her. The heated weights would soon feel like burning embers.
I lay down on the flimsy cot and a steel band slowly rolled slowly up my back. When it got to mid-center I felt like throwing up. This is what they called in medieval times “the rack.” It was torture, but this was just the beginning of the nightmare. Ol ‘Tiger Mom started screaming at the young girl in Chinese. The steel band kept crunching my vertebrae, as my ears were assaulted by incessant fighting, oddly interspersed with pealing laughter. Culture shock! Torture shock!
Years ago my therapist tried to teach me to be assertive so people and contraptions wouldn’t walk all over me. But this Chinese woman was so scary! In a world in which only therapists live, I would have to get up and say, “I feel sore from this contraption which is hurting me, and I would appreciate it if you just gave me a one hour massage. And I don’t feel relaxed when you are arguing like that.” But honestly, who says that? If I had tried, I would only become aggressive. “Get in here and turn this fucking torture apparatus off, and stop yelling at that girl!”
After half an hour of pure ache, tiger woman came back in. “You like? Feel good?”
“No. It hurt.”
“It hurt, but is good for you. You will be sore for two days, then have lightness and energy!” Oh please.
“You like massage soft or hard?” Was this what she asked her male clients?
The massage proceeded normally until…she moved the blanket down off my ass. Now, I’ve had a lot of massages, but no one has ever exposed my ass and massaged it, which is exactly what she did. Again, alarming, not relaxing.
In the end, my passive-agressive self delivered the tip by dangling her two bucks from my index and middle finger while keeping all my cash in the rest of my hand.
The next few days, I wrote for hours and all my joint pain was gone. I briefly considered going back.