Crazy Country Massage

In spite of my arm troubles, I have to type up a little synopsis of my experience getting a massage tonight. It’s not what you think, if your mind went into the gutter right away – but it is really bizarre, in a fun sort of way. Fun, if you are accustomed to this particular sort of Southern old lady I’m about to describe. For those of you not from the South, this woman might not be familiar to you, and furthermore, she might horrify you. I apologize if that is the case. My Southern readers will recognize this type of character right away. But I should warn you there is lots of hunting talk, and the talk gets weird – it’s something I’m totally used to even though I’d never shoot an animal unless it was about to kill me, which would only happen anyway if a bear crashed through the back windows of my house because I sure ain’t venturing out into nature to encounter any. Moving on.

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Now, when one thinks massage, one probably does not think of a strip center like this – at least, not massage of the therapeutic sort. But as it turns out, my dog groomer was housed in this little countrified shopping area right up the street from my house for years, so I was familiar with the woman’s massage office when Google pulled her up as being in my area – I just never thought of trying her out before. Had I not been frequenting this little place for years, I’m sure I would have taken one look at the place and kept driving, but I was already immune to its run-down “charm,” and didn’t really think twice about heading on in. This little center is actually one of the oldest in the area, sitting right across the street from a well-known neighborhood barber shop in a historic old home; everything has grown up around it like crazy, but it has always looked basically the same.

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The “payment slot” is always a nice touch.

Just based on the door alone, I was not at all surprised when “Sandy” explained to me later that she knew NOTHING about technology. You don’t say? I can’t even remember the last time I saw those peel-and-stick letters put to such good use on an office door. Good times.

Speaking of Sandy, she was approximately 68 years old, tiny, and aside from the entirely white ensemble of long-sleeved turtleneck, stretch pants, and orthopedic shoes, she was a dead ringer for Flo, the sassy diner waitress from the 80’s sitcom Alice.

OK, so she also had a little less hair.

The massage itself was pretty good, and she worked a lot of the kinks out of my bum arm. But the conversation was the real stand-out here – and yes, I do mean conversation. Usually I fall to sleep during a massage, but although Sandy had the requisite tinkly, wind-chime-y music playing in the background, I could barely hear it over all her talking. Sandy is one of those people who manages to tell you loads of personal details about herself during the course of a conversation (she’s been married twice, her first husband died of cancer, she’s been in business over 30 years, she knows how to shoot both rifles and handguns and has a concealed carry license, etc. etc.) but at the end of it knows nothing more about you than your name. Well in this case, she knew my name and how much my right arm hurt, but why it was hurting (spending too much time on the computer) we never got around to discussing.

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Oh, and she also owns rental properties. LOTS of rental properties. Owning rental properties is a LOT of WORK, y’all. Sandy can tell you all about it.

So here I am, lying on a table getting my knots ironed out, tinkly music playing in the background, and for a good twenty minutes Sandy is describing to me, in detail, not only how many times she’s killed a deer, but exactly HOW she kills them – where she shoots them, how far away she is from them when she shoots them, etc. That set up a nice segue into what she described as a “typical old person afternoon” – shooting squirrels off the back porch with a BB gun, then heading to McDonald’s for some ice cream. Yep. That was how my massage therapist described the ideal life of a Typical Old Person. Then there was this:

Sandy: “This morning I told my grandkids how I’d shot three squirrels in the backyard, and they said they wanted to eat ’em fried, just like they do on Duck Dynasty. So guess what I did?”

Me: “Um, you fried them…?”

Sandy: “Not yet, but I skinned ’em! Then I put ’em in the deep freeze, so the next time my grandkids come over they can have fried squirrel.”

Me: “So, where do you live again?” (Answer: in my neighborhood)

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Abandon hope, all squirrels who enter here

When I told my husband where I was going for a massage, he immediately joked that the place probably got mistaken a lot for a massage PARLOR by the all the old country boys in the area, which surprised me because the thought had never entered my mind. But as it turns out, Sandy has lots of stories about men calling for appointments asking for ‘special services,’ as she called them. She even told me that when she first moved her business into our area she was denied a license because the assumption was that she was opening a house of ill-repute. For her first few years, she was only allowed to have female clients, and she was not allowed to operate after 5 PM (the assumption being, I guess, that most people looking for happy endings would do so after-hours. As if). And keep in mind, this was back in the NINETIES. Ah, the South. So much fried squirrel. So little massage.

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I love it that you can get your feet massaged for $20. And I’m assuming this sign doesn’t actually mean you can get five and a half hours of massage in one session. Because – no. I refuse to reflect on that further. 

But after all the crazy-talk, my arm did feel better (although typing this post up has caused it to flare up again – damn), and my wallet was only $50 lighter, so I went ahead and made an appointment to go back next week. The more I reflect on the experience, the more I think she might really be crazy, and I’m now a little suspicious about the fact that the client leaving the massage room right before me was a dude (she’s not REALLY doling out happy endings, is she?). Plus, her phone was ringing constantly the whole time (the rental properties, don’t ya know). But as far as the massage went, she was appropriate and respectful and she did seem to know what she was doing, so for now I’m going to surmise she’s just a bit nuts. If nothing else, she’s certainly an experience. We’ll see how long I can tolerate it.