Western toad painting by Carl Dennis Buell

Birding and other pleasures and aggravations, in Berkeley and beyond, by Ron Sullivan.

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April 27, 2007

La Masseuse Dangereuse

I was trying to roll the kinks out of my neck after doing some weeding today, and thought about that old joke about being held together only by tension. Might be true. I had a hint about it during the late unpleasantness.

After it was over at Jackson Memorial, Joe and Julie and I drove back from Miami to Orlando, about three hours mostly on the Florida Turnpike. We were received once again by Pat and Debra and their kids with open arms, sleeping space, shoulders to cry on, and lots of good food and drink.

Have I mentioned that this was one of those occasions that remind me that a family can mean a friendly conspiracy?

Late that night, the lot of us were sitting around the back deck—this is Florida, remember; outside is pretty damned cozy—and talking and crying and laughing and remembering and venting. I’d had a beer with dinner, and another or two, and Pat had thoughtfully stocked a bottle of Jack Daniels so I had a shot or two of that too. I was still coherent, mind you, and able to walk around OK in a crowded space. At my age, I do know something about pacing.

My niece Angela was there. She’s completing a course in massage school. (Must be a serious one: She knows at least as much about human anatomy as I do from nursing practice, just e.g.) She decided we all needed at least neck/back rubs, and as I recall she started with me.

I’d walked over to sit on a footstool, sat up and stretched—I tend to hunch over defensively in stressful situations such as the entire previous week—and she set to work on my trapezius muscles, up around my neck. My, that felt good. Then she started working down the muscles along my spine.

When she hit some place on the left just below my shoulder blades, I collapsed. Fell forward as if I’d been poleaxed. Every damned muscle in my body just stretched out and let go. Blam, head between my knees, helpless. I remember her saying, “Omigod, I broke her!”

I think I managed to mumble, “No, you just hit the Off switch.” Joe and Pat —and I think someone else—got hold of me before I fell all the way over, and dragged me off to bed. I was totally helpless. I could barely get my feet over the doorsill. Fortunately, we were sleeping that night on a mattress on the floor; if I’d had to get a leg up and climb into a “real” bed I’m not sure what would’ve happened.

I woke up the next morning feeling unreasonably good, physically at least.


1 | By: Pica on April 27, 2007 at 02:40 PM

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What a great story, and what a gift—both to her and to you.

2 | By: kathy a on April 28, 2007 at 01:22 AM

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it is a wonderful story! 

i’ve only gotten one or 2 professional massages ever—due to a traumatic experience with an informal massage class, i’m pretty wary.  but i have stress monkeys, and desperately miss college and one early job, where people traded shoulder massages.  if someone could find my “off switch,” i’d be grateful forever.

3 | By: ELLEN on May 2, 2007 at 05:00 AM

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4 | By: Jym on May 8, 2007 at 08:06 PM

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=v= Your family is related to Mr. Spock?

5 | By: Ang on June 6, 2007 at 03:12 PM

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Haha, thanks for the compliment Ron. I remember being so proud… Not that I “broke you”, but that you were finally completely relaxed.
You did so much for all of us while you were down here, and completely on Co-pilot.
My only regret is not having the time to get out the table and really work on you…
Perhaps next time.

6 | By: Travestiler on March 6, 2017 at 12:37 PM

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