Tuesday, April 1, 2008

A Back Rub from Christopher Walken

My neck muscles locked up on me again. Frick.

I don't know whether to blame it on Rock Band, or an overzealous upper body workout, or the big book order I worked on submitting right before we went on spring break. Whatever the cause, I've been in near-agony since Friday morning when I woke up unable (yet again) to turn my head or look down.

I've tried taking the muscle relaxers prescribed by my doctor during my last lock-down 3 weeks ago, but they make me groggy and grouchy. I've tried high doses of ibuprofen, again recommended by the doc, but it's done little. I'm not in the mood to go back and be ordered to weeks of physical therapy or scary chiropractic adjustments or expensive x-rays, so today I decided to try something different. I visited a massage therapist.

I didn't want to go to a frou-frou spa. I wanted a therapeutic , medical massage by someone who would dig in and loosen the knots. So there's this little massage place in my mom's neck (ha) of the woods, a little office in the building that used to house a pharmacist my mom and I visited on a monthly basis during my sickly childhood, with a simple sign out front advertising therapeutic massage. I had a feeling it was the kind of small, friendly operation that would fit me in the same day I called. And I was right.

So I scheduled an appointment this morning for lunch time. I took down the name of the male therapist who answered my call, and since I didn't know him or his establishment, I did my own quick Google background check. I saw that this guy was registered with a major massage union, and his establishment showed up on a couple of granola-crunchy alternative medicine and spiritualist websites (one list that had his name on it also had the name of a former doctor of mine who I loved.) I thought I was going to meet a hippie.

But then Chris Walken answered the door.

Well, at least a Walken look alike. The door of his little office was ajar when I crept nervously up the shag-carpeted staircase; he was watching a little TV in the corner, waiting for me. I had a flashback of the old "The Continental" sketches from Saturday Night Live. I kinda thought I was going to get offered some "champaaaaaa-gne".

I got a little nervous. I felt for certain I had made a grave mistake. I could see the headline in the paper:

Local librarian, 34, latest victim of the Walken Massage Killer.
Family says she just wanted a back rub.

Up close the resemblance wasn't nearly as striking; it was really just the hair and the physique that freaked me out. He was super-nice, charged me a very reasonable rate, and most importantly, he effectively put pressure on and stretched the muscles and loosened up the knots. He even sent me home with some mineral salts and an accupressure ball free-of-charge. I'll probably go to him again when I wake up and can't turn my head.

I've just got to make sure I hold back the impulse to ask him where he's been hiding his watch.

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