Sunday, October 26, 2008

"I'm Re-cy-calin' Mem-oh-rees..."

I'm not a huge fan of country music, but the old song "Recycling Memories" by Moe Bandy is a clever mixture of eco-responsibility and good old goofy country music song titling. Why do I bring this up, you ask? Let me enlighten you...

One of the interesting things about blogging is that each time you find a blog you like, following that blog's links often takes you to other blogs you find you enjoy. This is one of the things that makes blogging such a dreadful time sink. One day I jumped from lacochran's bloggery to a blog called The Typing Makes Me Sound Busy, written by J-Money, described by lacochran as "...the funniest chick on the Internet. Period." My first visit to J-Money's blog yielded her hilarious description of a massage she recently received in a post titled The Bad Touch.

Which brings me to the "recycling memories" thing.

Back in 2004 Agnes and I took our first cruise vacation, sailing to Alaska on the good ship Coral Princess. I kept a journal during the cruise, which I later typed up into a 24-page magnum opus for my family history project. Reading J-Money's tale of her massage reminded me of my experience with the delightful Kelly on board the Coral Princess that August day five years ago. And so, inspired by J-Money and lifted from my memoirs of the Great Alaska Cruise of 2004, here is the story of Bilbo's Seaweed Massage...

"One of the features of the Coral Princess was the Lotus Spa, a large section of Deck 14 (Lido) aft fitted out as a full-service pamper-and-fuss-over-you-at-great-expense day spa offering a full range of various body treatments ranging from the cheap and simple (look at you naked and laugh hysterically) to the expensive (involving all sorts of exotic facials and massages using hot stones, seaweed, and other odd things). We had decided we’d treat ourselves to a massage, but when we booked the appointments, Agnes learned that (a) it was cheaper to have things done when the ship was in port (because most people left the ship, and it was thus harder for the spa staff to keep busy) and (b) an ordinary massage just wouldn’t do during a cruise. And so it was that we each ended up with an appointment for a seaweed massage and (for Agnes) a mini facial.

"I’ve had massages before, but never a seaweed massage, and so wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I appeared at the spa for my appointment. Agnes was already there, having started about an hour earlier, so I didn’t have any good intelligence. I was duly and cheerfully greeted by the perky young lady at the desk, who gave me a locker key, directed me to the men’s locker room, and told me to pick a locker, which contained a robe and slippers. All my clothes were to come off and be stored in the locker and, after donning the robe and slippers, I was to march across the hallway to the Relaxation Room, where my appointed massage therapist would pick me up in due course.

"The Relaxation Room turned out to be a large room tiled in greens and browns in a vaguely Roman design, and dotted with large stone tables like chaise lounges, each with a wavy top on which one lay down. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the surfaces were warmed, and nearly fell asleep lying there…kept awake only by the need to ensure that my robe stayed closed, the only other person in the room being a woman. Within a few minutes, I heard my name being called by a young lady who introduced herself (in a delightful British accent) as Kelly and handed me a clipboard with the necessary paperwork to fill out. I thought it rather detracted from the atmosphere to have to fill out forms, but that’s life, and so I answered all the questions about my health, bad habits, and assorted physical ailments, then lay back and waited for Kelly to return.

"Kelly soon came back and took me to one of the treatment rooms, which looked for all the world like any doctor’s office you’ve ever seen, and we spent a few minutes reviewing my bad neck, my tennis elbow, my hernias, etc, and she expounded on the marvelous benefits of a seaweed massage in drawing out all the evil toxins coursing through my aging body, and how smart I was to have chosen this wonderful treatment. She also asked, oddly, whether I was claustrophobic. She then said she’d step out for a moment so that I could remove my robe and slippers, put on a pair of silly little paper panties, and then lie face down on the table.

"This I did, noticing that the table was covered with a sheet of what appeared to be quilted aluminum foil. Kelly soon returned and began running water and fussing with bottles and jars. After a few minutes, she began slathering something all over my exposed back and legs. I don’t know what I was expecting, but this wasn’t quite it. When I thought of a “seaweed massage,” I somehow thought of being covered in a layer of kelp or some such thing. The reality was that Kelly was liberally smearing me from head to foot with a viscous, gritty paste that felt rather like mayonnaise mixed with crushed walnut shells.

"She finished with my back and ordered me to turn over, whereupon she continued smearing her evil potion all over my front side (with the exception, of course, of that manly segment modestly covered by the silly little paper panties). When I was thoroughly covered in goo, Kelly proceeded to tuck my arms tightly against my sides, wrap the quilted foil sheet tightly around my body, and cover the whole with towels (hence the question about claustrophobia, I guess). She then told me to lie still (as if I had a choice at this point) and relax, and that she’d be back in a few minutes for the next step of the process. I lay there as ordered, sweating like the proverbial pig in my foil cocoon as the mighty forces of ground seaweed dragged the evil toxins kicking and screaming out of my body.

"Kelly returned in due course, unwrapped me, and then invited me to take a shower to clean off the seaweed goop and don a fresh pair of silly little paper panties.

"This was the first time I’d actually seen the stuff she’d slathered on me, and an evil-looking mess it was – thick and green and full of dark, gritty granules of something or other. If Lava made a pump-action hand soap, it would probably look a lot like this. It took a good while to get all the stuff washed off, while Kelly bustled around, arranging for Round Two outside the modestly-frosted shower door before again discretely withdrawing. I finally managed to get everything washed off, then emerged, put on my fresh silly little paper panties, and hopped back up on the table, now covered with a fresh layer of aluminum foil.

"Kelly returned, and we repeated the process of smearing me with seaweed goop and wrapping me up in my aluminum foil and towel cocoon. I had thought I was probably out of sweat, but from fresh reserves somewhere deep inside I managed once again to drive the remaining foul beasties from my innards on a tide of new perspiration. Kelly came back again, unwrapped me, and shoved me back into the shower to once again de-glop myself while she prepared for Round Three. I didn’t get a new pair of silly little paper panties this time, so I had to do my best to wash out the goop to reuse the old ones.

"Freshly showered and free of seaweed, I hopped back up on the table (now covered in sheets and towels) for the massage. Young Kelly did a marvelous job, working her way from each individual toe all the way up to my scalp, front and back. I hadn’t noticed that she had ten fingers on each hand, or that they were made of titanium, or that beneath her modest spa uniform she obviously had the musculature of a female Arnold Schwartzenegger. By the time she finished I never wanted to get up again. Fortunately for her, I was in no condition to resist when she gave me the bum’s rush out the door to recover my clothes.

"I met up with Agnes in the spa lounge, where there were pitchers of ice water with slices of orange or lemon to help rebuild the water levels depleted by the massage experience. We took a few minutes to drink water and compare notes, and then trudged back to our cabin to sit down and relax for a while ..."

And there you have it. Will I ever do it again? Massage, definitely. The seaweed thing, probably not. I just hope Ruth ("...a large, broad-backed woman, the kind that if placed on all fours would make an excellent coffee table..."), J-Money's Gestapo-trained massage therapist, hasn't gone to work for Princess Cruises...

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.



The Mistress of the Dark said...

I could use the massage thing right about now.

Mike said...

Well I went to 2T2MSB like you suggested. Just what I need. Another blog to read.

I checked her profile. Her age is an http error code!

fiona said...

"Paper panties" had me giggling out loud.
Dunno why?
Am I going pervie?
Great post xxxxxxxxxx

lacegem said...

Your blog reminded me of an episode from Seinfeld. Do you remember the one where Jerry recommended his massage therapist to George & Elaine? George gets his massage only to learn that he gets a male therapist. The funny part that I was leading to was when he was getting his massage his "thing' moved. Did this happen to you by the way?

John A Hill said...

Chris loves massages. I've had one. It was ok...nothing at all like your experience.

Bilbo in paper panties...that's a mental image that I don't want in my head! (and Lacegem wants to know about things moving??!!)

Bilbo said...

Andrea - go for it!

Mike - what woman willingly gives out her age?

Fiona - ;-)

Lacegem - I'm getting old. I don't have many moving parts any more.

John - yeah...terrifying image, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

I'm laughing at the mental image of you covered in that stuff. Ha!

I've only gotten two massages. Both by small framed women whom I couldn't tell when they started or finished. One even had the nerve to tell me, "make sure you let me know if I'm being too rough ok?" I thought, "Oh, you mean you already started?"

OH well, maybe it's all those turtles from all the puter typing.

I need to find me a Ruth.

Bilbo said...

Twinkie - I had a massage once given by a tiny Vietnamese woman who had hands of steel...she was quite something! As for the mental image, trust me...the real image was MUCH worse...