Not getting the massage
Posted by metaphorical on 22 January 2007
It started in the climbing gym a week ago. I pointed out a new hard route in a section of the gym that I usually enjoy. Mike couldn’t get it, then I told him how I thought it ought to go, and it worked. So then I had to try it. There’s a weird part where two walls meet at an angle. I wedged myself in to get the weight off my arms., pressing my back hard against one wall—so hard that I hurt it pretty badly. I finally just let go, but the damage was done.
That was a week ago Sunday. I got to the chiropractor on Tuesday with muscles so tight it was hard to walk. He loosened them, which is when the real pain started. It turns out those muscles were tense for a reason—to protect the one severely pulled muscle underneath. It was not going to be the best week to spend fourteen and a half hours on single plane. Even a comfortable plane.
I don’t know whether seat 26H was designed by the top sadist over at Boeing or just an idiot. Have you ever slept on a pull-out sofa bed where there’s a bar running across the middle of your spine? This was a sitting-up version of that. For fourteen and a half hours. Then came the 40 minute queue at Customs. Have you ever been at JFK and looked over at the lines for everyone with a foreign passport and thanked god you weren’t one of them? That’s the line I was on at the Shanghai airport. If JFK and PVG are in some kind of retaliatory arms race, then we need a new round of strategic abuse limitations talks. I only mention this because I had to pick up my bags and move them, and me, two feet up about 230 times during those 40 minutes. Then came the taxi line.
I was 24.5 hours into my day at this point, about 2.5 of them bad sleep, but it was when I got to the hotel that things really started to go wrong. This seems like a perfectly nice place, so I won’t ask how in hell it could get a top rating (5 stars), putting it in the same league as the Westin, the JinJiang, or Le Royal Meridien She Shan, which is right across the street and where I’m probably going to go eat dinner to get a taste of how the other half lives. Not that I’m really complaining, because those establishments are literally 3-4 times as expensive as here. (I’m here 10 nights; it would start add up quickly.)
When I made my reservation, it was for a deluxe room, because they didn’t have a standard one for 10 nights. Yet when I got here they didn’t have a deluxe room for all 10 nights. So they put me in one room that didn’t quite match the “deluxe” specs, and I would have to change the next day. Checking in took about 20 minutes of standing around at the front desk, including the part where the guy called the woman who took the reservation just so she could apologize to me. I think were calling her at home, and frankly, even without interupting her time off, nothing is lamer than a supervisor acting like the hotel isn’t at fault, only the lowly clerk is. If you’re not going to fire her, stand by her and take the blame like a man, asshole. All the while, I could only think, “I only care about broadband and a bed without a bar across the spine. I need to get horizontal as soon as possible.”
Anyway, when the bellhop and I got up to the (temporary) room, he laid down my bag, turned to me, and said, “Do you want a massage?” For a second, I thought he must have seen me walking funny. Then I thought, maybe, he’s a mind reader. Then I realized he was probably talking about a hooker, and all I could think was, too bad. I took he number, anyway, just in case he meant it literally. Maybe I’ll call tonight.
Another Shanghai-massage post is here.