LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
I’m lying here on the massage table, and this very nice lady is talking to me gently about my pores. The light is dim, the trickling stream music is on, and the air is fragrant with lavender and tea tree.
So I’m lying here trying to listen to this woman talk to me, except my stomach is growling. She’s right in front of my face and I know she hears it, so the question is: Do I laugh and acknowledge it or let it go under the assumption that stomach growling is too crude a subject to be discussed at the spa?
No time to answer that question though because: Swallow.
Well that was loud. What the hell is wrong with me? Since when did my swallowing get so loud? And why exactly do I have to swallow anyway? Because I’m sure not eating and I’m sure not drinking the glass of wine I should have had at lunch but didn’t because I wanted to fully enjoy this experience.
She’s stopped talking and is rubbing some oil on my face. It smells delicious. OK, sink into the trickling music.
But: Just how many oils is she going to rub on and then wipe off? Are my pores happy about this new oil? Does it actually do anything or am I basically pouring 100 bucks down the drain, the same drain all this oil is going to go down as soon I get out of here and wash my face?
“Hey Kaprowy,” my pores say. Somehow they have a New Jersey accent. “We’re used to Irish Spring, Oil of Olay and maybe a slap of mosquito repellent if we’re in the woods. What do you think you’re doing here? Since when did you get so fancy?”
I’m about to answer, but now she’s putting something in front of me—I have no idea what since I have slices of cucumber on my eyes. OK. Warm steam is coming out of it and bathing my face. Breathe in through my nose and whoops. Am I going to cough or sneeze? It could go either way. Suppress it or she’ll know for sure I am definitely not relaxed and I’ll make her feel badly that maybe she isn’t doing her job well. Or she’ll come to the conclusion that I am the worst facial customer ever, which is painfully accurate but I’m still hopeful I can turn this around.
OK, wait. She’s leaving - I can hear the door close so gently and quietly it almost makes my feet tickle. Open my eyes: cucumber seeds. Peel back a slice. Where’s the clock? A quick scan: There isn’t one.
“Well whatja think, cowgirl?”
Apparently my eyelashes are from Galveston.
But I badly, badly want to know the time. Because how long have I been in here? With all this repetitive music, I feel like I’ve sunken into a time warp. Have 30 minutes passed? 42? Just 20?
OK. Relax. Just bloody relax. This is supposed to be fantastic.
Sink into the massage table. It really is quite comfortable. True, I’m basically naked and am wrapped up tight like a burrito but I imagine that’s supposed to be soothing, like in some kind of amniotic fetal way.
But what about that guy in the lounge wearing the robe? Hoo boy, would William Baker have something to say about that. I can just imagine his face when the receptionist hands him the plastic flip flops and tells him he has to put them on. His eyes would bulge out of his head trying to calculate the number of bacteria coating that plastic. Might be worth gifting him with a treatment just to see that.
Of course, nothing wrong with a man getting some spa treatments. We’re all equal, after all. Still, it’s a little weird.
OK, where is she? This steam is starting to collect in my suprasternal notch. Did she forget? What if she doesn’t come back at all? What if I really am in a time warp?
Oh, here she is. Great. Busted for taking off the cucumber slice. Classy.
OK. Now I’m really, really going to concentrate. New oil, new me. Yes. Relaxing. Feeling good. She’s graduated from the face now and is rubbing my neck and shoulders. I’m always tense there. This will be good for me. My skin is going to look fantastic after this.
Wait. Now she’s rubbing her hands all over my head. How is this going to translate when I have to walk out of here? I’m going to look like I have some kind of bird sculpture for hair. Why didn’t I bring an elastic? The girls in the lounge all had their hair spun up in pretty knots. Great. Even if I smooth it down, I’m going to look like a grease ball.
Wait. She’s taking the slices off. Are we done? Did I make it?
“OK, Ms. Karpankowsky, you’re all finished. How do you feel?”
Thank the sweet baby Jesus.
“Great! Thank you so much!”