Wednesday, June 11, 2008

My Mother, My Babysitter, My Chair Massage

Everything leads to the chair massage.

Since my first child was a baby, my mother offered to babysit. She didn't just offer, she insisted. And since my personal child care philosophy includes accepting help from anyone from hired professionals to recent parolees, who was I to refuse?

It soon became apparent, however, that my mother and I didn't see eye to eye on certain child care issues. Like whether it was ok for my daughter to walk around barefoot in our apartment on a scorching summer day, or whether that was essentially a gateway to her becoming addicted to heroin.

To say that my mother is a perfectionist is like saying that Angelina Jolie is not bad looking.

And not only is she a perfectionist, she's an Improver. She has lots of free advice on how to make everything better. This, however, does not extend to the recipient's mental health, but we all have to make sacrifices.

Soon I learned that it made no sense for both my mother and me to be at home with my daughter at the same time. And since she was experiencing the joys of grandmotherhood for the first time, I selflessly volunteered to get the hell out of the house and "run errands".

When you're a NYC mom (and for all I know, this could apply to moms all over the universe, so no offense, Venutian Moms!), running errands is a fantastic catch-all. Taking clothes to the dry cleaner? Running errands. Buying madras shorts for your son? Running errands, with child abuse undertones. Food shopping? Ditto. Returning a bathing suit? Ditto. Manicure? Ditto. See how you can slip it in there and it sort of works?

But really, a manicure in my world, is an errand. Because part of my world is working out of the home part-time and part of working out of the home, circa 2000, for me, meant a manicure. Nothing insane, I'm talking Ballet Slippers here. And nothing French. Good Lord. Don't get me started on French manicures.

So, there I was, getting manicured and pedicured, my shopping bags at my feet, and it was clear that I was not yet ready to come home to re-experience the joys of motherhood. The Chair Massage! I didn't have to undress, I didn't have to make an appointment, I just had to straddle the reverse-gynecological chair, put my face in a Hannibal Lecter-type vise, turn my back to the world and wait for wonderful things to happen.

It passed the time while the polish dried, it felt good and it appealed to my sybaritic tendencies. What, you thought that I would even try to deny it?

It became sort of a tradition. I would go to Blossom Nails, a surprisingly lovely nail salon, on Sixth Avenue, just north of 14th Street, on my way home from Old Navy. (Sorry for detouring again, but have you noticed that whenever you shop at Old Navy, the total is almost always $100? It's an Old Navy Miracle). Once I saw Daphne Zuniga getting a manicure and pedicure there. I must confess that the term "mani/pedi" leads me to a near-seizure condition. I cannot stand it. It reminds me of a time when I worked in a fancy shmancy art gallery and around the winter holidays, all the society ladies would come in and say "Have a Merry and a Happy." Nails on my emotional blackboard.

But anyway, Blossom Nails. And Blossom Chair Massage. Love that place.

I went there this evening for a 10 minute back massage. I got Rosa, my favorite chair massage specialist. I'm not sure that anyone working in these places is actually licensed for massage therapy, but some of these women (and I've had men too!) are so much better than others.

The thing about Rosa is that she doesn't talk. Only people who have been chair massaged by chatterers appreciate the value. She positions the timer with the alloted 10 minutes in my line of vision so that I can keep an eye on it. I need this because I like to keep track. I don't tell her that I like this, but she somehow knows. Of course maybe that's the place where it's convenient for her to place the timer, but I see this as a sign that she's spectacular. The massage itself is great, but I am biased because I think that Rosa has the perfect touch.

The big downside is that Blossom Nail has the an enormous TV screen hanging overhead and I am treated to CNBC's report on Afghani girls being educated as opposed to beheaded. And although I agree that this is an improvement, I would prefer to hear other snippets during this time of de-stressafication.

But the massage works. I feel better. i feel energized. I'm worried that I won't see Rosa for a long time, because I am going to explore other places in the area for massages.

$15 for 10 minutes. $4 tip, promises to return soon.


Blogger Miss Cavendish said...

I cannot bear cute abbreviations either. They are clearly not for PLU.

January 16, 2009 at 4:27 PM  

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