Every bodywork experience exists on a continuum somewhere between:
- 0 – Radioactive No-No Square (your bathing suit zones and nearby regions are strictly quarantined)
- 10 – Happy Ending (rarely actually happy for anyone)
Isaac Newton’s 3rd Law of Motion is an upgrade to Aristotle’s Law of Causality. “Every Action”, Newton said, “Has an Equal and Opposite Reaction”. Aristotle said, more or less, “Everything that happened, somebody did it,” (proximate cause) and in his later years after his student Alexander started taking over the world, he probably said, “Everything that happens, somebody did it. You, maybe.”
My Thailand group is at the end of the tour, having an exquisite relax in the town of Chiang Dao. Our first night is at the Nest, a beautiful little village-resort up against the mountains, below a really amazing temple (don’t ask me to remember the name, it’s like remembering the endless names of French country churches). Dinner is surprisingly sumptuous French food prepared by the London-educated Thai owner of the property.
I have no idea what day it is, but the resort (like many of the places we’ve been in Thailand) is relatively empty except for us. With 9pm creeping on and the fresh memory of rising before dawn to walk out to the forest to fetch elephants, my companions drift toward bed. I stay sitting in the open-air dining pavilion as even the staff shuffles off to find karaoke in town. The property is mushrooms of soft light nuzzling palm fronds and flowers.
I’m sorting through photos of elephants and trees as It begins to pour. You’ve been in sudden tropical downpours, you know how it falls straight down, and apparently from a very great height. The open air of the pavilion quickly becomes glass walls of water and the sound of dry-season rain on thatch and leaf fills the world inside me.
It’s the cool next afternoon and 2 other women and myself make our way to the adjacent property for our thai massages (with a finish of steamed herb balls!). The tiny lady titters as I lay down. Her hands are half the size of mine. She’s very demure in her white & indigo outfit. It’s all a huge lie. She’s obvious a kung fu master or the reincarnation of a very large blacksmith. The tough biker lady in our group and I made a bargain in our last city that the first one to yelp had to pay for the massages. Obviously, I was glad we hadn’t tried that again!
Even as far back as high school, my trapezius muscles were hard as rock. I’ll refrain on applying Newton’s laws to psychologically explain that. Powerlifting in my 20s locked my hips down pretty hard, especially my inner thighs. Having the instincts of a character from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, this tiny lady immediately senses my weak points and is determined to use them to free me from my past karma.
In particular, the very inner part of my inner thighs, those bands of hard tendon and muscle that connect up to your hip bones. And she has feet. And hands, and elbows and forearms, and lady, I don’t care how gay I am if you keep rubbing down there, things are going to happen. And when they do, well… let’s just say she gets a “9” rating on the scale above which stands for I have paid for lap dances that had less touching than this.
The monks ring their bells in the soft downpour at 3am. I imagine I can hear them chanting from the top of the mountain.
We find a couple of them smoking about halfway up the 300 steps to the hilltop temple. One of them has tattoos everywhere.
There are nuns in the cavern temple amid the soviet-era emergency lighting and the parades of golden buddhas.
The birds sing quietly in the overcast, the jungle reaching and reaching for the sky.