Sitting in front of the computer is fun. Unless you are engrossed in something and you don’t notice the time pass. Before you know it, you’ve sat in one position, hand on the mouse, for 3 hours. No problem, you’re a keyboard monkey and can do this for days.
However, you try to move your arm, and a spasm is produced in your back, so painful it hurts to breathe.
Yup, that is what I got for quickly completing 2 modules of my TEFL course, no noticing 5 hours slip past. I wondered why they warned me to take hourly 15 minute breaks.
Later on, I spoke to Shawn about a massage. He’s in the know, especially about massages. I was envisioning incense, aromatherapy, an exotic masseuse washing away the pain in my back with the pleasurable strokes of her soft hands.
“Come”, he said, “let’s go for a massage”. “You dirty boy”, I thought as we walked down Chow Yun Lu, “to which dodgy joint are you taking me?” As we turned into a medical clinic, my fantasy started to sterilise. We went up to the 11th floor of what looked like an apartment block.
The 11th floor of hell
As we entered the converted apartment of some industrious medical people, my little fantasy shattered. There were 3 beds, currently occupied by rather elderly people. “He’s blind”, said Shawn about the guy in dark classes with all his weight on his elbow, which in turn was skewering the vertebrae of the elderly woman pinned beneath him.
Blind people are good at massage, because they need to feel their way through, rather than look, explained Shawn. I didn’t feel too comfortable with the look of agony on the woman’s face though, but my back was hurting me, and likely would have killed me had I tried to run.
When my turn came around, I crawled on the bed, face down, feeling confident. The lady was old, she’s fragile, how much could it really hurt? For the next eternity, which is how long he made the hour feel, I was tortured in the most inhumane way imaginable.
Knocking at Death’s Door. With an Elbow.
He’s knowledgeable, I will give him that. He pushed every single pressure point in my body, many of which felt like the off-switch to my life, because I felt seriously close to the brink of death. He worked my spine in a way that had me imagine how much of my body would be paralised if he broke whatever piece of me he was pounding.
And the particular part of my back that was causing me pain? He rubbed, and pounded, and rolled, and squeezed, and pushed that muscle as if it was a dead rat he was trying to force out from under the floor boards. At one point he was working it like you would a legitimate knot in the back, but I wanted to tell him “Oi! That is actually my muscle, it’s supposed to be there!”. But I couldn’t speak, and I couldn’t see, flashes of white light blinding my vision; so I suffered in silence.
After my prolonged preview of what Hell could be like, it was over.
For a brief period, the pain in my back was shared by my whole body. Eventually, after sitting in a daze for a few minutes, the pain from my whole body dissipated, and then concentrated again on that part of my back that actually hurt before this whole traumatic experience.
“Three or four sessions more”, said Shawn as he translated what the Blind Man had said. “My ass”, I thought as I was wiggling my fingers and toes to make sure no nerves were permanently damaged.
“Next time”, I said to Shawn as I paid the man 30 Yuan in aid of his sadistic establishment and practices, “You take me to an erotic massage”.