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November 3, 2010 / Maleesha Kovnesky

Airport Massage

To celebrate my last weekly trip to the Jet City, I decided to indulge in an airport chair massage.  Maybe I would luck out and get a really good masseuse who could un-dent my shoulder from my laptop bag strap.  I pretended not to have anxiety at the listed prices, and opted for a half-hour in the chair.  I was initially disappointed in the masseuse who pointed me over to Seat #3, as he looked timid and I was hoping to get a strong-armed brute wasn’t afraid to mash my neck potatoes. 

I can’t believe I just wrote “neck potatoes.” 

Anyway, I settled into the chair and nestled my head in the paper-towel covered face donut.  The massage began.  “Jeffrey” asked me if I had any spots that required extra attention (shoulder blades), but other than that, he was very quiet.  He did not even offer to ask me my pressure preference (mash!  mash!).

A relaxation-friendly playlist wafted from the speakers in the ceiling.  Thievery Corporation and world music, mostly, all which are good tunes to rub to.  The orange-scented spray cleaner that each masseuse used to disinfect the chairs could almost pass for aromatherapy.  I closed my eyes and decided to make the most of the massage, the massage that was costing me somewhere around $1.40 per minute.  Thoughts like that aren’t conducive to relaxation though, and poor Jeffrey could sense the tension was building.  He dutifully kept working on them there shoulder blades.

Then, a voice broke a snake-charmer song:  “I got fifteen minutes!  Whatcanyadoferme!” 

You could tell the woman was large and in charge just from her voice.  I detected a little Midwestern in there. 

I could tell that another masseuse was checking her in at the front desk.  Now I am not sure if you have ever used an airport massage bar before, but this one had about fifteen chairs to choose from.  Where in the world do you think the Loud One got seated? 

If you guessed “next to you, Maleesha,” you would be right! 

“So whatscher name?”  she asked the masseuse.  I couldn’t see what he looked like either since my head was in the face donut.  I figured it would have been impolite to look up and around during a massage, so I just listened.

“Michael,” he replied to the woman.

“Michael, well Michael, this is just awesome!” she said.  But it sounded like “MICHAEL!  THIS IS JUST AWESOME!” 

Michael chuckled politely.  “Good, ma’am.  Any trouble spots today?”

“Trouble spots, Oh my!”  She chuckled a long time.  An awkwardly long time.  “I would say my upper back, and my lower back, and my middle back…whats this called here?”  I heard shuffling, and imagined her twisting to point to some location on her back.

“I’m not sure what you mean…?”  Michael said.

“This right here,” she said, pointing.  “What’s this?  This isn’t my lumbar spine, its my…come on Michael you gotta know this!”

“Thoracic,” he said, smiling. 

“Thor… thoracic.  That’s right,” she said.  “I think my T7 is out of alignment.”

 “Go ahead and sit down in the chair.”


“Have you ever had a chair massage before?”

“No, no, no!”  (chuckling)  “Can’t say that I have!  I can’t remember the last time I had a massage of any kind.  Goodness I was just walking to my plane and I looked up and saw the sign and read it and couldn’t believe how lucky I was to have found a place to get a massage!  To think I have exactly fifteen minutes too.  It’s meant to be, Michael!”  (chuckling)

Michael didn’t say anything but I was imagining his face.  Funny.  I think Michael was slightly afraid.

“Just put your knees down on those pads,” he directed.

“Oh, like this?  Oh, it’s like praying,” she said.  “I got it now!”

Michael started the massage.  He couldn’t have been more than a rub or two in when this happened:

“Oh.  Oh.  OHHHHHHHHHH.  That’s really good.”

“Wow.  <DEEP AWKWARD PUBLIC BREATHS>  This is so, so good.”


“Oh yeah!  Right there, you found it!  Rub right there!  Oh it’s my thorax.  RUB MY THORAX!”

(this is the part where I started laughing and I could tell Jeffrey was laughing too.  But we were both laughing quietly out of respect for poor, poor Michael.)


He began to wrap up her 15 minute massage with those quick swedish beats….aratatatatatatatatatatatatatatatatatatatatatatatatatatatat.  The whole while that Michael was ratatatting, the woman was letting out a deep mooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooaaaaaaaaaan.  So of course her moan sounded like it was being beaten out of her.  It was SO FUCKING AWKWARD AND WEIRD AND so much for relaxation…relaxation had left the building, and hilarity ensued.  I could hear a vacuum cleaner in the airport turn on and found it to be something soothing I could concentrate on, ’cause this massage was not turning out like I had hoped.

Finally she was done.  I had a good five minutes of my own massage left.  I tried to find some om, or ka, or whatever the hell you find at airport massage bars, and relaxed. 

When the massage was over, I thanked Jeffrey.  I also tipped him nicely.  He was quiet, and he didn’t ask any questions.



Leave a Comment
  1. David / Nov 6 2010 5:41 pm

    Yeah. Neck potatoes. Me too. I woulda sat next to you too Maleesha. Gotta hand it to loudmouth for finding the vortex of mellow in the room. 🙂

  2. Moonbeam McQueen / Nov 6 2010 10:39 am

    Oh my gosh, this was was hilarious. The way you described that woman! Actually, you had me at “neck potatoes.”

  3. flutter / Nov 4 2010 11:37 am

    I think I just peed my pants. I am a massage therapist and I never cease to be amazed by some folks

    • maleesha / Nov 4 2010 7:47 pm

      I don’t know how you do it!

  4. Mary Mimouna / Nov 4 2010 3:24 am

    Well this was very interesting. I’ve never had a massage in my life and don’t think I’d feel comfortable with a stranger touching me! But I have friends who say they need to have a massage each week. Interesting to hear about what it was like.

    I love a massage every now and then! I just don’t want to hear other people enjoying them.

  5. fawn / Nov 3 2010 9:08 pm

    Oh, that belly laugh did me good today, Maleesha!

    I had an airport chair massage once and it was absolutely wonderful. But I guarantee that I did not have a public orgasm because of it. Sorry things didn’t work out for you. 😀

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