I'm returning to the bar from outside on the deck. I have dirty dishes in hand, and need help getting the door open...which interrupts one male customer from bear-hug-cracking the back of another male customer. I decide against making a "that looks a little fishy" joke. Later, I find out the crack-ee is a doctor and I mistakenly assume the crack-er is a chiropractor. Nope. Massage therapist. One of the screwy kinds. I know this because four minutes later he's telling me that he has diagnosed cancers. Fast forward to me standing behind the bar. He's belly up. I'm serving him beers and he motions for my hand. He rubs it. It feels just OK. Nothing earth shattering. In an attempt to involve all of my customers in conversation, I decide to play “how old am I?", my favorite game because people are too nice to guess anything near my real age and I always win. (This may also be because I haven’t yet learned to dress my age.) He looks at my hand, rubs it some more, looks into my eyes, and guesses one year older than I am. The hands don't lie. Harumph. He asks me to take off my "mood ring".
NOW LET ME BREAK FROM THE STORY REAL QUICK-LIKE TO TELL YOU THIS RING THING IS A SORE SPOT WITH ME. Dude, you’ve already put me at 34, and now you’re calling my ring a mood ring? It’s not a mood ring. Who over the age of fourteen wears a mood ring? The stupid thing happens to have cost me $120. A virtual fortune for me, an unemployed person. I picked it up in Australia under duress. My travel companion was buying a wheelbarrow full of jewelry at this adorable boutique and I felt as if I too deserved a bauble. My one concern was that I wasn’t sure if it looked like it cost $120. If I'm going to spend that kind of money on a piece of jewelry I want it to LOOK expensive. The friend I was with assured me that it did, and so I bought it. A few weeks later I flew to New Zealand and accidentally left it behind in Melbourne. My hosts mailed it to my new address in New Zealand. On the envelope, the post office asked the sender to list the value of the goods enclosed, where "$20" had been scribbled in. Blurg.
BACK TO STORY. Now to add insult to injury this dude calls it a dern mood ring. I blow him off and decide I’ll forgive him since he’s totally massaging my bartending, 34-year-old hand. He asks if I can feel the warmth as his hand hovers close to mine, but doesn't touch it. I ask him what vibes I am sending him. He says, "oh it's not about what you're sending me, it's about what I'm giving to you." I feel nothing.
A few minutes later he's rubbing my neck and shoulders, which somehow leads to him asking about my feet. I can tell so much from a person's feet, he says. (Show me one waitress who would say no to that.) It's only as he's spreading the lotion on my foot, and his eyes are closed, lips pursed and head raised up to the ceiling that I wonder if I've made a wise decision. Still, I don’t know how to stop this crazy train and instead I ride it all the way to the same outside bear-hug-crack situation in which he had the doctor previously. It’s not until mid-crack, when he whispers in my ear that he's a little clairvoyant and he's sensing that I'm having problems with my brother that I realize that sometimes I let people get a little too close. Do I tell him I think he's full of crap? NO! I wouldn't want to hurt his feelings!
|p.s. the guy looked like the guy with the cane above