Monday, August 27, 2007

The $10,000 Question* (Updated @ end)

Welcome, Akeeyu, to the world of stupid twin-parent questions. It’s lovely here. Really.

We just got back from a week’s vacation with the in-laws. They rented a house in a mellow mountain town, and we mostly just hung out and played with the kids. Midweek, I managed to pinch a nerve in my neck, or throw something out of alignment - whatever it was, it hurt. I couldn’t find a local chiropractor with availablility that day, so J booked a massage for me at the local “day spa.”

I was already a bit unsure about the massage therapist when I met her and she had a weak handshake. I don’t know about you, but I generally think of hand strength as a good thing in a massage. But my whole neck and upper back had tightened up around this spot, so I stripped down and settled myself on the table. She starts working, and making small talk - where are you visiting from? how did you hurt your back? I said I was playing with my one-year-old twins, and she said... “Oh, are they natural or did you use drugs?”

Yeah. Because that makes for a relaxing massage. I said, “We were lucky” though that answer totally feels like a cop out on a number of levels (although it’s true, we were - are - lucky). And then she said, “I lost a set of twins.” And what do you say to that? Especially when laying naked under a sheet in a room with a virtual stranger. “Um, I’m sorry.” **

But otherwise it was a lovely vacation, and my babysitter is back in town (halleluyah!) so maybe I’ll actually find a few minutes here and there to write. And shave my legs. And pee in peace. You know, the little things.

* As in, If I had a nickel for every time I’d been asked the question, I’d sure be richer now.

** UPDATE: Not that it lessens the pain any, but this woman's kids are in their late 20s or early 30s, so any loss was a long time ago. The vibe I got was that it was a miscarriage, though I don't know why I think that. I'm not saying that makes it less painful - god how we all know that - just that it wasn't quite as fresh as it might sound. And the massage was only mediocre, so I got more caught up in that than her potential loss. Sometimes I am incredibly selfish. Perhaps a conversation for another time - the balance between being a compassionate person, and being granted an hour of blissful and mindless relaxation.


  1. I'm so glad your sitter's back! YAY!!!

  2. Lucky is true. You don't have to share your history with strangers if you don't want to. It's rude of her to ask.

  3. There should be courses on the art of small talk, because people fall back on the rudest, stupidest things....

    Although I guess I should cut this woman some slack, because really, I can't imagine the pain.

    Was the massage any good at all? I'm so overdue for one myself.

  4. Yikes, I both imagine both feeling completely sorry for her, and awkward at the situation...

    A massage sounds so amazing. I got a gift certificate for one at the surprise shower my grad students threw me... at 24 weeks, completely against my husband's best advice... that would be the shower I missed because I was in an ambulance being taken to a hospital 80 hours away with contractions 2 minutes apart... after that, no pre birth massages... after the birth... well, you know. But hearing stories like that, I wouldn't change a thing at our house, tight shoulders and all.

  5. Wow. I get really, really tired of that question, but still, I feel badly for her because even after all those years, it must still hurt. Why she chose to share this with you and at that time, though, I don't know.

  6. Small talk during a massage is a big no-no in my book, much less such personal and inappropriate information.

    Glad you were able to get a bit of a vacation, hope your back feels better!

  7. See, this is why I love my hairdresser. She has 4 kids and so she knows how precious that hour in the salon is. She asks me if I want a drink, we briefly discuss any new style options and then she leaves me alone - aaah bliss!

    Welcome back ;-)


  8. Oh, how bizarre - I just had a massage at a day spa while on vacation, and the masseuse asked me that question too. THEN she proceeded to tell me all about her daughter's failed IVF's, and how they're considering adoption, but really, she'd prefer they didn't go and pay thousands of dollars to inherit "someone else's problems". !!!!! I simply stopped responding for awhile until she changed the subject. Then, she informed me that "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" was filmed there. Not. Relaxing.

  9. The last massage I had was a prenatal massage at a spa in Florida when I was 21 weeks along. They had me lay on my back for half the massage -- needless to say at 5 months preggers with twins I was having a hard time taking a deep breath and my legs were going numb. I finally said something, but seriously since when should a lady in her second trimester lay on her back for extended periods of time. (They wouldn't even let you get a massage if you were in your 1st trimester).
    I would do anything for a good long massage these days, but I am still breastfeeding and it isn't comfortable to lay on my stomach.
    By the way - I found your blog through The Twinkies BlogRoll.