Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Getting a massage at the German massage place: hilarity ensues, or it doesn't

Whenever I get into a situation that spirals out of control in a way that's so ridiculous that it's funny, the music below plays through my head. I had such an experience earlier this week.

On my day off, I decided to get a massage by someone recommended by a friend. My friend didn't think that the guy really speaks English, but said I should go anyway. Since I've been working on my German a bit, I figured I could make an appointment without too many troubles.

Imagine trying to make a massage appointment with a man who's basically like a hyperactive squirrel. He doesn't really speak English and I am halting in German. I said that I needed an appointment (in German) but I think he was so freaked out about dealing with an English speaker that he asked for help.

He enlisted the help of one of his clients who speaks better English. Said client is in the middle of a massage so I get waved to the back of the practice and ask a man who's laying on the massage table and only wearing underwear if he can help me make an appointment. We all agreed on a time.

I don't think that I would have seen a client in situ in the US (at least I don't think it would have, or at least the masseuse there would have probably had me talk through a cracked door and I wouldn't see the other client). Though honestly, if the masseuse just slowed down what he said and listened to me a bit more I think we could have made the appointment without help. I'm thankful for the other client's help. He didn't seem phased by this at all. At least he was wearing underwear! I'm trying to adjust to the German lack of hang-ups with partial/full nudity. However, I just wasn't expecting the situation to happen this way. I had practiced the phrases I would say in German before I went there. After all, how hard is it to make an appointment; I'm almost at the A2 level. That got shot out the window. Doesn't that make you think of the adage, "it takes a village?" I thought it took a village to raise a child, but apparently it also takes one to make an appointment.

As for the massage itself, it wasn't really what I prefer. When it was my turn, the masseuse utilized a client who was in another room as an interpreter for a bit. I told the masseuse, "wenn Sie sprechen langsamer, ich verstehe mehr" (when you speak slower, I understand more). He had left the curtain to my room open and was going to commence working on me. I knew the other client was in another room, and I am still a bit prudish/American, so I told Mr. Masseuse, "bitte mit die Tür nicht öffnen" (please with the door not open). Yes, that's not the most grammatical way to put it, but it still makes sense and I couldn't remember the word for closed. See? I know enough German to communicate my wishes, just not in an elegant way.

I was on a table under this crazy heat lamp thing; I almost felt as if I were at a tanning salon! After turning off the lamp, he draped a heat pack over my back. I have a feeling that Lucifer did him a solid and let it heat up on his sidewalk a bit before handing it over. It was rather hot, especially on bare skin. I have a reasonably high pain tolerance so I just dealt with it. 

I couldn't believe how fast he did the massage strokes. At one point, there was disco music playing on the radio and I swear that he used that to keep time! So, while it wasn't the worst thing ever, it was still a rather odd situation so I think one visit there suited me just fine. The awkward thing is that I ran into Mr. Masseuse two days later when I was out with friends. He hollered to me to ask how I was feeling and I spoke German back. See, dude? If you just listen, I can tell you what needs to be said.

No comments:

Post a Comment