I used the word “stool” twice and didn’t make a single poop reference. What’s happening to me?

This first part will be short, ’cause I’m about to go and get a massage. It’s part of the privilege of working at a place with great benefits (that’re to come crashing to the ground at the end of the month). I was getting physio and one of the RMTs walked past. “Got any available sessions this afternoon?” I asked. “Yes.” She replied. It was that simple. And now I get to lie on a bed while she pummels my back and house music plays in the background (she isn’t into that rainforest atmos thing). My achy breaky back will feel renewed and I’ll walk out refreshed. The ease of this whole transaction is remarkable.

Despite my overreliance on them over the past year, benefits still seem like an odd fever dream. I get the idea at a basic level, that the company wants to build employee loyalty (employalty?) and empower said employees to come to work healthy. It must save a bunch on sick days. Still, they don’t owe me shit, right? Having a job is a straight commercial exchange. I give them hours of my day and effort during those hours, they give me money so I can pay rent and buy tinned tuna when it’s on sale. They don’t owe me great dental hygiene, physiotherapy, psychology, massage, allergy medicine, free travel insurance and every other ludicrous opportunity that benefits throw my way. Surely I’ve stumbled down a rabbit hole into a wondrous inverted world?

Getting a massage is great, but I always fall into this conundrum of not knowing where to put my arms. Do I lie them by my side? Drape them over the edges of the massage bed? Stretch them out past my head? Some places wheel out a little stool to sit beneath your face. That’s a handy spot upon which to rest your hands. Without the stool, it’s a little awkward. Reminds me of spooning, really. It’s almost hack at this point, but where does that arm go? Do you put it underneath your partner and suffer zombie arm? Cram it into the small crook between their neck and the mattress? Thrust it above your head like Superman? I always end up with this annoying barrier between my body and hers, which somewhat invalidates the fun of spooning, pressing our bodies together.

Then again, for me spooning is only ever a temporary joy. It’s not that the joy subsides, but its snuggliness is a precursor to sleep. Sleep means backing the fuck off and rolling over, elsewise I’m drowning in sweat due to my excessive body heat. It’s nice being in a relationship with a partner that understands the need for separation. It doesn’t always work out that way. One of my exes (and subconsciously, mind you) would always roll towards the heat source. In this case, my body. We made a point of lying right at the edge of her side of the bed so I’d have room to move. She’d be fast asleep and I’d roll over to sleep myself. Then I’d feel something encroaching my invisible heat fence. I’d roll away further. She’d follow a minute later. So the dance went. One time she followed me right to the edge of the bed. I got out, walked around to the other side (her side) and fell asleep. I woke up in the middle of the night with her snuggled right in my side. There was no winning to be had.

I guess you could say she was really into roll play.


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