I really wanted my first post from Thailand to be serious; dripping with the anointing of the Spirit; and life changing … but then I got a massage and figured that telling a hilarious story about our life here might be better.
(Don’t worry about it though, I’ll make sure all of you get saved with my next post.)
For those of you reading this that don’t know me, there are a few things about me that you need to know before you can fully understand the situation:
- I love my wife more than anything in the world. I take my marriage vows very seriously. I would do anything within reason to serve and love Katie (and even some things that defy reason.) This has led to me being put in some great and some precarious situations, but I do everything in my power to love my wife “as Christ loves the Church.”
- I do not like to make a scene in public. I know… Ironic given who I’ve chosen to marry, but true nonetheless.
- I do not like to be touched by strangers. At all. Ever. Those who know me really well know that this goes away as soon as we get close (I’m looking at YOU Matt and Andy), but until that happens I have a bubble that is roughly 65 yards. I don’t hug strangers. I don’t like to be touched. There are few situations where I think being touched is ok. Side Note: It’s like the TSA knows I feel this way because I SWEAR I get picked for the random pat down every time I’m at the airport.
- I tend to shy away from needless pain. I don’t like to hurt. There is no “good” pain to me. There is only necessary and unnecessary pain. Example: lifesaving surgery = necessary; plucking eyebrows = unnecessary. I’d like to clarify that it isn’t that I can’t TAKE the pain, it’s that I have a logical break when it happens and I leave the situation.
The issue with this list is that it is written in order of priority. Therefore, I will ignore numbers 2 thru 4 if the activity will show Katie I love her. Now the stage is set for last Saturday:
Since moving to Thailand Katie and I have been very intentional about having a date night once a week. We’ve been blessed that we already have resources here to help watch Shepherd so we can do this, and it is a time where we make sure to stay connected because Thailand is notorious for chewing up marriages and we are no fools. We fight for ours, but I digress.
This particular date night we had decided to go to dinner and then get massages after (Red flag for list #3). I love Katie… I will do this. In fact I had done it once before, because Katie LOVES massages and you can get an hour long massage here in Thailand for about $4-$6; we got foot massages a little over a week before. After our hour long foot massage Katie looks at me and asks, “Wasn’t that so good?” To which I reply, not kidding at all, “It was fine, but there’s easier ways for me to flush $5 down a toilet.”
This response does not faze Katie. She convinces herself that it is because I would rather have my shoulder’s rubbed, because that is where I carry my stress. I on the other hand know that it is because of #3.
Dinner is over and we are headed to the Night Bazaar in downtown to get a neck and shoulder massage together. We walk up to the lady and ask to get our lovely massages in their air conditioned studio. Once inside the studio we take a seat in two of the chairs, like we did for foot massages. In broken English the parlor owner says:
“Ooooh, no. Lay on bed. It easier. Better.” She is pointing to the other side of the room where six “beds” (think crib mattresses but longer) are crammed together, no space between them.
Katie glances at me and can clearly see that I don’t like this response, and points at her pregnant belly and says, “No we can’t, baby.” Our Thai Torture master… I mean massage parlor owner… seems to accept this answer and leaves.
We continue to sit in our chairs, waiting for our “comfort experts” to come in. While waiting, a group of about 7 tourists comes in, they take five of the “beds” and two of the other chairs in the parlor. The lead torturer returns and this time physically grabs me and sets me on the bed, “You lay down, its better.” I am placed on a bed between two strange girls from the tourist group … I am slowly beginning to panic. These two girls are laying on the stomachs waiting for their masseuses. I am laying on my back stiff as a board trying not to touch them.
This is where my internal dialogue begins to kick into overdrive: Why am I laying down?!? This is a shoulder rub! Why would you need a bed for a shoulder rub? How many nasty people have laid on this bed? Why am I here?! I hope Katie likes this… I’m going to sit up. That should be ok, yeah. I’ll just sit up, so that they know that I don’t want a full body massage.
I sit up. Katie is still sitting in her chair staring at me, trying not to laugh…
…yeah. Laugh it up. YOU BETTER KNOW I LOVE YOU! I am screaming with my eyes.
As I am sitting in my crib slot, trying to hold it together, in walks Emmanuel “Manny” Dapidran Pacquiao. I’m not kidding… well I AM kidding, but he was a 5’ 6” 150lbs soaking wet Thai MAN!
Internal dialog: Oh no. No no no no no no. Is he for me? Is that worse than a girl. I DON’T KNOW. You can’t freak out Stephen. Look at Katie (who is now getting her neck rubbed by a little Thai lady), she is loving this is her favorite thing. Do it for Katie. Stay calm.
“Sawatee-cap. You lay down.” Manny says to me … frick. He wants me to lay down, maybe he doesn’t know what I want.
“Oh no, just a neck rub.” I say pointing to my neck and shoulders.
“Aaaah, yes. Lay down, it better.”
I lay down and Mr. Pacquiao jumps up on the bed and begins to walk across my ENTIRE back. He stops in the region that used to be my butt and spends some time working his feet into my gluteus. Full on panic attack has now set in. I can’t breathe. WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME?!?!
Christian Grey gets his fill and finishes moving up to my shoulders. I’m still holding it together because I don’t want to ruin this time for Katie. If I quit, I know she will, so I have to endure.
When I wasn’t looking Manny must have tagged in The Undertaker because something digs into my shoulder meat with the strength of a Piledriver (full WWE style). I can’t stop myself… I let out an audible sound of pain. My masseuse keeps going for about 30 seconds but his clearly rattled by my body language and the squeak that escaped my lips so he leans close and says “Too much?” Looking around, I realize that everyone is getting the same treatment I am and seem to be doing fine, so I don’t want to cause a scene or making things awkward so, I say no it’s fine.
Internal dialog: Keep it together Kleinjung!! You need to find your happy place and not react the ravaging that is happening on your back. Do it for Katie. You love her.
I steel my nerves and endure through the pain. Just as I was starting to black out and go into the shock, Manny has me sit up and starts rubbing my neck and head. As near as I can tell, a “neck massage” means a guy pulls your hair for 10 minutes. This portion of my nirvana pleasure massage ended with the Fighting Pride of the Philippines punching me in the head about 8 times.
Disoriented he rolls me back on my stomach and finishes up by digging into my spine up and down my body. This portion hurts so bad that all I can do is clench my teeth and curl my feet into a ball. It is about this time that I think I hear an audible snicker escape from Katie behind me.
…yeah…laugh it up lover. You owe me.
After what felt like an eternity (but in reality was only 30 minutes), my attacker finally got bored and gets off me. I try to crawl off of my crib sliver making sure not to touch the people on either side. And with a slight bow my masseuse says “cup-kuhn-cap.” Which I thought was Thai for “thank-you” but I think in this case meant, take that you silly white boy.
I limp outside finally free, and as we’re walking away I ask Katie: “How was your massage?”
“Not very good… we should go next week and see if we can find a better place.”