I will have this foot massager’s babies

excellent massage thing
Originally uploaded by Liz Henry.

Weeks of stress broke me yesterday at around 5 in the afteroon. What I need is something shallow and mindless. I don’t have TV, I don’t have any drugs really and don’t like them, and can’t drink because of ulcers. So I went to the mall.

Though I haven’t been to a mall for year I basically grew up in one. It was the only place to go and hang out for preteens and teenagers in suburban Houston, where air conditioning is a requirement of life and anyway there are fire ants everywhere and no parks.

My mallology is superb. I know what stores are good for what purposes. For this mall (at Stanford) there is nothing for me other than the Macys junior dept. sale rack or possibly Nordstroms. One is tempted perhaps by a sequined 90 dollar thing in Bebe, but one avoids going in… One sees the fancy-ass sundresses and knows that they will be 300 bucks and yet in 2 weeks similar looking sundresses will be in Marshalls or Target.

So the mall soothed me with its glittering promise… its tiny handbags… a feeling of being around people way wealthier than I am… People who wear expensive jewelry and have exfoliating body scrubs and pedicures twice a week. All around me there were women carrying tiny lapdogs… I’m so not kidding.

I went into one of those Expensive Gadget stores! And found this AMAZING foot squeezing thing. Massage chairs all poke my back too hard, but this foot and calf squeezer was a dream come true. I must have it. After 10 minutes in the thing… listening pleasantly to the clerks gossip about Store politics… I had brand new feet. My calves are almost always sore – ever since I was pregnant 3 times in a row they swell up and hurt like crazy.

(The store gossip is that Tanya will never, ever go work with Ron, not even to get into the city center store which is the best one to work at. Because she just can’t work with him. She has to draw the line somewhere. Joon said to her that he thinks Ron kind of “likes” her and Tanya said OMG that’s the problem. Does everyone *know*….? And he tells her to put out the stuff on the shelves all wrong even though Michael will just come on shift later and make her put it all back and he *knows* it. Joon was sympathetic. I thought of my cousin who works retail and probably has these conversations a lot.)

The Macys junior dept. was full of somewhat expensive crap. Apparently patches and fluttery tatters are “in” but whatever, I have my own ripped up jeans and can patch them at my leisure. Faux hippies, round #1612341324.

For 20 bucks I bought a dreadful tight black lace seethrough top with sort of tuxedo frills down the front and pearl snaps to fasten it and the sort of neckline that automatically makes my boobs look bigger. OH YEAH. A perfect antidote to scholarly overload and the 14-hour days I’ve been spending in the library. It was half price. Snaps always make a sleazy whorish garment much more perfect.

But that wasn’t all… I went and blew some money on getting a real massage from some super nice guy named Daniel who lectured me about posture and pelvic tilt and entertainingly said he was thinking of writing a comic book based on his strange experiences of being a massage artist. According to Daniel, hot stone massages are gimmicky and dumb. Deep tissue is the way to go. He is also an advocate of the ball-rolling thing that Minnie does. At this fancy Mall day spa I was even further into the strange world of People Who Are Richer Than I Can Imagine. They are in there spending 300 bucks on some glycoestrohoohaprotein eye cream and then more for the “products” that go with it and then get weekly spa treatments for their thigh cellulite. I could make fun of this and be appalled by it all day but the truth is… it’s luxury, and it’s pleasant. I enjoyed the massage and the new agey music, lemon water, foot soak, fake fireplace, fluffy bathrobe, and all that stuff. How easy it woudl be to be incredibly rich and spend an obscene amount of money (even worse than I do now, though my sins are fancy cheese and pots of $10 fig jam, not thousand dollar pairs of earrings.) You would just fall into expecting everything to be easy, expensive, high-quality, glitzy… and you would “need” it… despite it being morally wrong on some level.

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