It has been suggested that I resurrect my 20 Things I Have Never Done In Toronto blogs. I started writing them three years ago when I was marking my 20th year in Toronto. I think I got to number three before all of my attention and writing became focused on my adventures with Harriet, the replaced knee. I never returned to them or to discovering new adventures in Toronto — both of which was a pity. It was Sue, my good friend, who encouraged me to start up my count of “Things” again. Perhaps, the idea was that if I was seeking out these small, new adventures, I would stop hyperventilating over those daunting, BIG Adventures coming soon to a life near me. They’re there all the time — Heart, Home and Hernia — looming over my thoughts and slipping into every minute of every hour of every day of every week. But, Sue’s right, it is time for me to get out of my “Why is all this happening to me?” mode and start having some fun again.
She even gave me the idea for the first New Adventure. I’ve been hobbling around the past week on a very sore foot. I didn’t need something else breaking down in my body and my life right now. The whole idea made me cry bitter tears while I lamented my fate by shaking a fist at the heavens like a one-woman Greek chorus, “It’s too much. Too much. Too much.” Since the only audience I had for my dramatic declaration was Rose, it was a pretty pointless melodrama. Anyway, back to the adventure, when I went limping into aquafit yesterday, I told Sue, in her capacity of Great Aquafit Instructor about the now sore foot and how it might keep me from doing all of the exercises she would be giving us. She was having none of it. What she did say was, “Go have a foot massage.”
I’ve never had a genuine foot massage. Back in my younger years, I did have some interesting foot rubbings given by a particularly sensitive lover but since I don’t have one of those around, I’d have to go out to seek my foot massage. I didn’t have far to go for this adventure. Right across from the pool lives The New Feet Spa. The promise of replacing my aching, arthritic feet with new feet inspired me to climb the stairs to the second floor.
When I got there, there was no-one around. Then, an almost-English speaking Chinese man came up to the desk. “I’d like a half-hour foot massage, please.” I said. “Appointment?” he said. “No.” He stood and shook his head and said, “Very busy,” even though there wasn’t anyone around. He must have sensed my skepticism since he then produced the appointment book and showed me the page for that day. But maybe he could read the pain my poor feet were giving me because he showed me into a dimly-bit back room and told me to sit. I did as I was told. Then he disappeared again and came back and told me, “One hour, $40. Good price.” Being that this was my first foot massage and my feet were really aching, I didn’t know whether I could stand a whole hour of prodding. He didn’t wait for my answer but said, “One hour. Good price.” Negotiations were over.
He left and came back with a cup of very weak, very hot tea, two cards — one with all of
the services offered at The New Feet Spa and the other all the reflexology points. There was a point for every part of the body so, perhaps, this hour massage would take care of some of my other woes — except finding a place to live. He also brought in a tall woman in a pink top carrying a container with a plastic bag inside of it filled with water. She motioned for me to take off my shoes and put my feet in the water and then pulled me up out of the chair I was in and plopped me down on a stool in front of her. It was going to be a very quiet massage since I don’t speak Mandarin or Cantonese and she not a word of English. As I sat, she started pounding on my back and shoulders, pressing her fingers in places that were very appreciative of the attention. Then she pulled me up again, turned me around and put me back in the chair where I’d been sitting, pointed for me to take my feet out of the water and put them on the stool. I was very good at interpreting her pantomimes.
She had the hands of a farm woman — big, strong, with long fingers all the better to poke and prod my feet and legs. As she made her way down my legs to my feet, I started to get nervous. I knew how painful they already were, what would happen when she started in? Yikes! I took out the laminated reflexology card thinking this would distract me from the pain but it was too dark in the room to know whether she was in my heart point or my kidney. Point-by-point she moved her fingers around my left foot not leaving an inch of it untouched. I would let out an occasional, “Ohhh.” to which she would answer, “Ok?” — her one word of English — to which I would reply, “Ok.” I didn’t want to complain since I knew this was good-for-me and I would feel better afterwards — or at least I hoped that. Then she wrapped my left foot up and started on the right.
As the final act, she left and came back with hot towels and gently wrapped my left calf and foot and then my right and covered them. Then squeezed her hands around the feet and the legs. I almost cried being the recipient of that kind of care and almost tenderness. It was a pampering that I haven’t had in a very long time. Then she unwrapped them, dried them off, gave a final squeeze to the calfs and feet and left with a parting, “Ok?”
It was a good start to my resurrected 20 Things I Have Never Done In Toronto adventures — which I suppose ought to be 22 almost 23 for the number of years I’ve been here. I’m hoping that this time I’ll do enough of these small, pleasurable ones to compensate for those looming Home-Heart-Hernia adventures coming soon.