Thursday, November 16, 2006

A day in the life

Today the street set above my office was dressed for the Christmas show shoot of some TV show. I'm not sure which one. Plastic wreaths, holiday signs, a toy store, colored lights. It was about 75 degrees, and sunny, the temperature up and down a few degrees depending on breeze and shade. And snow. They'd brought in the ice trucks, and one blew shaved ice into snow piles against the stoops and mailboxes. The extras, dressed in winter clothing, probably appreciated it. Grips wandered around in tank tops and shorts and leather tool belts. I stepped through rivulets of ice water from the melting snow and headed to the mall.

I usually take walks at lunch, but I wasn't feeling that great today. I pulled a muscle in my shoulder and it hurt a lot, plus I'd had a flu shot and a lot of Advil. What I really wanted to do was sleep. Hunger is a great motivater, though, and there's a Korean place in the food court that I like a lot.

At the foot of one of the escalators that goes up to the food court is a massage station (hey, this is LA!). I'd noticed the masseuses there and the row of massage chairs before. The masseuses are all Asian, and I thought they might be Chinese. I have yet to have gotten an explanation for this phenomena, but I keep seeing Chinese masseuses around Los Angeles - at the boardwalk in Venice, for example.

The masseuses were offering a "free minute" to entice people into getting massages. I was more than ready to accept - I was in a fair amount of pain and had already called the company massage therapist (hey, I repeat, this is LA!), but she hadn't called back.

The woman put her hands on my shoulders, did a few preliminary squeezes and said, "Oh, you are very tight." I didn't even take the rest of the free minute. I explained I'd hurt myself and that yes, I would have a ten minute massage.

The masseuse was, in fact, from China, and she seemed pretty excited to have a Euro-mutt customer like myself who could speak some Chinese. She said she was from Beijing and asked if I'd been there, asked me what famous scenic spots I'd seen, and so on. She was very sweet, and a good masseuse, and I felt much better when she was done.

Oh, and I got at least five free minutes. The Mandarin discount, I guess.

She told me that my back was very tired and that I should get more rest, and come back if I wasn't feeling better. I assured her I would.

From there I went up to the Food Court to the Korean place and got the grilled mackerel bowl to go, with broccoli and kimchee. I usually get the eel but was in the mood for something different. I always get the broccoli and kimchee, because, you know, broccoli is good for you, and Koreans swear that kimchee cures everything. The place is staffed by mostly immigrant Latinos, except for the owner, a Korean American guy about my age who loves baseball (we often talk baseball in season), and several older Korean ladies who do the cooking.

Back at the office, I had a meeting with a vendor and stayed late catching up on old newspapers. By the time I left, the Christmas set was struck, though a few stubborn piles of snow lingered against the hollow curbs and wooden flats.

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