• Marcia Miller

BACK IT UP

My traveling back has slept in strange beds, lifted luggage, pretzel bent into awkward restaurant seating, and sat for hours on planes, trains, boats and buses. My feet have passed paintings, glided through galleries, tread thousands of stairs and strolled miles of streets with cobbled stones. I have rushed for trains, waited for tickets, allayed fears, organized excursions, calmed irritations, stayed up late and risen early.



My job keeps me on duty 24/7 and this trip has been a record breaking 26 days on the road. This morning my body was wrung out when I arrived at the Rome airport. My husband claims I always come home from my trips with a cold. I cannot argue with him. The stress and strain of travel and jet lag weakens my immune system leaving opportunities for the great germ attack. Four of my traveling companions for the last four weeks have been stricken with a cold that I so far managed to fight. I am determined this time to arrive home at least well, if not rested or relaxed.


Today I took a new and unplanned route home. I marched right toward the bold blue sign proclaiming MASSAGE in the airport. Yep, my penny-pinching ways went right out the window. I must admit to wading in with baby steps ordering the minimal10-minute massage for $20 euros. Both therapists were occupied, so I was invited to sit in the mechanical massaging chair for the 10-minute wait. Works for me - a bonus massage. When it became my turn I have to say I did receive a very decent treatment. But those ladies are masters of the up-sell. Did I want the aromatherapy for an additional $9 euros? Nope, you are not going to trap me into that one.


When the massage service was finished I was invited back to the human-kneading machine next to the man who had preceded me for the massage. He was having a foot massage too. Oh that looked great. Now here comes the next up-sell. She handed me a blue plastic wand device with batteries. This was to stimulate circulation in my face. One of its supposed benefits was to eliminate dark circles around the eyes. Well that is sure an issue for me. Got those from my mom and I am quite certain no amount of time spent with a vibrating electric wand will rid them. But I tried it for several minutes. It did feel good. Apparently it also carries powers to weaken ones resolve.


By now I was looking on with even greater envy at that foot massage going on next to me. “How much is it?” “Just $30 euros more,” she chirped. OK, in for a penny in for a pound. Bring it on. Oh yeah! It was just what these piggies needed for 15 minutes. Wait for it…. are you ready…. here comes the next up-sell opportunity. “Your heels are a little dry, you should try this.” Out comes the foil packet with the foot masque and the potential to up the ante by another $7 euros. “No thanks again, I will just get a proper pedicure when I get home.”

The massage machine pounded on as the feet screamed out in grateful pleasure. But alas the time was up. Lighter by $50 euros, body relaxed, soles revived and time to climb board the 767 bound for home. First order - a glass of water to dissolve my Airborne tablet.

Why haven’t I done this before? I kneaded that!

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