Buckstaff Bath House
I was eager to try the public bathing experience offered at Buckstaff Bath House. (I’ve gotten braver after my Turkish bath.) Buckstaff offers the same experience you would have received in 1912, except the attendants don’t dress as nurses. I was game. Matt was not. (After his Turkish bath, I think he’s had enough strangers bathing him and public nudity for a lifetime.) Plus, he’d pulled his back earlier in the trip. All the driving didn’t help. He headed back to the hotel to see if he could get a massage. In hindsight, this was a mistake. Our hotel was kind of dank and dreary. Not the kind of place you’d want anyone to rub you with your clothes off.
Eager to improve his back, he inquired. Buford, he was informed, was currently available for a massage. And then they staff proceeded to wake up a man slumped over his own arms, asleep, leaning on a table. “Buford. You have a massage.” Buford looked like a 70-year-old Dizzie Gillespie. When he approached Matt, Matt saw he was blind and thought it was possible this would be the best massage of his life. This could be the Ray Charles of massage. He may feel the muscles the way Charles feels the piano keys. Buford escorted Matt to an uncovered massage table and Matt got down directly on the plastic. Buford put on some rubber gloves, doused Matt in talcum powder and some lotion and commenced poking. That’s right, poking, not rubbing. If that wasn’t bad enough, Buford had long nails. Twenty minutes in, Buford announced the torture was over. Matt got up, relieved that the massage had ended early, but his joy was short-lived. The other staff members said, “Buford. What are you doing? That’s an hour.”
“That’s okay,” Matt said. “I’m good.”
“What do you mean it’s okay? Get back on the table.” Buford ordered.
So Matt lay down again. Buford set a timer: one minute, two minutes, three minutes, four minutes. Each number recited up to forty. And Matt settled in for his full punishment. He should have just had a stranger give him a bath.