Humble pleasures

Had a customer come in earlier, have a great massage, then come out feeling relaxed, happy, and expansive. Over a cup of tea he told me how long he’s been looking for the right massage, and now found it. He lingered, we chatted. He’d be in his late forties, divorced as he told me, and about to go and pick up his 13-year-old daughter. He told me how he was a consultant, used to work for McKinsey’s but had gone out on his own when he found they no longer aligned. Soon he’s about to fly out to a conference in Brazil, where he’s presenting.

He was a lovely guy, and I enjoy these interactions greatly. These are the things I’ll miss. Meeting people like I never did before, hearing their stories, connecting on a basic human level. There’s something about a good massage that opens people up.

As owner of the shop I’m always gratified hearing positive feedback, and often touched that we can have such an effect on people’s lives, small as it may seem. There are times you get a glimpse of life at its micro level, as with this guy today – obviously a very well-regarded international expert (securitisation?), but here in front of me, just another father in his Sarturday casual, a little overweight, a daughter to attend to. And a good bloke to boot.

Yesterday a bunch of schoolgirls came in the shop in their school uniform. I guess they’d have been about 16, giggling a bit, then turning serious. One of them wanted to book a massage for her mum this Sunday – it was her birthday, she would be 50. “Has she been here before?” I asked. “Oh, all the time,” she said. She then solemnly handed over the money for her mum’s massage – a gift from her.

The best things in life are those things that humble you.

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