Sometimes things don't go as planned – and those moments often make for the best stories. Tripping columns offer readers a chance to share their wild adventures.
This is a travel story that I'm called upon to tell over and over again, particularly after a few drinks and when the crowd longs for a good laugh.
Every two years I co-ordinate a cycling trip for some friends. Last spring we went to Croatia. Beautiful country. Tough cycling but an amazing experience.
At the end of the second day, my friend Barb and I decided to treat ourselves to a massage in our hotel, a five-star beauty in the small coastal village of Postira on the island of Brac. Although there was a little bit of a language barrier when we went to the spa to book our appointments, Barb and I ended up choosing a full-body massage.
Barb drew a young woman as her therapist. I ended up with a handsome, fit young man.
I entered the massage room. It was bare except for a table covered with a strip of disposable paper. I furtively glanced around the room looking for the sheets, blankets and pillows. There was nothing else in this room. Nothing. I started to sweat.
The therapist excused himself to give me a few minutes alone to disrobe. The thought of being naked on this naked table had me quickly following him out the door to inquire about cover-ups. With a touch of disdain, he fetched me a towel from the hot tub. But it was the size of a hand towel. I wondered how Barb was doing with all of this.
I took a deep breath and reminded myself that when in Rome, do as the Romans do.
I climbed onto the table feeling very naked with just my panties on and a hand towel for modesty. I lay face down and attempted repeatedly to adjust the tiny towel, but finally accepted that it wasn't going to cover up much anyway and left it rumpled on my shoulder blades.
Did I mention I was sweating … profusely? The paper sheeting was disintegrating.
When the therapist entered the room, he showed surprise that I was wearing panties but thankfully allowed me this small modicum of dignity.
My masseur was skillful but I could not relax. My muscles were getting tighter and tighter as the minutes wore on. All I could think about was what would I do if his hand went where it should not go?
Then it was time for the big flip. At home, the therapist holds up the sheets and blanket in a tent-like fashion while you turn over onto your back. This time, all my guy had was a hand towel.
I took a deep yoga breath, squeezed my eyes shut to avoid the embarrassment of eye contact, flipped over and positioned the towel over my breasts.
The massage ended without incident but I was tense and uptight, I was soaking wet and the paper sheeting on the massage table was in wet tatters all over the floor. I dressed and quickly exited the spa.
Barb's experience was equally awkward: She tried crawling under the paper liner on the massage table! But once over, the massage experience became funny. Very funny. There are moments in the retelling that we can't get the words out for the laughter. Who would have guessed that a full-body massage in Croatia also meant being in full-body view.
Got a great road story you'd like to share? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.