Gerard LeBuff wakes up at 7:45AM and gently rises out of bed. He begins his day with a leisurely walk through his Zen garden, brews himself a pot of orange pekoe tea, performs a quick sun salutation (namaste), and then it's off to work an hour after rising. Gerard doesn't mess around—the best way to take care of his clients is by taking care of himself first.
He gets into his office a little before 9:00AM—just in time for his first appointment of the day. It's a new client—a woman who's here to try out a forty-five-minute massage.
Gerard engages in some polite small talk near the beginning of the massage, but leaves the woman alone the rest of the time. Some clients may continue to converse because they feel obligated to do so, and he doesn't like to put them in that position. He simply says enough to make them feel at ease, and then shuts up and lets the music and his hands do the work. He asks a few times throughout if the pressure he's applying is too much or too little, but that's about it.
After she departs—making sure to schedule her next appointment on the way out—his 10:00AM shows up. Eddie Santoro's a regular; the greatest challenge for Gerard with this particular client is making sure his fingers don't get caught in Eddie's back hair.
It happened once before, and there's almost nothing more embarrassing than having to apologize for getting stuck in another person's back hair. It's a pretty thick thicket of back whiskers, but Gerard has learned to maneuver through and around them pretty well over the years.
His 11:00AM calls at 10:45AM to cancel. Apparently her car broke down in the middle lane of the freeway. Gerard feels terrible for her—but since it technically is short notice she'll still have to pay for the session.
With all the last-minute cancellations he gets, he'd end up out of business if he didn't make sure he can guarantee himself some money for his time. And an out-of-work masseur is just a guy with freakishly strong hand muscles.
He takes advantage of the unexpected but appreciated lull in work to help himself to more orange pekoe. While drinking his tea, he goes online and fiddles with his website. Taking that course on web design so he wouldn't have to rely on anyone else for updates was a great idea, and it's a decision he doesn't regret.
This way he can add testimonials, keep up his blog, and make changes with any new affiliations or certifications he'd like prospective clients to know about.
He can also add an image to the homepage of the French cartoon character he created to represent his business—Monsieur Masseur. He's proud of that one.
Gerard has one more morning appointment at 11:45AM, then by half past noon he takes his lunch break. He meets his girlfriend Annie for a bite at the shop around the corner. It's a new relationship; she used to be a client, but when they found out about their mutual love for Korean dramas and corgi videos they decided to make a business relationship more personal.
Now she gets massages for free. Gerard could feel taken advantage of, but he's really okay with it. Plus, it'd be kind of awkward to charge her at this point.
Back in the parlor (no one calls it that; it's a studio) after lingering over his meal, he gets back to work. His 1:30PM client injured her back playing basketball. He focuses on that area, but not exclusively. All of the muscles are connected after all, and massaging only the strained area doesn't help as much as working all of the connections as well.
After taking a walk-in at 2:00PM—a friend-of-a-friend kind of thing, as Gerard prefers to take clients on a strictly-scheduled basis—he does some light yoga in his office while waiting for his next client. His 3:00PM just finished overseeing a massive corporate project and is treating herself to a little much-needed relaxation; Gerard's more than happy to oblige. He pops in the CD she brought herself—a Sarah McLachlan album.
As the words I will remember you float over the session, both Gerard and his client have a nice release. His client feels the pressure release from her back, and Gerard has himself a nice strong power cry. It's a win for everyone involved.
His final appointment of the day has been seeing him for years about a neck thing. Despite Gerard's best efforts, the condition has persisted. The client insists that even the temporary relief brought on by the massage is enough to keep coming back. Since the checks keep clearing, Gerard has absolutely no problem with that.
After another pleasant day taking away aches and pains, Gerard feels accomplished, and a little hungry. He heads to his favorite health food store at 5:00PM—and passes right by it to go to the fast food restaurant next door. He's spent all day making other people feel comfortable. Tonight, he's decided he needs a little comfort of his own.