My experience in Cannes has been so tangled that I need a hair detangler in order to work through it and share it with you! In the meantime, I’m going to tell you a funny story that happened to me here because I want to demonstrate to you guys how meeting random people in your daily life can help you in character building. In episode 2 of Writer Tips “How to Write Memorable Characters”, we talked about how observing details about the people that you mean can enrich your fictional characters of the real characters in your memoir/blog. (If you haven’t joined my FREE live web series, Writer Tips, click here to sign up).
Three days into my Cannes experience, the stress of the festival and of being part of the Saudi delegation representing Saudi Cinema became overwhelming. So I asked the hotel to book a masseuse that can come to my room so I could fall asleep right after the massage. Here’s what I shared on my personal facebook page right after the masseuse left:
I just had the funniest massage. At my hotel room in Cannes, a middle-aged French lady shows up with red hair piled haphazardly on top of her head, wearing a cute little black dress that falls just above her knees. She has no foldable bed with her. The first sign that this massage is going to be...different. I figure she must have mastered some way to massage people on the hotel bed. She starts preparing the bed for the massage and asks if she might wash her hands first. She babbles loudly all the while to herself, including me occasionally in the dialogue.
She asks me to lie down after I tell her that my back and shoulders are tense. She pulls out a bottle of cream. Oh, so this is a pull-out-your-lotion kind of massage, I think to myself. I know this is going to be interesting.
She sits beside me on the bed, bringing the mattress down. She nudges me with her hips so that I crawl further inwards and give her room. She thanks me and nudges me some more. My relaxed arm ends up under her butt. She slathers my back with the cold cold cream and treats it like a kitchen counter where she's spreading her pizza dough. I soon realize that she only knows one "move" and if I don't intervene, She'll stay at the same spot, kneading it forever. You know how there are guided meditations? This lady expects this to be a guided massage in which I tell her where and when to move with her hands and in which direction. So much for the relaxing music I selected.
"You tell me where and I will do you!" she keeps saying.
And every time I direct her to a new spot_
"Sank you for telling me! Now I know! You see, when you tell me, you are 'elping me!"
She has a big robust voice that should be intimidating but is really fragile and wants desperately to please.
When I point at my right shoulder, she climbs onto the bed and lies down next to me. She rubs my shoulder the wrong way and I feel like a disgruntled cat.
"Here?" she asks.
Yes here, but not like that! Then, she proceeds to make the massage/sex sounds on my behalf. Like in some fantasy world of hers, this massage feels good.
When her hands dry out and the cream becomes sludgy, she reaches for the cream bottle, jostling me on the way, and then props the thing on my back and pumps out the cream. I keep my lips pursed tightly so that I don't shriek with laughter.
Oh and get this! Her phone rings in the middle of the horrible cat-rubbing. Not only that but it sounds like a terrified version of the pink panther tune. And with disco lights! I'm not even kidding! She gets up from the massage, fishes her phone out of her bag, and there it is throwing flashing lights across the walls.
And she actually answers it.
When she's done talking to Emile, she comes back and lies down again like nothing happened and continues rubbing me.
Finally it's time for the feet (because that's where all massages end). With me lying on my stomach (no she doesn't flip me over for the other side), she spreads my legs. That feels right, I think to myself. They do spread the legs at a regular spa so that they're at an angle before they begin to massage the feet. But then this lady sits between my legs on the edge of the bed, filling up the entire space. She puts my feet, with the soles up, in her lap and massages both feet at the same time! I'm shaking with laughter here but I don't think she noticed!
Why did I even agree to pay this lady, you ask? Because in her mind, she did a HELL OF A JOB! On my end, I paid not for the massage but for the comedy! When she left, I thanked the Universe for providing me with a delicious character sketch that will DEFINITELY show up in some story or other that I'll be writing!