As a nonbeliever, I never wanted to have a Thai massage but somehow there I was. The room was darkened and smelled of warm peppermint. I was told to remove my clothes and put on a pair of baggy knee-length pants that, in my Puritan discomfort, I had to make fun of alone. I lay down on the massage table, heated from beneath. A lady no bigger than a cat came in and crouched beside me. I was belly-down and as good as blind. I said the woman was small but did I mention she had two enormous hands and something like 16 or 17 fingers? And she was not a cat but a kind of demon weaver. My skeleton was her loom, my muscles threads, and she went to work to make my backside into an unimaginable tapestry.