My Christmas gift to my sister was lunch and an afternoon of spa relaxation. Today we experienced some weird touching and some good touching.

Unfortunately the weird touching was at lunch, where the waiter (and seemingly sole employee) of the restaurant where we enjoyed baba ghannouj, baked zucchini, and kofte, got a little too close for comfort as he seated and served us. We also noticed him napping on the bar as we finished our lunch. We were the only remaining customers. Perhaps he was hungover. Or had just started drinking for the day. Or both. But the food was good.

Fortunately at Comfort and Joy Wellness Spa, everything felt good and perfectly appropriate. We found the spa in a mostly abandoned shopping center in Fairfax, near other shopping areas we used to frequent as teenagers, since our junior high school is across the street. I guess rent is cheap. Once you get inside, however, it is serene and relaxing and you no longer feel so suburban.

We passed through the dazzling array of products and were seated in the waiting room where we each had a cup of tea. Then we were escorted to our massage rooms. MJ was my massage therapist and, while I haven’t chronicled them all, I would say this was probably the best massage of my life. MJ was intense. Instead of just pacifying the knots in my shoulders, she seemed to dissolve them. She also stretched my arms and legs in bizarre but not painful ways as she massaged, which made me feel like it was part yoga and all wonderful. She put a hot towel on my back at one point and some sort of hot pads on my back and stomach at other points to keep me warm and relaxed while she worked on other body parts. There were other small surprises, all deftly maneuvered with no pauses. The hour went by too fast, but I savored every minute of it.

Afterward I was led to my facial room by Thao, the aesthetician. As has always been my experience with facials, it just seems kind of weird, but simultaneously pleasant. She applied and removed various creams and liquids and pastes to my face. They smelled good. In the end, my skin felt soft and my face relaxed, to match the rest of me.

You wouldn’t know it from the outside, but Comfort and Joy Wellness Spa is an oasis of bliss in the middle of Fairfax and well worth the trip if you want to feel relaxed and rejuvenated.