Morning Belz, March 25
Young's Asian Massage
Yesterday I swung by Young’s Asian Massage, the spa in Acworth, Ga., where a gunman killed four people and wounded a fifth a little over a week ago. No huge revelations to report, but a couple quick observations.
The business is tucked into a new-ish looking strip mall just off and below a four-lane road in the northern suburbs about 40 minutes from downtown Atlanta. It was sunny. Piles of flowers and anti-racism signs covered the entrance of the spa, and the hair salon and boutique on either side were open for business.
A somewhat unhinged-looking white man — tall, middle-aged, pot-bellied, blue tanktop, missing teeth, saliva tracers between his lips when he spoke — was standing in front of the flowers.
“Can you believe this? I got massages here,” he said.
I did my usual, “yeah man” when I don’t particularly want to engage, and he stepped into the open entrance of the hair salon next door, where two Hispanic women were talking. One was sitting, color combed into her hair, waiting for it to set. The other was standing, presumably the salon owner.
The guy started asking questions. Did you hear the shooting? How many shots did he fire? I winced. Seemed inappropriate. The women pretended they didn’t understand what he was saying. Then he said, “You guys are lucky he didn’t come over here and start shooting!” I grimaced. He didn’t mean any harm, I don’t think, he just had no manners.
The guy departed after making his presence known, and took a few steps away from the door, when an engine back-fired on the big four-lane road above the strip mall. It sounded a little like a gunshot, and the guy was spooked. He scampered back to his car. The women in the hair salon cackled at him (the lady getting highlights even slapped her knee) as he pulled out of the parking lot.
The women told me they were fine, everything was OK for them. I didn’t press them much, because, as you know if you’ve been reading these letters, I’m trying to interview Asian-Americans right now.
I went to the next strip mall to the east, which was shabbier, and there was another massage business, this one called Lu Massage, next to a driver improvement school. It was open. I went in. An American Girl doll sat on a table keeping watch at the entrance. A lady came out of one of the rooms and asked if I wanted a massage. I said, “no, but I have a question.” I had the camera around my neck. I think she quickly sorted out what I was about.
“I’m sorry, too busy,” she said. She did have a customer waiting in the room she’d just left. And that was that.
The ship in the Suez Canal is still stuck — Bloomberg
The Usumacinta, like the Rio Grande but with jaguars — LAT
Men seeking work drive illegal border crossing surge — WSJ
16% of adults avoid shots bc they’re afraid of needles — JAN
Right-to-repair debate for tractors rages on — WSJ
Biden having first news conference — WaPo
White House weighs gun control executive orders — NYT
“I am Boutros Boutros Ghali, put down your guns and listen to Bob Marley.” — Boutros Boutros Ghali, on the Ali G Show, 2003
About: I was a newspaper reporter for 14 years, most recently at the Minneapolis Star Tribune. I explained why my family left Minneapolis here. Now we live just outside Chattanooga and I work on Scuffed News, a project that either succeeds by July or will have to be abandoned. This is my newsletter. Please share it with anyone you think might enjoy it. And please consider supporting this work with your money on Patreon.