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Damon – Unexpected Propositions

CRAZY PERSON
Image by Andrew Poynton from Pixabay

If you’d like to keep up with the growing number of posts on this blog, you can visit the Contents page to find them organised by chronology, topic or location.

Unexpected Propositions

Before I started to write seriously, and before I started teaching English online, I was a massage therapist in London for about 10 years. I trained in Shiatsu, which for the uninitiated is a fully clothed, acupressure massage from Japan.

There is a lot of firm pressure to tender pressure points. It isn’t very sexy. It’s very therapeutic. There is no skin on skin contact, no oil, no towels. It involves thumbs, elbows and sometimes feet. I also did a lot of onsite, corporate massage. Which also isn’t very sexy. It is also fully clothed and consists of lot of elbows in tight shoulders. Onsite massage takes place in a special kind of massage chair, often in a spare office or empty meeting room, and occasionally in stranger places like the back corner of the cafeteria or in a large disabled toilet.

Over the years I’ve had a few unexpected advances or propositions. I would usually arrange the booking by email or messenger, often without speaking to or seeing the person until we were face to face and about to start the treatment.

I became an expert at detecting when expectations weren’t in line with what I was offering.

One such near-miss was when I got a message requesting a midweek, afternoon treatment in a suburb of London (I would travel to see clients when I had the time, but I preferred when they came to my clinic). We agreed the time, place and price easily enough, but there was something in the back of my mind that didn’t feel quite right. He always used the word ‘massage’ and not Shiatsu. I asked the client where he’d found my details and rather than saying my website, he mentioned a massage listing site that I wasn’t on (well, to my knowledge I wasn’t on it).

So I asked him who he was expecting. His answer was a ‘hot blonde lady’.

HOT BLONDE LADY
Image by Claudio_Scott from Pixabay

Well, I am blonde, and my wife thinks I’m hot… But I’m definitely not a lady.

That was a potentially disappointing situation for both of us. Successfully avoided!

Fast forward a few years, to yesterday. I stopped providing massage myself when I left the UK in 2016 and settled in Greece. Since then I’ve focused on teaching English as a Foreign Language, but I kept the massage business and website running until the pandemic hit London in March of 2020 and shut it all down. Until then I had clients and therapist friends, and an amazing virtual assistant who was managing it all.

I also kept my old phone number from the UK for ‘just in case’ situations. The SIM card is wedged into an old iPhone 4 with a terrible battery so needs to be constantly plugged in.

Yesterday I noticed that someone was Facetiming me on that number. I didn’t recognise the caller so I hit the automatic reply of “Sorry I can’t talk right now”.

I’m a bit shy and don’t like talking to randoms calling an old phone number.

I also noticed that the phone number was from ‘+1’ the USA.

Maybe a sales call?

The call stopped and unplugging the phone, I sat down and looked at it.

The first message read 

‘Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiey I’m Damon would love a massage from you’

Then 16 more messages and several missed calls that went something like this:

‘Are you there’

‘Please answer me’

‘Hello are you there please answer me please thanks’

‘Are you there please answer me please thanks’

‘I’m Damon by the way could you please answer me please thanks’

‘Please answer me please thanks’

‘Are you there please answer me please thanks’

‘Please answer me please thanks’

‘Are you available to chat (bubble)’

‘Please answer me please thanks’

‘Are you there please answer me please thanks’

‘Could we please chat (bubble) text me back please thanks’

‘Are you there please answer me please thanks’

‘Please answer me please thanks’

At this point, I had sent my ‘Sorry I can’t talk right now’ message

Quick as a flash, I get a reply message 

‘Okay could we chat (bubble) when you get time please thanks’

I explain in my next message that due to the pandemic I’m no longer giving massage, but perhaps I can connect him with someone I know. I asked for his location.

MASSAGE IN LONDON
Image by Angelo Esslinger from Pixabay

I’m thinking that maybe Damon is visiting London and just really, really needs a massage and is also extremely polite.

‘Colorado’

‘United States’

Hmmm… I don’t even know anyone in Colorado, except for this one guy from MySpace, called Antenna10, he was an experimental electronic artist from Denver. But I have no idea if he does massage. Here is his Youtube channel in case you’re interested. His rockier side project was called Tummy Pills. 

I proceed to tell Damon that I was based in London and don’t even know anyone in Colorado. I decline to mention Antenna10.

‘Okay but after the pandemic are you going to go back to massage just wondering’

Now, I like that Damon uses proper grammar and spelling but his lack of punctuation was bugging me a little bit. I am an English teacher and a pedant, after all.

I tell Damon that it is unlikely, as I did it for 10 years and needed a change. And that we’re still in different parts of the world. I decided to leave out the part about my relocation to Greece. I don’t want him jumping on a plane or anything like that.

‘Yeah okay just wondering want to be friends’

GODDAMNIT MAN PUNCTUATION!!!!!

I don’t answer

‘Do you want to become friends’

‘So would you like to be friends’

I like how he rephrases his questions in case there is a lack of understanding on my side. He’s thorough!

Meanwhile, I’m relaying the exchange to my wife who listens with mild levels of tolerance to the unfolding story and my growing amusement.

My reply ‘Sorry Damon, I don’t think so.’

‘Okay’

I go on,

‘I’m sure there are better ways to meet people in your area or online? With Common interests…’

‘I know you don’t do massages anymore but just wondering do you like money and getting paid’

I think about this for a moment and decide to take the risk of making a potentially dogmatic statement.

‘Everyone likes money, Damon. But just for the record, I’m a 43-year-old married guy… So I might not be who or what you’re looking for…’

‘You don’t have to do much’

‘There’s just a little thing’

‘Do you want me to tell you about it’

Hmmm, persistent little bugger, but at least he’s polite and I’m not being subject to whatever this is without giving my permission. I kind of get how women might feel about getting sent an unsolicited dick-pic. Wouldn’t it be nice to be given the choice?

‘Dick-pic?’

‘No thank you!’ 

I contemplate a moment, but the temptation to know gets the better of me. And besides, he’s being so darn polite!

‘Sure, go ahead’

‘It’s kinda weird but do you want to hear about it’

‘Ok, but I’m probably not interested’ I write back

I say probably because, you know, if the money is right… Maybe he’ll pay my expenses too. I do feel the need to switch it up a bit with the teaching, and the money isn’t exactly rolling in from the writing yet. Perhaps he’s loaded and just wants a really good massage from a guy on the other side of the world?

Damon continues,

‘So like all you would have to do is sit on a chair [?] and I lay underneath you and [all] you do is rub my bare back with your bare feet

To be honest I was a little disappointed in Damon. Rubbing his back with my bare feet… That’s not so far off what Shiatsu actually is. Ok, so less rubbing and more giving strong pressure. But if this guy really wanted to he could probably find a local Shiatsu or Thai Yoga Massage therapist in his area and not have to do all of this silly messaging.

My reply,

‘Well, that’s not so weird, but we’re still in different parts of the world… Probably you could find someone local who could do that…’

‘Yeah I know but would you do it though’

‘Like if I came to visit you’

Now I’m glad I didn’t tell him where I live.!

‘I think not. But thanks for the offer.’

‘But would you at least try it though’

Time to end this.

‘No. Sorry.’

‘Okay byeeeee’

And then my phone died.

So I didn’t get to say goodbye to Damon. And when the phone charged up enough to reply I didn’t feel the need.

Do I miss being a massage therapist? Not exactly.

Part 7 of the Adventures of Kiwi in India – My Travel Companion in India Part 2 – is coming soon!

But until then, why not sign up to our newsletter and be informed as soon as the next post is published!

 

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My Under Earning Journey – Part 3 – Plant a Tree

In case you’ve missed any of the growing number of posts on this blog, you can check out the Contents post to find them in some sort of order or chronology and/or organisation by topic or location.

Image by eko pramono from Pixabay

I am strangely interested in my on-going lack of ability to make significant sums of money.

I’ve decided to write about it, so hopefully exploring it will help me work it out and help others along the way.

I’ve written about this before, Part 1, Part 2, but I started to build my fortune some years ago. Back in 2013 or 2014 I decided that I would make my fortune by regularly putting a small amount of pocket change into Bitcoins, and HODL them (not long after HODL became a thing) forever, riding the ups and downs to make a profit on the rise of Cryptocurrency in general.

Actually, all I managed to do was put £20 (approximately $30) into the Bitcoin ATM at the Google Campus in London. I was working upstairs at TechHub delivering onsite chair massage to the various Startups that resided there.

It turned out to be a bit more complicated than just sticking £20 into a machine and getting some Bitcoins in exchange. For a start, the machine didn’t accept cash. Which makes sense in retrospect. Who wants to go around clearing out cash from machines for virtual currency when the world was already moving towards cashless.

I recall that the payment portals excluded PayPal, which was the main way I was being paid at the time, so that put further limits on my ability to acquire coins.

Image by Nattanan Kanchanaprat from Pixabay

So that £20 was my only purchase and simply sat in the app on my phone for a long time. This was when there were few exchanges to purchase cryptocurrency and it was pretty hard to make it work anyway.

My 0.1 of a Bitcoin lost value almost instantly (to something like £17) and after a while, I forgot to keep checking on it.

Some years later, around September of 2017, as the price of Bitcoin reached a new high of $5000, I realised that I had been right in my early assumptions of making money from crypto, as my $30 was now worth upwards of $500 and growing.

However, when I consulted my app I found that it was no longer functional on my phone, and not available on the app store. Further investigation, which prompted me to open a Reddit account, lead me to the conclusion that my crypto had gone the way of many other Bitcoins, and was lost to the ether… The founder of the Bitcoin ATM had been involved in some stupid fraudulent activity and been caught. I gave up hope of ever seeing that piece of digital money ever again.

Time to be more careful!

Crypto wallets are much more secure than a random app on your phone. But off-line crypto wallets are the most secure.

This is a long way of saying that despite my early adoption of Crypto, I failed miserably on security.

This is Lesson Number 1!

Since then I have learned a lot. But this painful lesson lead me to be inactive in further acquisitions. Until April and May of 2019. I know that because while doing my taxes I found the transactions.

This time I sank around £50/$70 in each of those two months into two promising new cryptocurrencies, that overcame some of the limitations of Bitcoin. Through sharding. (That’s with a D, not a T).

This is a way of scaling and spreading transactions as the blockchain gets longer and transactions increase. Making it quicker and able to handle more transactions per second.

Image by Nattanan Kanchanaprat from Pixabay

My two Cryptos investments? Quarkchain and Zilliqa.

Both had different techniques in achieving these faster transactions, and I’m not going to bore you with them here. Partly because I can’t remember the differences now, and also because there are much better resources at the end of a search than I would provide for you.

Needless to say, I made my purchases and then life happened and I forgot about then until recently.

So how did my investments go?

When writing this on the 20th of January 2021 (Inauguration day!), my investments were thus:

Quarkchain turned my £50/$70 into a whopping £11.41/$15.62! 

Zilliqa, on the other hand, has grown from £50/$70 to £130.07/$178.06

So I’m happy that 50% of my gamble (let’s face it) paid off with a nearly 260% increase in 21 months. Of course, if I’d put more money in I could have grown it even more.

Edit: Since then both coins have increased, Zilliqa has doubled again and Quarkchain is now worth $38, so while not a full recovery it shows the correct trajectory! 

But that’s not all. I’ve been using the online bank, Revolut, for a few years and when they introduce the ability to purchase cryptocurrencies I decided to pop a few quid in when my limited budget allowed.

So since February of 2020, I’ve invested a total of £82.36/$112.71 in a mixture of Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ripple, Ether and Bitcoin Cash (because these were all available in the app) and with the exception of Ripple (which has some legal problems and seems a bit dubious, I managed to sell for a breakeven) all coins have increased to a total value of £217/$297!

So far I’m much happier with my crypto investing in recent years than when I first started.

I’ve also done some speculation with fractional shares, investing other bits of change into Zoom, Alibaba and Tesla.

Bad timing for Alibaba with Jack Ma falling foul of the Chinese government. Hopefully, he’ll keep his nose clean going forwards and the stock will continue to rise. I really want to see my £30 grow!

But my investment in Tesla doubled in a short few months…

If only I had more than £40 at the time!

Next steps are to sell some of my ‘crypto holdings’ and consolidate it into a service called HODLBot, which takes your crypto and automatically buys and sells to follow the rise and fall of the market to keep a balanced portfolio. (Although there are specific trading bots that buy low and sell high to make money. I will write about Crypto bots in a future post).

So far this has been an exercise in self-education and proof of concept for me. Hopefully, I’ll be able to convince some friends and family to take a little gamble with an amount that they could suffer potentially losing and put some money into a few coins.

For a post that is rather heavy on numbers and percentages you may be wondering what the take away is?

I would suggest that this Old Chinese proverb provide some food for thought:

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”

Image by Nattanan Kanchanaprat from Pixabay

To spell it out for you, if you are also interested in growing a nest egg or planting a money tree, that there has never been a better time than right now! 

Naturally, you should do plenty of research first, but that information can be gathered easily on the Internet. Just be sure to keep your crypto wallet info secure and only risk money that you can afford to lose and don’t need to have available on short notice.

Suffice to say that this is not financial advice. I am not a financial advisor. Your capital is at risk.

The next part of My Under Earning Journey – is coming soon!

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