LOS ANGELES—When the cool evening sun sets over Hollywood, Bill Robinson does not go home to his wife and family. For this Alexander Technique teacher, the work day has only just begun.
Robinson, 38, is a two-year veteran of the Alexander police force. Despite earning “danger pay,” he still struggles to stay afloat financially, and has had to take on a second job as a massage therapist just to make ends meet.
“After my electricity and water supply were restored, I suddenly had a lot more bills to pay,” Robinson said. “Jobs are still pretty scarce, but I figured Thai massage pads are always hiring.”
Robinson, who has previously supplemented his income with such part-time jobs as teaching yoga and reading auras, said he was initially unsure that he was qualified for massage work.
“My buddy Frank High worked at the Brotherhood Of Total Thai Massage, and he said he’d put in a good word for me with the head sheik,” Robinson said. “I didn’t expect to hear back for a while, but before I knew it, I got an interview.”
While Robinson had worried that his lack of experience and his creased suit would hurt his chances of being hired, he later said “the only thing they seemed to care about was whether I had a car, a cowboy outfit, and could do out-call.”
Although happy to have extra work, Robinson is not always able to fulfill his duties as a therapist, resulting in some unexpected complications.
“During the day, I enforce non-doing. So many Alexander teachers are tempted to do, to tug or to pull on their students to assist the lengthening and widening. Some teachers so want to make their students feel good that they forget their role is to teach, not to give happy feelings.
“Then at my night job, it’s all doing. It’s all about making the client feel good. Whatever it takes. There’s no educating. There’s no bringing awareness to certain habits that interfere with the client’s good use. Yeah, massage work pays more, but I feel cheap afterward.
“I’d rather be teaching the Alexander Technique, but I just can’t sell this stuff, so I’m forced to join the Alexander police during the day and arrest any teacher who makes a joke of the Technique.”
Robinson lost his left eye six months ago when breaking up a street fight between followers of Patrick MacDonald and Walter Carrington. “Those Patrick blokes are tough dudes,” he said. “Ex-Mossad.”
After less than a month as a massage therapist, the physical and mental strain of working 70-hour weeks can be seen in Robinson’s tired, sunken eyes and stooped posture. Complaining of exhaustion, Robinson said that he doesn’t “know what job [he’s] at half the time.”
“I was screaming that Feldenkrais practicioners are infidels when I realized that I was at the pad,” Robinson said. “Luckily, the other masseuses either weren’t paying attention or they agreed with me.”