This past weekend, my mom, sister and I had a girls’ afternoon. This consisted of going out for pedicures (a first for my sister, Renee) and lunch. Renee picked me up at eleven so we could drive over to meet mom at a local mall. When I say that we went to get pedicures, I don’t mean the kind of spa service you have to schedule. We went to a place in the mall with a cartoony neon sign, not unlike another establishment near us of the same category: O.K. Nails. Who wants okay nails?
Anyhow, it was a fabulous affair. Like I mentioned, my sister had never had a pedicure before and was feverish over her foot calluses. What I mean is that she was militantly determined that no one touch them. She is convinced that if they are filed down, buffed off, or otherwise tampered with, her athletic prowess might be diminished (there will be some impenetrable clinical study sent to my inbox the instant she’s read this). I think she’s crazy, but if she believes she’s the Samson of foot-calluses, that’s her dilemma. We sisters have to choose our battles wisely.
So the three of us cross the salon’s threshold and we’re instantly hit in the eyes and nostrils with that pungent, tear-jerking smell of acetone and chlorine, not to mention probably a million other hazardous chemicals that we’re about to get intimate with. One of the nail technicians is even wearing a mask. I would have liked one too.
Can I get you a complementary beverage, Miss? Water? Coke? May I activate the heat on your leather massage chair? Would you like help strapping on this free gas mask?
Yes to all.
We each chose a nail polish (except for mom, who had dutifully brought hers) and were ushered into our massage chairs (which could be another whole post because only mom’s was fully functioning, and my sister and I found ourselves suddenly creeping backward in the middle of our service, like sliding back the drivers seat, only you’re not driving, and someone’s holding on to your feet). The poor young man in charge of my pedicure seemed as though this may have been his very first, which brought me an irrational immediate joy. He looked about 19, was incredibly nice, and spoke probably the best English of the three working with us, so he and I were able to carry on some good conversation during and after the episode.
Despite my enthusiasm for his trial by fire, his cohorts appeared less than thrilled at his performance. While they asked my mom and sister what kind of pedicure each would like, he failed to ask me anything. I was getting whatever spa service he could conjure up at that moment, which made me wonder what C would do in his shoes.
That thought made me laugh silently but maniacally - this was going to be a scream. The other two were scrubbed with salts and oils; I was scrubbed with a washcloth. Their bubbling footbaths looked warm and soothing; Mine (and I take my share of responsibility for not speaking up) was scalding, and every time I removed a swollen, lobster-red foot from the bath, there was a frighteningly well-defined line where the water level had been. The others had flip-flops placed gently and appropriately on their feet; I had an unwieldy foam trap jammed onto my right foot so that I was really only wearing one side of it. The other thong was flattened underneath my big toe. I was flip-less. Flop-less. Has this guy worn flip-flops?? Ever?? Mercifully, the ladies were still darting their eyes at my feet. They started yammering at him in another language with such speed and consequence that even I felt horrible when they were through.
In the end, all was well. My flip-flop was adjusted. My little pigs looked beautiful. He started my pedicure first, and we ended last, but at least we got to talk about the Celtics and fishing, so that helped. I tipped him well too, because he was working under more stressful conditions than anyone I’d ever seen, and also because I knew instantly that I would tell his story later, which I’ve done. Lunch was good, company best, but that pedicure will live in infamy, like a first kiss gone horribly wrong.
Oh wow, I missed your face [and kissed your sister].
That kind of wrong.