Where have I been?
Under a rock called “back-to-school” & junk.
While home schooling can be very rewarding, there are some days when it’s a challenge to juggle the schoolwork that needs to be done between three kids of varying ages (and temperaments and learning styles). Honestly, there are days I want to drive my car into a brick wall just to escape the chaos.
It might already be time for a “Me Day”.
My first thought when considering a “Me Day” used to be, I should go get a mani/pedi!
A lot of folks love the mani/pedi, and who can blame them? Having your hands and feet tended to by experienced folks who are meticulous and make you feel like a princess? Who wouldn’t love that? Being pampered is sometimes greatly needed, and it’s important to do nice things for yourself. It’s good to do the “self-care” thing, yes?
I didn’t get my first pedicure until I was around 40 years old. Can you believe? I was never much of a “girly-girl”, but I do like to have decent-looking feet. This is mostly because I rarely wear anything but flip-flops – even in winter.
Still, it’s not something that I think of getting done often. The technicians at the mani/pedi place usually do a great job, but sometimes, I like doing it myself. Isn’t that the ultimate self-care? Since I’m doing it MYSELF?
And then I recall that my last visit to the nail salon kind of left a bad taste in my mouth because it was totally less than relaxing:
- I did not feel pampered.
- I felt like cattle.
- A pain in the ass with a tip.
The last place I visited was one of the smaller salons that you see popping up everywhere these days. It was really quite posh, but upon entering the door of that particular establishment, I immediately had a weird sense that something was off – there was a lot of negative energy floating around along with the smell of nail-polish remover.
I was hastily shown to one of the big, fancy-schmancy massage chairs with the foot tub (I didn’t even get a chance to choose my nail-polish colors), and a young dude showed me the “menu” of mani/pedi packages without even a hint of eye contact, but with a heaping dose of looking irritated as hell. He started pointing to the different options: Did I want the “Milk & Honey” package? Or the “Mint & Basil”? How about the “Poisonous-Viper-In-Your-Foot-Tub-So-You-Die” package?
I was getting the sense that this guy was having a bad day, but I was also thinking, I don’t really care what package. Do whatever. Just take care of me. I need some serious pampering, good sir.
I picked the “Milk & Honey” and Viper Dude went to work on my tired feet. At that moment, I realized that I don’t really like strange men touching my feet like they’re bloody sausages or something, because that’s exactly what he was doing – like my foot there in his purple rubber-gloved hands was a piece of raw chicken or a scene from “Saw”.
Then I started getting a little self-conscious about the state of my feet, even though they didn’t seem that bad to me. I mean, it wasn’t this sort of deal:
So, to sort of break the ice, I made a meek attempt at small talk.
“Been working in the garden this weekend,” I said with a smile, as if that would excuse the current state of my piggies and they wouldn’t seem so hideous to him. Viper Dude did not acknowledge me. In fact, he looked even more annoyed as he toiled away scrubbing one of my feet, holding it up like he was gutting a fish, and yet approaching his challenge like Mozart writing his last opera. I’m pretty sure I saw a bit of an eyeball-roll. I was seriously starting to sweat over this situation.
One of the other female employees came over to start doing my fingernails. She also looked really irritated, so I foolishly attempted to make her day a little brighter by asking, “Hey, how’s it going?”
This seemed to really, really piss her off. She looked at me with a fake smile, and if she’d had lasers for eyeballs, she would have melted my head right there. What was going ON? I started to worry that this gal was going to paint poison on my nails so that I would die a horrible death later.
As Laser Eyes was setting up her nail stuff, I thought I would make another attempt at some friendly conversation, but the moment my lips started to form the first word, she suddenly started speaking to Viper Dude in another language, and then they both started cackling like hyenas. I was reminded of that episode of “Seinfeld” where Elaine had a feeling that the ladies working in the nail salon were calling her names without her knowledge, and I wished to God that I had a friend who spoke the language and would tell me what they were laughing about. Was it me? Was it my feet? Did I smell?
I looked around to see what was happening with other customers. Were they also being ignored?
I was a little disturbed to find that the other folks having their mani/pedi’s were engaged in lively conversation with their technicians. Ugh. Was I really that heinous?
Laser Eyes and Viper Dude were still working on me while continuing to prattle on cryptically about who-knows-what. This went on and on for the duration of my “treatment”. I felt really uneasy – kind of like I did on the first day of junior high. I tried to distract myself from the hostile environment in which I suddenly found myself by surfing on my iPhone with the hand that wasn’t being poison-polished, but it didn’t do much good.
Laser Eyes finally finished my nails after what seemed like an eternity. I was so relieved that the private conversation about me and my obvious nastiness was over, but what happened next was even more horrifying.
Apparently, the “Milk & Honey” package included a massage, because Laser Eyes came back, reached up, and apathetically started rubbing my shoulders.
Okay, first of all? I was dressed for cold weather, so I had on a shirt, plus a thin sweat jacket. Secondly, she was trying to do this from the side of the fancy massage chair, which is somewhat elevated, and while FACING ME. She probably would have preferred to choke the life out of me, but she was so petite that she could barely reach my shoulders, so I don’t think she could’ve managed to wrap her hands around my throat. It was just really awkward. And she was handling me like a vegetarian handling raw, bloody meat.
Although I gave her a weak smile in an attempt to convey my appreciation of her efforts, I’m sure the look on my face revealed the unease I was feeling. She wasn’t looking at me anyway. A few moments after she started working her magic, she bowed her head down, as if to meditate, and started to chat with Viper Dude again while laughing, as if to say, “This is so not cool with me. At. All. Also? I wish this chick would die.”
Oh, sweet, baby Jesus. Please let it be over.
First world problems, right? It really sucks when the people doing your nails want you to croak.
Viper Dude finished up the sausages. Laser Eyes finished her Massage of Contempt, and then half-looked at me, nodding, as if to say, “All done. Go and die a miserable death now!”
Funny thing is? When I gave them their tips (yes, I tipped them because the feet looked great as did the poison-laden fingernails, and yes, I do understand that they were extremely rude, but I am just too damn nice for my own good – treat people the way you want to be treated and all that), I was now a human being worth acknowledging.
Laser Eyes sang, “Awwwww!!!! Sweetie, you have a wonderful daaaay! Come back soooooon!” With FEELING, even.
“Thank you so much, girl!” said Viper Dude.
The next time I consider taking a “Mental Health Day”, I will take a nap instead.
Do you have any good mani/pedi horror stories? Tell me about them in the comments!