Approximately 3 times a year, I treat myself to a pedicure at a nail salon. Approximately 3 times a year, the nail technicians at the nail salon run to the back room and to do “Rock, Paper, Scissors” to see who gets saddled with my hooves.
“I’m here for my “shoeing”,” I joked today to the Vietnamese girl who runs the place. She doesn’t understand what I’ve said, but she knows my feet. She announces something to the other employees in her native tongue-- something that sounds like:
“Who hasn’t done a horse footed woman, yet?”
I see their faces get longer and their eyes open wider and a younger girl is ushered to the front like a virgin about to be tossed in a volcano.
She says, “Go pick a color,” trembling.
It’s not my fault my feet are nasty…not entirely. Heredity plays a factor--I got the thick heel skin compliments of my mother, and the petrified toenails from Dad. I’m also a long way from my feet because I’m tall. I also have a hard time seeing my feet without my glasses on. I try to moisturize, but nothing penetrates a thousand layers of dead skin.
Today, the day before Mother’s Day, was the busiest I’ve ever seen place. I thought about going home, but my feet are so bad, they’re starting to pick up carpet fibers.
As soon as my feet had soaked and were up on the bench to be worked on, I hear my pedicurist say two addition things in English:
Channel Lock Pliers and Goggles
This was not the soothing, spa experience I was going for. The neophyte was not going to be cowed by my animal heels and was fiercely determined to be the “alpha.” She clipped and sawed and planed like Norm Abrams on the New Yankee Workshop. I sat there, smoke rising, toenails flying like B-Bs, like a 2x4 in shop class.
The next step is optional, but I gave her a “thumbs up” and she took out her razor blade and wicked off my dead skin, forming the mini-blizzard of a snow globe turned upside-down and right-side up again. All the other girls having pedicures turned to watch, and I’m pretty sure the lights went dim and a single, red light shone above me. There was nowhere to look except down…in fascination.
“You should leave a little of that on,” I said, trying to relieve anxiety, “for traction.”
All that embarrassment was worth it--my feet look human again, and my husband, Fred, won’t get all scratched up in bed anymore…
…at least by my feet.