Friday, March 25, 2011

The Spotsylvania Creeper

First, a quick shout out to Linda.  Linda caught the Who reference in yesterday's post title.  The cello chorus from that song is my ringtone for a special friend (and reader).  Nobody is going to catch today's reference!

I parked near the entrance to Belk at the mall.  I changed into my pumps, picked up my purse, did a quick check in the mirror and opened the door.

In case you haven't made that first step out the door yet, or if you're at the driving at night stage (and you will move on) or sneaking out when no-one's around, here's what I've learned: it gets easier.

I remember the first time ~ the first few times ~ I was alone and going somewhere.  I sat in my car for what seemed like forever while my inner voice said "now!  You can do it!  C'mon ~ open the door.  Put Your Hand On The Door Handle And Pull NOW."

And I'd sit there.  I'd check and double check and triple check how I look, convinced everyone will know who I am, or someone I know will recognise my car, or I'll drop my car keys on the ground instead of into my purse, or....

A thousand things can go wrong.  A thousand things can go wrong any minute of any day.  That is the path to agoraphobia.

It gets easier.  I never turned the car back on an went home.  I never sat in the car for long; maybe ten minutes, probably less.  It seemed like the sun went down and came back up several times before I moved, that first trip to Fair Oaks mall.

I stepped out, touched the door handle, and the car locked with it's firm beep.  I headed towards the mall.

I always look at people.  There were several walking to or from their cars.  I don't recall anyone in particular looking back.  As I got to Belk, a woman in her 40s was walking out.  She smiled and nodded.  I did the same.

I walked through Belk, noticing where the makeup counter was.  I wanted to get my nails done first, maybe get my makeup redone at one of the department stores, and I had a short shopping list:

* pants liner.  I'm still looking for a pair.
* hose.  The first thing I did getting dressed that day was to snag my big toenail on my hose, leaving a hole on the inside of my left foot, just at the ball.  It wasn't really noticeable so I didn't change at home.  I had a couple of extra pair with me, but I wanted to have an extra extra pair.  It wasn't urgent, but as long as I was going to be in lingerie....  Yes, technically, I've been in lingerie all day, but you know what I mean!
* a nightgown.  I have purchased exactly one nightgown.  I picked up a few from freecycle, others I inherited from my wife when she outgrew them, the rest... I'm not sure.  I remember ordering one from Macy's many years ago.  It's a long nightie, very pretty.  I wanted something above or about knee length; not floor length, not babydoll.  I had a couple of short nighties with me, but I wanted to buy one I liked.

But first on my list was nails.  I walked into the mall and started looking for nail places.  It seemed there were three.

I headed to the right towards Maxus Nails and Skin Care.  It seemed crowded, and I saw a couple of men working among the women.  I prefer women to work on my nails.  The first time I went for a manicure alone, a male manicurist (I think he was the owner) with what I can only describe as a leer sat down to do my nails.  I said "I prefer a female technician."  He looked crestfallen, got up, and a young Asian lady sat down.  I don't care how I'm dressed.  I don't want to be holding hands with a man for a half-hour.

Right next door was a Deb Shop!  I've been wanting to go to one for a long time, and now I had my chance.

But I was on a mission.  I walked around the mall until I found Nails Pizazz.  It looked better, but there was one more shop: Konad Nail Art.  I found it ~ it looked kind of trendy for an older woman such as myself.  They had a banner on the door telling us commoners what's in and what's out.  I was afraid whatever I wanted would be "out."  I know I'm not 18, but I don't need to be reminded.  I headed back to Pizazz.

It was busy, but there didn't seem to be a wait.  A man (again, I think he was the owner) came up and asked what I wanted.  I told him I'd like a manicure and he steered me towards "station 9."

My manicurist was a Vietnamese woman of maybe 25.  Her English was heavily accented and I could not understand a lot of what she said, when she tried to make small talk (or even to tell me to wash my hands), or when I asked her a question.

In spite of the lack of conversation, it was still nice.  I enjoy manicures and pedicures.  She did a nice job on my nails, offered a pleasant hand massage, and my nails dried cleanly.  The first couple of manicures I ruined almost immediately even though I thought the nails were dried well.  These stayed nice until I took off the polish.

She offered to paint flowers on my nails ~ I declined, but I'm not sure why.

She treated me as she would any other customer.

I've said it before: if you've never had a manicure or pedicure, go for it!  Sit down, let your technician do her magic, relax, and enjoy the procedure and the results.

Before I left, I asked if she would take a picture of me with my new manicure.  She gave a pleading look to the man who I saw when I first came in, and he came over.  She told him what I wanted.  He took the camera, and my picture.  Maybe you can see his reflection in the photo.


  1. You are correct. It does get easier with each outing. About 15 years ago I made my first and only visit to a support group in Norwalk Ct. After the meeting a number of the attendees decided to drive to Triangles Cafe. I drove there and managed to get out of the car but never had the courage to go in.

    This past Saturday I completed the circle and attended the Triangles CD party. It was a great time and an educational and enlightening experience.

  2. Sage advice, Meg.

  3. Thanks for the shout out, Meg. And I have no idea who or what a Spotsylvania Creeper is.

    Really enjoyed your story. You look great and your nails are lovely. Sounds like you had a great time.

  4. Meg, hope you don't mind me using your comment area to say hello to Pat Scales.

    Pat, would love to hear about the Triangles CD party. Would have sent you an e-mail but have apparently misplaced your address.

    Thanks, Meg.


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