Thursday, September 11, 2014

"Relax Your Hand"

As I said, it was a five hour drive from Annandale to Kitty Hawk, where we were staying.  We made one stop at a gas station in Southeast Virginia.  I went inside to use the ladies', and a woman behind the counter was doing some bookkeeping.  She looked up and said "I'll be with you in a moment."  I decided that I didn't really need her full attention since I wasn't making a purchase at the moment so I said "where is the restroom?"  She pointed and said "I'm sorry.  It's over there, through that door, then second door on the left."  The first door had a sign on it reading "closed for maintenance," but it wasn't and the ladies' (yes, second door ~ even though I asked for the restroom [deliberately] she pointed me at the ladies' room) was a single-stall affair, functional but filthy and previously inhabited by a hoverer.  I took advantage of my privileged status and privacy level and stood but cleaned the seat for the next victim anyway.

sandy, yes, but they STILL look good, 10 days later!
Our next stop was on the Outer Banks.  It was getting late for Sunday shops, so we went to a nail salon that had good reviews on Yelp AND was open on Sunday.  It wasn't there; a different salon was, and it was closed.  We hunted for another salon and found it a couple of miles up the beach, open and available.

Before entering, I swapped out my wedges for my new flip-flops.

When we went in, there were a couple of men and one woman visible, clearly employees.  I said to Charity "I'd rather not have a male technician" and she said "you may not have a choice."

For my first or second manicure, a male technician came over to do my nails.  I was dressed, and as he sat down he leered at me.  I remember that look, and could never think of another name for it.  I said in my (then very soft and a bit shaky) girl voice "I'd rather have a female manicurist" and he looked crestfallen, got up, and sent someone more to my liking over.

We were seated for our mani-pedis in adjacent chairs.  A young lady sat down in front of Charity; a man sat down in front of me.  Charity was nice enough to ask if we could switch; they switched with no questions or issues.  A few minutes in, I remember the massage chair and turned mine on.

The male technician was very chatty; the woman doing my toes was not.  We spoke a bit but mostly she addressed other employees in Chinese, I think.  Most of our conversation involved her asking me if I wanted my nails cut short, and pushing "shellac," which she said would last longer.  I just said no, although I was considering saying it would have to come off in a few days, when I return to work.  I couldn't think of a good answer to the obvious question ("why?") at the time.  Later I did: "because I can't wear nail polish at work."  That might have inspired more questions.  It would have started a conversation at least.  I should have said it.  At one point she said that the polish would start to chip in a couple of days and I said "then maybe I'll be back before leaving the island" and she stopped asking.

I can see Meg in my car!
After the pedicure she very carefully slid my flip-flops back on so as to not damage her artwork.  I wanted to ask about nail art, but I didn't know how or when to bring that up so I didn't.  A little painting on my big toes would be nice.

She did my manicure as well; a different girl did Charity's and she sat at a different pair of tables.  A female customer with copious tattoos and gauged ears (are y'all surprised I knew the name for this and didn't say "grommets in her earlobes?") was seated next to her.  The seat next to me was empty.

As she was doing her pre-paint washing and filing the technician twice told me to relax my hand.  The second time, I replied by lying.  I said, very softly, "I'm sorry.  This is my first time in a nail salon."  Softly, both because it would seem confessional and because I didn't want Charity to call out "it is not!"

Ladies, this is a Good Lie.  You're now the little sister, leaning on your big sister's experience and expertise.  Yes, it's a bit manipulative but I believe it's harmless and helpful.

Until that point the technician seemed almost bored and distracted.  She looked past me, out the front window and again chatted with other employees in her native tongue.  But now, she became talkative, and we had a nice chat, two girls at the salon.  The mani-pedi wasn't expensive ($35) and I left a $10 tip in cash, which I think was generous.

While our nails were drying, we sat opposite the tattooed lady.

I kid around a LOT.  It's my normal condition.  I do a lot of what I call hit-and-run humour.  I will do a one-liner, or force a straight line, make my joke and scoot.  I couldn't leave in this situation but I joked around with Charity, about the area, about the manicure, and about whatever came to mind.  I kept glancing at Tattoo, who smiled a few times so I brought her into the conversation (she called the ear thing gauging and said it hurt more than the tattoos).  I think I made it less boring for all of us ~ she told us a lot about herself and we shared too (not EVERYTHING though!).  Again, a little girltalk... my favourite (public) interaction.

1 comment:

  1. It sounds like you had a wonderful opening day to your adventure to the outer banks.


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