In Which I Get Therapy From The Russian Pedicurist

The horror of my daily work schedule continues. I’m so busy that I don’t even have time to poop.  

(Actually, that’s not true, but I thought I’d write it because Kealoha installed a new toilet in our house this week and I have tried to avoid talking about anything scatological because it makes me curl up in the fetal position. I have a bathroom phobia…and let me tell you the bathrooms in Paris…NOT a romance. More like a nightmare. But I digress.)


Anyway. So last week I finally had a day to get caught up on grading, narration prep, housework, etc., and realized I had a two-hour block of time so I called up the local salon and went for a pedicure. My hobbit-feet needed desperate tending. Even my seven-year old son told me that maybe I needed to do something about my toes.


So I went in and was delighted to be assigned the Russian pedicurist. I envisioned our conversation and how I could maybe talk to her about all my stress and work load and she could offer pragmatic Russian advice in a thick accent like: Get over yourself. You are not important.


It was not to be. She worked on my feet but ignored me entirely. It was okay. This is part of her charm. She doesn’t give her clients what they want. She does what she wants.


When the pedicure was almost done and I’d stopped squirming from her touching my feet (I don’t actually like getting a pedicure. I find it weird and awkward.) she said in her thick accent: “It is gray outside today.”


I wondered if she was quoting a Hemingway story. Then I said, “I actually like gray days.”


She breathed heavily. “You do? Thank you. I like gray days too, but I never tell my clients that because they like the sun. Me? Not so much. On gray days you can…” She gestured in the air and I said, “On gray days you can relax.”


“Yes,” she said. “Exactly.” She smiled then. Or maybe it was a facial tic. Anyway she said, “You know, they aren’t exactly gray days.”


“No. They are silver.”


I nodded and sat back in my chair. I think there’s something profound about that statement and I think I fell a little bit in love with her right then. And then she told me that she wasn’t actually Russian but Armenian which, she said, is similar to Greek. I didn’t know what to say to that so I said “Cool” and I hope she understood that what I was really saying was “Thank you for saying that gray days are silver and for having an accent and for being just plain interesting.”


I also wanted to thank her for not making fun of my freakishly long second toes, but I thought maybe that would be too intimate.


I hobbled out of the salon back into the chaos of my current work life. At least while I’m running from the university to the studio, I know I’m running with sparkling toes under a silver sky. That’s a comfort.