My Conversation With The Bad Ass Russian Pedicurist

I am trying to look at my next couple of months without work not as a time of unemployment, but as an ‘opportunity to focus on my health and my writing’. It’s the Zen way to keep myself from freaking out and screaming Why can’t I get more narrating gigs? Why didn’t I teach summer classes? When will Tim Burton and Johnny Depp break up? So. Ahhhh. Back to my meditative state.

To stay sane, I need a schedule, so my basic schedule is (after I’ve taken the kids to school when I have them): work out, write, read. Those are the three things I need to accomplish every day. Today I added one more: Get Pedicure. It’s not wholly self-indulgent. Last week my son pointed at my feet and said “Your feet look really weird, Mom.” And I realized, yeah, my soles needed some buffing because they were sorta looking like I had some weird creature that was going to hatch from my heel. Ew.

I decided not to go to the cheap Korean pedicure place because I always get this one guy and he’s really rough. Plus I feel a little creeped out with a dude manipulating my toes. It just doesn’t seem NATURAL.

So I went to a bonafide salon. Instead of a Korean working on me, this time I got someone from what used to be called Russia (and I just don’t know what it’s called anymore, maybe it's Republic of Fear or something.)

She was nice, but very…strict. It began like this (and you should read her with a thick Slavic accent.)

LADY WITH SLAVIC ACCENT PUTTING OUT ASSORTMENT OF TOWELS AND GYNECOLOGICAL-LOOKING INSTRUMENTS: I see your name. Tanya. What is that?

ME: What do you mean? It’s my name.

LADY SCRUBBING MY FEET: Yes. I know. But what are you? You Greek? I know a lot of Greek Tanyas.

ME: Really? I’ve never met a Greek Tanya. I don’t think I’ve actually met a Greek anyone. Some people think I’m Russian.

LADY USING SHARP TINY TONGS ON MY CUTICLES: If you were Russian, your name would be Tatiana. But it’s not. What? Your mom just like the name?

ME: Yep. I think she was obsessed with Dr. Zhivago or something.

LADY RUBBING MY LEGS LIKE TRYING TO ERASE BLOOD STAINS: My name is Isabella. Not a Russian name. Everyone call me Bella. My mom, she just like the name, so. Here I am.

ME: Oh? You’re Russian? Cool.

 

We then had a few minutes of awkward silence and as she aggressively worked on my feet I started to sweat a little. I sat a little straighter in my chair. I mean, she was RUSSIAN and they have like gulags there. Then I started thinking about goulash and I wondered if they were related semantically, and then I just wanted to go to Coney Island and have chili fries. That’s how my mind works.

 

BELLA: Pick a color.

ME: Oh? Okay. From here?

BELLA: Yeah. Just tell me the number. I don’t need the color. Just the number.

ME: Oh. Okay? Uhm….how about…I dunno…9? She looked at me and I felt a bead of sweat dribble between my boobs. I HATE when that happens.

 

BELLA: You sure? She stared at me. Holy shit? WAS I sure? Did I pick the wrong number? Would she break my toes because I didn’t choose 11? I mean, 9 was pink and I’m not really a pink person, but I wanted something cute and feminine…and shit….I should have gone with 17. BLACK!

 

ME: Sure? I mean, yeah? 9?

 

Suddenly, I was that annoying person that speaks only in question marks.

Bella didn’t say anything, just nodded curtly as if to say: dah.

 

BELLA: You come here before?

ME: No. I usually go to a cheap place…but…I uh…live close to here…

BELLA: You live close and you no come here? You come here from now on.

 

It wasn’t a question.

 

ME: Okay.

 

She then worked on my feet and I tried to behave and read my book quietly. She did a mint rub on my toes and wrapped them in towels. When she was finished, I sorta felt like I’d been dipped in Christmas I was so minty.

She smiled kindly and helped me waddle to the dryer for my toes.

Then she disappeared. I don’t think she defected or anything. I mean, she’s probably got family here and stuff.

I dried my toes. I breathed a sigh of relief.

And now I’m writing this with deliciously girly-cute pink toes, and I feel like I have a new friend. Next time I’ll try to ask her for emotional advice because I’m pretty sure Bella is pragmatic as hell and she’ll tell me to stop being such a pussy and man up. I like that in a person. It’s something I’ve been yearning for. I’m pretty sure that if you’re raised in Russia, you learn how to bite nails and stuff when you’re a toddler.

That’s what I like to think anyway.

And I’m now contemplating changing my name to Tatiana. It’s just damned sexy and tough sounding, especially when I say it with a bad Russian accent.