Monday, December 11, 2017

Nancy Kilpatrick Writer: The Politics of PedicuresI have bad feet and nee...

Nancy Kilpatrick Writer: The Politics of Pedicures

I have bad feet and nee...
: The Politics of Pedicures I have bad feet and need pedicures to walk. I almost never get polish but use that time for more work on my fee...
The Politics of Pedicures

I have bad feet and need pedicures to walk. I almost never get polish but use that time for more work on my feet, the nails, the dead skin. Anyone who has had a pedicure knows the drill.

I went to the spa where I get pedicures, today's pedicurist the cranky woman who I have seen 3 times, ever. She is the best mani-pedi person there but the snarliest. The second I sat down she said to me, "Remember, you're to work with me, not against me. Don't scare me!" She said this because in the past I have emoted verbally when something she did was painful. I am a self-acknowledged wuss, for which she chided me, "Let me do my job!"

Going at the end of the day isn't a good idea. The pedicurist is probably tired. I definitely am. But I needed this pedi badly and managed to get a same-day appointment when I phoned this morning. I prefer this woman because she does such a thorough and excellent job and the results last weeks. My regular pedi-ist does a good job but not a great job, and within a couple of days I have to make a few repairs myself. But that, I have found, is standard with mani-pedi-ists. It's hard to find an exceptional person in any field. The regular pedi-ist wasn't in today, so that left me with the cranky one whose work I prefer but, due to loyalties to the regular, today was spent with the unpleasant, the one I usually don't see. Politics, I suppose.

While the cranky pedi-ist was clipping out this and that from my toes and wiping the tool on the towel between each clip, at one point, instead of hitting the towel with the sharp clipper or whatever that rounded, scissor-like tool is, she accidently stabbed my little toe with the tool's point and I said (calmly for me, I thought), "Ouch!" She didn't react. When she got to the little toe to work on that nail she saw the little drop of blood and said, "Oh, what's this? I didn't touch you." "Actually," said I, the great proponent of honestly, "you did." And then I explained to her when and how, and why I said "Ouch!" While dabbing antiseptic onto the wee wound, she said she didn't remember doing this. After all this there was the usual dead silence as she continued to work.

Another employee came in leaving for the day and they spoke in a language I thought might be Russian so I asked when we were alone. It was Russian. I told her I'd been to Russia this year, and it was as if the gates of heaven had opened and this cranky, taciturn mani-pedi-ist morphed into a pleasant, talkative human being, SO chatty I had trouble leaving because I couldn't find a break in her run-on sentences.

I visited St. Petersburg with a friend, not on a cruise, which most of the tourists seem to be part of, but on our own. The formerly-cranky pedi-ist is from a different region, no longer part of Russia, but has fond memories of Russia. We talked about the Hermitage, about Rasputin, the Romanovs, Faberge eggs, Moscow oligarchs and a lot of bits and pieces. I told her I liked the young people a lot, but said nothing about the old people, almost all of whom were as cranky and taciturn as my pedicurist had been until today. She said the young are part of a new world, and they didn't go through what "we did", which of course is very true. I then mentioned how in every part of the Hermitage and also the Yusupoc Palace where Rasputin was murdered, everywhere, guards, the ticket-takers, the information desks, 99% were workers over 50 and many senior citizens. "Maybe it's a way of employing people," I suggested. "No," she said emphatically, "the young people don't want those jobs. Museums are boring to the young." And on and on we went, covering as many topics as could be discussed during the exfoliation and then massage of my calves and feet.

She was so cheerful when I left that now I'm afraid I'll hurt her feelings when I go back to the regular mani-pedi-ist because of my obsession with loyalty, which conflicts with my wish to not hurt anyone's feelings unnecessarily, which conflicts with my need for a great and lasting pedicure to help with mobility, which conflicts with my equally great desire to sell my books because the regular pedi-ist bought a copy of #1 in my new series and will likely buy #2 and I'm pretty sure the formerly-cranky-pedi-ist will never buy any of my books.

At least I had a great pedi today, and happily that means I won't have to think about either mani-pedi-ist for the next 4 to 6 weeks. With some luck, one of them will be on a winter holiday then!

Friday, December 01, 2017

Nancy Kilpatrick Writer: Speaking of Quebec, Speaking in Quebec...We're on ...

Nancy Kilpatrick Writer: Speaking of Quebec, Speaking in Quebec...We're on ...: Speaking of Quebec, Speaking in Quebec... We're on the road to a provincial election so naturally swords have been drawn for battle i...
Speaking of Quebec, Speaking in Quebec... We're on the road to a provincial election so naturally swords have been drawn for battle in the Quebec legislature, and, as always, the issue of language is raised. This time around the politicians have been offended because shop people in Montreal have a tendency to say to customers "Bonjour/Hi!" You know, saying a friendly 'hello' in both languages so the customer can feel relaxed and the shop person can speak either/or. This is beneficial in a lot of ways. Such courtesy reassures industry that they can settle here, and also encourages tourists who are not from a French-speaking country like, say, the U.S.--our closest neighbor to visit and not only NOT be snarled at (as I know some have in the past), but to actually feel welcome. But language is one of those basic hot-topic issues brought up before every election and ALL parties must support getting rid of the Hi! part of this welcome-to-my-shop/cafe/supermarket/etc. in order to keep the French language from becoming extinct. And of course to insure they win the election. And they all did vote to remove the Hi! because there's little if any backbone in a pre-election to say: Really? This matters? It's not a law (yet!), just a suggestion to shop owners to encourage their staff to avoid what some politicians called an 'irritant', that little word in English, 'Hi!' Legislators, I have a suggestion: how about devoting your time and our tax money to fixing problems with QC's health care system instead? Things like my health care issue.

My personal physician (GP) retired June 2016. He told me in March 2016 that in his office, which has 5 or 6 other doctors, none of those doctors had space for taking on another patient; he suggested I get onto the CLSC wait list for a family doctor. (The CLSC is a government set-up agency with offices all over the province where you can deal with small issues, somewhere to get help between the person with the issue and the ER or hospital.) Anyway, I got on the list April 2016. Hearing nothing, I phoned November 2016. A very nice guy told me that yes, I'm still on the list. But he said that since I am healthy, anyone who is ill gets placed before me (completely understandable). People with heart problems, diabetes, lung issues, cancer, etc. etc. all go ahead of me and I am bumped. He said "Maybe next November" I'd get a call. November 2017 has come and gone and still, no call. I am a medical wallflower Now, I'm not one to run to the doctor for every little thing. Mainly I get a checkup so I can buy travel insurance because I travel every year out of Canada. But still, what if I NEEDED a doctor, someone who recognizes me and has my medical history in a folder and it all comes back to him or her when they scan my history. Without such a person, I'd have to go to a clinic and wait (and 6 hrs. is not unrealistic because before I had my GP, I did wait 6 hours a few times). Then I'd see a stranger who would start at square one because he/she wouldn't know me or have any records of my health history.
It seems to me I'm not the only one in this leaky medical boat. I would prefer the legislature to deal with this issue of a family doctor for everyone who wants one, rather than spending hours ranting about shop girls and boys saying 'Bonjour/Hi!' to customers. If there was a candidate with balls, yeah, I'd vote for that person, but since they unanimously voted to do away with the Hi! 'irritant', it tells me that yet again, citizens in Montreal (the vast majority of whom like and value being bilingual), have been thrown under the political bus. And since I'm ranting, it's probably important to add that if I did a survey of all the politicians of every party sitting in the Quebec legislature, I would bet my hard-earned writerly income on what I believe to be true: Every single one of those elected officials of every party has a personal physician. It's just that many of the people they represent do not!