Monday, December 11, 2017

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!


  1. Your feet are now linked to the KGB no doubt.

  2. "...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" I chuckled over that sentence.