Finding connection at the nail salon

pedicure1

With Baby Girl set to arrive in just over one week, I decided to use some time today to take care of a task that every woman hopes to accomplish pre-baby: a pedicure.

I like to bring my own polish with me because the thought of the brush touching other people’s toenails makes me gag a little.  Afflicted by indecision, I was struggling to choose between three colours: OPI Malaga Wine, Zoya Elodie, and Zoya Tara.  I figured the best way to reach a decision would be to put each colour on a few toes and compare for optimal emotional reaction, as in…

Which colour would make me feel the most ready to have my abdomen slit open and a baby pulled out of it?

Reaching my toes to apply the polishes was nothing short of a pre-baby miracle.  Stuff a large beachball under your shirt and see how easy it is to access your feet.  The fact that I also managed to paint all of the skin around the nails too didn’t bother me because I was conducting important research and I knew my aesthetician would make it all better today.  No one but us would see my toes looking like my 2-year-old son had painted them.

OPI was victorious in my experiment.

So off to the local nail place I went this morning, leaving my supportive husband to have some father/son bonding time while simultaneously making homemade vegetable soup to batch freeze for the upcoming days of chaos when I will likely choose sleep over cooking for myself or anyone else.

Like many women, I usually use my time in the pedi seat to catch up on texts, update my instagram, and read a book.  I’m always appreciative of the person working on my feet – goodness knows they are performing a public service – but I don’t spend time getting to know them or chatting.

Today was different though.

The Korean man who sat down in front of me took one look at the mess I had created myself on my toes and, with sincere incredulousness, asked me “Who did this to you?”  For real people, I LOL’d. And of course that drew the attention of some of the other customers nearby, who then looked at my hack job.  No one else was supposed to see it! But then I thought ‘Enh, who really cares!’ and we all had a good laugh.

So because my appointment began with this endearing comment from my pedicurist, I was less inclined to pull out my phone or my book.  I did – but I popped my head up more regularly to smile at him or ask him the odd question about himself.  When he got to the leg and foot massage part of the service, I put my other distractions down and closed my eyes.  Call me crazy, but I think doing this actually resulted in a longer massage. Think about it – would you want to linger on rubbing a stranger’s feet if they were absorbed in their phone? On the other hand, what if you knew that what you were doing was giving them a great deal of relief or pleasure – would you spend a bit more time?  Whatever the case, today’s foot massage was definitely a more enjoyable one because I was fully present for it. When it was over, I looked my guy in the eye and thanked him.  I might have welled up.  I would have hugged him too, but I suspect that would have been pretty awkward for everyone.

At the end of my service, with my toes gleaming in all their Malaga Wine glory, my pedicurist took me over to the fans for some drying time.  He carried my purse, my coat, and my shoes, as well as held my elbow as I waddled from my chair to er…another chair.  As I sat down, I asked him his name.  He looked surprised, and then he pointed to the ceiling and said ‘Moon’.  I reached out my hand to shake his, and said that it was really nice to meet him, and introduced myself too.  You would think I had just awarded him a medal.  He blushed, and gave me the biggest smile.

I realise how cheesy this all must sound.  But in this simple, common situation, I felt a connection to someone who I might have otherwise almost completely ignored in order to devote my attention to the latest pictures posted on Instagram.

I’m not saying I’m going to strive to be BFFs with all the people who do various services for me.  But I think I will opt to put my phone down more often, be present, show some interest, and express gratitude for the efforts of service workers.

Moments of connection feel good- no matter how short, weird, or unexpected they may be.  Thanks Moon.

 

 

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