Having a manicure is not one of my normal habits but today I indulged myself after looking in disgust at what I call my nails. Walking into a local nail salon for the first time, I was greeted by a woman sitting in a customer chair, manning her laptop, asking me what I wanted. “I’d like a manicure?” “Sit here.” Alrighty then. There were also two men in the rear of the shop, sitting at computers, and as the manicurist and I became situated and began the process, there was a constant stream of conversation between the three of them in their native language (Seinfeld fans, you know what I’m thinking).
Well, so what. English seemed to be a little difficult for her and I’m not a big fan of idle chit-chat anyway. Then she took a personal call on her call phone while she’s working on me - now she’s losing me. But the rest of the manicure transpired silently and I started to look around the shop. Egads! The place was filthy: the towel my hands were on, the dirty little fan used to dry my nails, dust on the entire work station, a small anonymous machine with dried drippings of some mysterious thing along its sides, work chairs stained, dirt on the floor - yikes!
I tried not to think about it while she finished. The concluding procedure was moving me to a counter with some sort of cool (not as in “groovy”) light that was intended to dry my nails. So I’m now in the front of the shop, facing the room. My manicurist immediately returns to my chair with her laptop, faces the two men in the rear, and they all resume their obscure (to me) conversation and computer gaming. Having nothing else to look at, I became the Peeping Thomasina.
During my time under the light, with my hands on the sticky counter, as I was dreaming of washing these same hands, another customer entered and in response to “what do you want?”, asked for a pedicure. Without another word, one of the men got up to wait on her. Division of labor is obviously clearly demarcated. After about 15 minutes at the drying counter, my manicurist turned around to ask me if my nails were dry. Once again, I was taken aback. I assumed I was on a timer of some kind. To my response of “I don’t know, what do you think?”, she said most would be done by now. Good enough for me - just let me out of here.
This was one of the most unprofessional businesses I have ever patronized. And here’s the postscript. My next stop was the gas station. By the time I opened the gas cap and started the pump, four nails were partially ruined, polish still soft enough that I could still ineffectively push it around in a vain attempt to salvage the manicure. Nice. Having hunger pains and wanting to salve the trauma, I treated myself to a McDonald’s cheeseburger and french fries (easy now, it’s been at least six months since I’ve caved to that indulgence). Life is good.