Here is the phrase I wanted to begin with "my local nail salon" but, of course, that implies that there is only one, when in fact there are probably ten just in the immediate neighborhood. So I considered "the nail salon that I frequent" but to use the word "frequent" is wildly inaccurate. A long-ago boyfriend informed me huffily that the way I carelessly hacked at my unpolished nails with a pair of clippers was "not very elegant." So I mended my ways. I find I like having painted toenails, but I don't much like anything about the process of getting them done (I am ticklish and have a low threshold for pain, which is a terrible combination for nail-salon enjoyment). If anything, I infrequent the salon.
The nail salon around the corner where I go when I cannot reasonably put it off any longer is long and narrow. It has six chairs and about three feet left over so you can walk the length of the room. It is not, in other words, an ideal place to bring a large dog. And yet.
The woman in the next chair had her dog with her. Something curly like a standard poodle, but bigger and bushier. A placid enough dog, to be fair, but a very large dog in a very small space. The dog when standing was equal to the height of the technician when sitting on the tiny pedicure-height stool. The technician was visibly uncomfortable having the dog wandering about in a doggisly curious way, often about two inches away from her face, but she was too polite to say anything, particularly in front of her boss, an exuberant and ambitious woman who would be more likely to welcome a pet Grizzly bear into the shop than turn away a client . Meanwhile, the dog's owner informed us all that the dog's cough, a case of "doggie bronchitis" was not contagious to humans. Well, that's a mercy, I suppose.
When they left, I was glad. The technician was also glad. I would say that I relaxed, but since it was about 50 degrees in the shop today and the dreaded cuticle stabbing had yet to begin, that would be overstating things a bit. She knows me to be a flincher and a gasper, so she makes short work of the extra bits like the pumice stone rubbing (torture by tickling) and the massage (ow, ow, ow). She went to get the post-lotion hot towel. When she returned, she applied hot rocks the soles of my cold feet, causing me to cry out "Oh!" "No?" She asked. "Ah, no, It's okay. I've just never seen them before." It is not unpleasant to have someone rub smooth hot rocks on your feet, but it is also a little bit silly. It is not as though these ladies have extensive training in the ancient mysteries of hot-stone therapy. The rocks, as I say, are a new development. (Though, judging from the length of my nails when I walked in there today, it might not be that new of a development.) Still, I suspect that the boss decided one day that white ladies like having hot rocks rubbed on them, so why not?
As the stones clicked awkwardly over my ankle bone, I wanted to say, "Do you think this is absurd?" but the language barrier wouldn't allow for it. Nor, I suspect, would manners. I also wanted to say, "I'm so sorry that lady let her dog be in your face for an hour." but the lady's friend was still drying nearby, so I couldn't say that either.
Instead, I tipped her ten bucks and hope she knows what I meant.