After being home bound for a month of Sundays, I finally had enough life left in me to realize my nails were a mess. My feet were curled and begging for a pedi. What started out some nice “Spa Time”, ended up being…
The Adventure Of The Seven Torments
Sometime, long ago, one of my relatives must have insulted or otherwise crossed the entire Asian Nation. For this day, today, was to be their day of TOTAL REVENGE!!!!
I should have suspected something when I turned the old latch on the even older door, attached to the oldest building on the square. I was greeted with dimmed lights, the smell of jasmine incense, and the low hum of Hawaiian music. Once my eyes adjusted, a small form to my right inquired, “ Can help you”? I answered the heavily accented phrase with, “Yes, a pedicure, and a full set of nails, if you can fit me in.” The crooked smile and leering grin should have clued me in to the fate that awaited me. “This way…”
I followed obediently behind dark drapes. Another small form beckoned me to a waiting spa chair. A spa chair from 1973 or 74, with creative rips adorning the seat, arms and back. Interesting yellowed rips…..
“Ku at the kalsus?”
“Ku at the kalus tuay?”
“KU AT THE KALUS TUAY!”
“ Umm…. whatever you think would be best?” , I finally eked out and prayed that answer would suffice.
The form nodded and slipped behind a part in the curtains. A minute later, she (yes, a she) returned with a covered basket, and turned the water on to start filling the pedicure tub.
THE FIRST TOURTURE:
After the addition of a scoop of delicious smelling salts I ventured to test the waters.
My toes were scalded! I simultaneously tried to shake them and blow on them and balance on the broken seat. My tormentor smiled, adjusted some of the dials and exclaimed, “You, OK now.”
Again my body was attacked by the cauldron of fire. I honestly saw bubbles forming around the burning edges of the water. My tooties looked like fried breakfast sausages.
After adjusting a few more dials she smiled again, “You OK Now.”
THE SECOND TOURMENT
Wisely I was not as quick to dunk my feet this time. After a moment or two, the water did reach a soothing temperature. As if to counter -act my previous discomfort, a rattling, window air-conditioning unit was switch on.
It’s power blast knock over two bottles of nail polish and sent my necklace waving in the breeze. At the same time I happen to notice the once tepid water was quickly approaching iceberg! My attendant was no where to be found, and the water threatened to overflow. In panic I drew my knees to my chest, tucked my bare feet under my skirt, and wished I had brought a coat.
In the mirror I viewed my blue lips and chattering teeth and wondered, “What next?”
THE THIRD TORMENT
The nail tech arrived from a dark corner, turned off the flooding water, and indicated that she wanted my feet in the ice laden water. With a stiff upper lip, and a big breath, I dove in and took one for the team. With a clack of her teeth she ceremoniously removed the cover from the basket she had brought earlier.
It looked like it was filled with an assortment of kitchen utensils. I wonder if perhaps it was some type of cooking promotion they did on the side to supplement their business……
Imagine my horror when she lifted what must have been a potato peeler, and began shaving off ribbons of skin. Not calluses mind you, but young, fresh, virgin SKIN. After ten yelps and few screeches she peered up and asked, “You OK Now?” I pointed to the raw edge of my foot. With a shrug the peeler was throw down and the next implement retrieved.
The grater was the size of a small microwave. In terror I watched as she grabbed my big toe, lifted it into the air, and began to peel off my heel like so much coleslaw. Perhaps because of the lack of light, or the drone of the AC, the lady did not hear my pleas for mercy. Finally, the ordeal was over, and I mentally and physically breathed a sigh of relief.
THE FOURTH TORMENT
The room temperature water actually felt nice on my scraped, skinned, and sliced hide. Feeling satisfied that all the torture was over, I settled in to what HAD to be the relaxing part of the spa treatment.
The chair had a control which directed heat, incline and massage. I decided I had had enough heat so went for the perfect incline. After a grudging start, the chair began to move forward while the front raised up. I could foresee this would NOT be a comfortable position. With confidence I pressed the button once, twice, then again and again. Not until I was literally sitting in a “V” formation did the demon furniture stop. My dripping feet were dangling out of the water, and the circulation to my legs was cut off. Carefully I willed the machine to unbend me while frantically trying to figure out the secret code that would release me. “You no do that K?” A touch later the chair was in a comfortable recline. I decided to pass on the massage mechanism……
THE FIFTH TORMENT
Now a rolling cart with an array of bottle, scrubs and cleansers appeared. With deft efficiency, my toes, nails and skin were polished to a shine. A little stinging from the cuts and bruises, but otherwise, pleasant. She then produced a pair of small, silver cuticle trimmers. Her large white teeth gleamed as she turned them this way and that, and then attacked my feet with the gusto of Attila the Hun. Snip, Clip, Chop, Ouch. Yikes.
“No, it is my nail”
“Nail, I have a split nail”
“ It is my nail”
It took fifteen minutes, liquid skin, a roll of paper towels, and nail glue to get the bleeding to stop. It was like a geyser. Or a sieve or something that is a lot of something. After consulting three other nail techs in a small huddle it was unanimously decided, “You Ok now”.
THE SIXTH TORMENT
Now that my cuticles were sufficiently organized, it was time to take out the awl, and tidy up around and under my nails. Since blood had seeped into every crevice of my foot, this took some doing. By now my senses were so overwhelmed, this event was a piece of cake. I might rename it the “Sixth Pain In The Bottom”.
THE SEVENTH TORMENT
The rest of the pedicure went as planned. Clear polish, white tips, and top coat. My flip flops were tenderly put on my feet, and I was escorted to the next chair for the seventh, and final torment.
“U Want Hell?”
“Hell or krillick”
“Hell better for nail”
“Ok, give me “h” “e” double toothpick.”
The whirling dental drill used to prepare my nail bed lost some of the sting after the fumes from the “Hell” hit me. The little, smiling man faded in and out of view and my fingers were sanded, planed and welded. For a few minutes or hours my hands were place under UV lighting while my head bobbed to the ukulele.
With a grin I hand over $100, and swam out the door. The sunshine, though a sharp contrast to the darkened dungeon, did not register until I was almost home. My swollen, pounding, red, appendages, lingering headache, and call from my husband, knock me back to reality.
“Rob, did you get your nails done/”
“Well, how do you feel? Was it relaxing?”
I really did not know how to answer. The “Spa Day” had not turned out like I expected.
But writing this all down has been like a medicine….