How I learned to co-exist with something bigger than me
by Deborah Jordan Aaron
Recently, I’ve been paying closer attention to the details of life, my life, that is, in whatever element it seems to be at the moment…again, my moment, my life. I don’t like how selfish that sounds or comes across, that is not my intention. I acknowledge and honor your life too! Really!!
It’s been more than a week since I decided to go over the top, to the extreme, to do something I’ve not done in 14 years! Pedicure. Yes, indeed! Without graphic detail, it was time. Time for me to do something ALL ABOUT ME (or at least, all about my feet…). I made an appointment at my neighborhood nail salon and that’s where this story begins…
Anyhoo, what a day. My husband had to take my car to work for whatever mechanical drama was happening with him and I had scheduled my Mani Pedi moment for that same day. I had a “WHAT!!! NOW??? REALLY!!!” moment and may have found myself, oh, I don’t know, bitter? Shame on me, his career takes precedence over my vanity and besides, I still had my scooter. Oh yes, I ride. 125cc. I am like the wind and it helps decrease the size of my carbon footprint. Ok, back to my feet.
Turns out the scooter mode of transportation was a mixed blessing, for as anyone who rides knows, closed toed shoes are a must. Therefore, I had to spend extra “polish drying” time at the salon, so as not to damage the quality work that was done. The whole process, start to finish, was 2 ½ hours. That time spent, that “all about me” time, was rather fascinating. What I observed, witnessed, overheard, was quite eye-opening.
First was the pedicure, wow. Big recliner massage chair, warm water, relaxing and calm. Very Zen moment. Then Ms. Happy and Loud with a hangover came in and crashed my private party (in my mind)! I wanted to be annoyed but she was so darn happy her boyfriend was treating her after they had celebrated a birthday the night before that I had to be happy for her. Couldn’t help it.
Since I was one of the first scheduled appointments of the day, I sat back and watched the salon slowly fill up until ever chair and table was taken. This place was rockin’ and it was the middle of the week! So glad I didn’t show up on a weekend. Of course, as naturally happens, with a room full of women comes a room full of conversations. It’s becoming clear to me that this place is like a vortex of chatter!
After my pedicure (an hour into my visit) it was time to move on to the nail station. Ms. Happy and Loud had also finished her treatment and as I walked by she shared a smile and a compliment. I felt a tinge of guilt for thinking her annoying, I’m quite certain I’ve done the same. I had the good fortune to be seated in front by the big window, it was a pretty day and I like to observe. Boy, did I observe…
My first observations; the twentysomething squad. I’m horrible with names and I wouldn’t use the real ones anyways, let's just call this first gal Barbara, since it became known that she bartends and is constantly getting her nails repaired in this particular salon. She was greeted by the salon owner with a question, “So Barbara, how are you feeling, do you have any news for us?”. To which she replied “Has Lucy been in, she been talking again??”. I will call her Lucy because of the expression “loose lips sink ships”. I digress.
The salon owner, who I will refer to as Mr. Bill, replied “Maybe…” with a big smile. Barbara then replied “Nope, not since this weekend”. “No more boyfriend?” asks Mrs. Bill, seated next to them. Barbara responded that he was still around, but she was glad that she was not going to have it with him because he was an idiot and that it was no longer an issue anyways. That’s when it hit me. She was pregnant and now she was not. What struck me was how sad I felt at that moment I realized what happened. I wanted to say something to Barbara regarding the loss of her pregnancy but felt it was an intrusion, even though she put it out there for all to hear. She went on to chat about Lucy and her jerk boyfriend when two more twentysomething friends showed up, who I will call Abby and Gabby.
They were asked to select their polish colors and take a seat. All three ladies work at bar/restaurants and proceed to discuss lousy tips, lousy customers, lousy hours and Lucy the gossip. One gal mentioned her broken nail ending up in someone’s cocktail but she didn’t realize until too late. Eww. Then their conversations took a turn, lots of negative gossip. I felt uncomfortable about the content. Why am I hearing about the intimate details of their lives? Why share this in front of strangers with such blatant disregard?
Looking out the window, I watched a lady walking towards the salon, guessing she might be mid-fifties, with a determined look. I’ll call her Ms. Katrina. She walked in and was greeted by Mr. Bill, said she wanted just a fill, no pedicure. He told her to have a seat, there was a wait but go ahead and pick a color. I heard a heavy sigh and went back to looking out the window and listening. Ms. Katrina sat next to Gabby. Abby was at the table now, getting her nails done and chatting away.
More walk-ins approached and were informed of the wait time. Ms. Katrina then stated she was going to run to the Dollar Tree but would be right back. As she left the store, rather loudly, in front of everyone in the salon, Gabby stated, and I quote “Thank GOD she left! I thought I would have to go outside and choke! She smells like cigarettes and cat piss. I hope she buys some air freshener, she is rank. I’ll give her a dollar!”. Of course she got the response she was aiming for. Laughter from some, chuckles from others. Ouch, that was harsh. I felt embarrassment for Katrina’s return, she was obviously unaware. I certainly didn’t notice any “aroma” but now, everyone in the salon knew about it.
That’s when I noticed the thirtysomething seated next to me, we’ll call her Betsy. Neatly dressed, stylish hair and looking for a neutral white polish, nothing fancy due to her job as she was returning to work. Mr. Bill asked where she’d been, he hadn’t seen her for a while. Betsy explained she was recovering from a stroke, had been going through therapy and was just now able to drive. It happened over a month before, while she was driving her car with her 6-year-old in the back seat. Her child was ok but she had to be airlifted to a North Florida hospital. I silently said a prayer for her.
As my salon visit came to a close, turned out the “all about me” experience was not all about me at all. The twentysomethings, seeming completely desensitized and somewhat arrogant, could care less who heard what they said, it was all about them. The thirtysomething with a life changing experience and rising above it, all about her and the journey to recovery. Ms. Happy and Loud with her smile and kind words, all her, her birthday weekend. I was humbled, I am so grateful for my “all about me” day. After all, it’s how you begin and end your day and all the “in between” that’s makes it yours. Right?
Note: This is my personal experience; I’m living it every day. Some days are more about me than others but I always try to remember, I’m responsible for what I put out there, it begins with me. I hope your day is all about you in the best way, my friends, I’m positive you deserve it.
Deborah Jordan Aaron,Advocare Independent Distributor