Every now and then, I treat myself to a manicure or a pedicure in beauty salon Northern Beaches because I’m comfortable with them. So it was exciting for me and my neighbors when a nail salon opened right around the corner from us.
Not long after they opened their doors, I went in to ask if they were interested in getting a website. The staff didn’t seem to understand, or maybe they weren’t interested so I didn’t employ my usual charm and persuasiveness. But I took a brochure.
Some weeks later, a woman who I think is one of the owners stopped me as I was walking by with my dogs. She fell in love with them. Not enough to get her off her cellphone, but enough to shoot questions like “what kind of dogs are these?” “where did you get them?” and my all-time favorite, “how old are your puppies?”
Most impressive was that while petting them and making personal comments about Dino and Bella (“he’s kind of fat, isn’t he?”), she continued a lively conversation with someone in, I think, Vietnamese. I was impressed with this display of bilingual multitasking. I mean, I can’t even chew gum and write at the same time.
This past Good Friday, I decided to get a pedicure. Nico had texted to ask if I’d accompany him, his mother, and his brother to Good Friday evening services. Since I’d never been to a Greek Orthodox service, and he’s been diligent about attending my Sedars, it sounded like a great idea and nice thing to do with his family.
But my feet were a mess, the weather was warm, and I wanted to wear my cute Tommy Hilfiger chunky sandals. It was time to visit the nail salon.
For the record, the service was great. It was more than half-full when I arrived but there was enough staff for someone to take me right away. The pedicure chairs were leather (maybe fake, I really don’t care), comfortable, and had all those kneading and rolling settings. The attendant brought me a cold bottle of water–a nice touch. I chose a pedicure spa treatment that included… well, you don’t need the details but let me tell you, that cheese grater thing took off about an inch of dead heel skin and my feet have never felt so good.
I had barely noticed a rather large woman on her cellphone when I entered the salon. But about halfway through the treatment, I heard her loud and clear. I wasn’t listening for her. I had my earbuds in, listening to the classic rock station pulled in by my own cellphone. I may even have closed my eyes for a minute or two. Until I started to hear snippets about a problem at work, something about a lawsuit, and a lot of talk that really shouldn’t be out on the public airwaves.
“I will send you a memo with bullet points detailing everything that happened.”
“I understand they intend to sue. I have a defense.”
“That just isn’t true!”
And on and on. And louder and louder. I looked at the woman working on my pedicure, and she looked at me. She and her coworkers looked at each other.
Finally, a tall slender woman who’d walked in maybe five minutes earlier got up and said, loudly, (I’m still wearing my earbuds) “I’m sorry, I just can’t relax in here with her shouting.” And off she stalked to the front, stopping at the cash register and adding “I will still pay for your time.”
At that point, Loud Woman finally ended her conversation. I returned to listening for tickets to see Heart at the Celebrity Theater. Then the shouting started. Thin Woman yelled at Loud Woman for being selfish. “You’ve ruined everyone’s afternoon. No one here wanted to hear you on your cellphone. This is not the place to take calls like that.”
“I had to take that call. You have no idea why.”
“Oh yes I do. I think everyone here does. And no one wanted to hear your sorry-ass business problems.” She looked at the rest of us gaping at them. “How many people here think she’s behaved selfishly?”
We all raised our hands. The employees froze.
Loud Woman did look embarrassed for a moment as she turned to look back and saw everyone’s hands in the air. “If I behaved inappropriately I apologize.”
Thin Woman was on a roll. “You behaved like a real asshole. I came here–we all came here–to relax. No one can relax with you shouting your shit all over the place.”
“You can’t talk to me like that!”
“I can and I am–because you are an asshole! What kind of example do you think you’re setting for your daughter over there?” (points to a girl of about 11 or 12 who was sitting quietly on the other side of the salon. I had noticed her texting through a manicure).
Now I know, and the owners should have known, that when you start dragging someone’s kids into an argument, and comments on how you’re raising them, that’s fightin’ words. And sure enough, a fight broke out.
Thin Woman stepped around the cashier, who was trying to block her way, to face Loud Woman, whose feet were still in a tub. There was another exchange, a dare to repeat something that was duly repeated, and Thin Woman lunged toward Loud Woman.
By then, the single man working there–possibly a co-owner–raced over and physically separated them. A second later, the cashier–the same woman who had admired my dogs– jumped behind Thin Woman to pull her away, just as Loud Woman threw water from a very, very large container (Big Gulp size) at her. Thin Woman and the two owners were drenched.
More shouting, and Thin Woman departed.
We customers all looked at each other. “Well,” someone said, “not what you see every day at a nail salon.”
Maybe they should consider a no-cellphone policy or just call themselves the Nail Saloon.
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