Thursday, March 29, 2007

Lucy and Ethel Get a Pedicure

I'm in my black leatherette pedicure throne, minding my own business. The massage function is on "rolling"--intensity and heat level 9. I'm leafing through People magazine (and hoping no one I know catches me at it), sipping my Aveda "Comforting" tea, and otherwise languishing in the moment. My feet are happy in their sudsy bubbles, and only the pulled muscle in my shoulder reminds me that I am of this world.

In comes a woman my mother's age. She's a little anxious. She's never had a pedicure. Her nails are in bad shape. She's embarrassed by them. It wasn't her idea to do this. Her granddaughters gifted her this spa day. So what could she do? All this verbal handwringing elicits a practiced, sympathetic clucking from the pedicurist, and soon the poor woman is calmed down enough to clamber up and into the chair, with some help.

"Is the water too hot?" Fine.
"Do you need a magazine?" No.
"Can I bring you something to drink?" Coffee.

After this ritual, the pedicurist encourages the woman to lower her feet into the bubbles, and away she goes to gather the requested nail polish.

But alas: the woman with her feet submerged, just as she's relaxing into this new sensation, hits the handle of the faucet with her leg. Out flies the hose with the force of the water, flying madly and uncontrollably, spraying the terrified woman, the chair, the surrounding chair (luckily empty) and causing the cup of coffee to drop into the foot tub.

She and I are the only ones in the room, our pedicurists both out in the main salon. I, with my gimped up shoulder, am unable to turn completely to visually assess the situation, but I know it's dire. So I leap up out of the chair, feet dripping, and rush to her aid.

Almost. My feet are WET. And SOAPY. And the floor is slippery. So what should have been a gallant jaunt across the room turns out to be a kind of quasi-surfing maneuver that ends with my head in the woman's lap and my arms braced to catch my fall in her foot tub.

All's well that ends well, of course. We both survived.

Last I saw of that woman, she had great-looking toes but was on her way to the doctor to get her blood pressure medicine upped.