Thursday, March 09, 2006

Putting My Foot in It.

In New York, the ubiquity of Starbucks is rivaled only by nail salons. Those who know me know that I am pedicure junky. In fact, I think it is down right impolitic to wear open-toed shoes without first taking care of your foot fingers. However, when I moved from my roommate share to a studio apartment and saw my rent increase, I knew that in order to ahem, foot the bill, I'd have to cut back on some luxuries. Pedicures and my daily coffee and muffin to go were the first items that got axed from my budget. So my toes have been woefully unpampered for some time.

Then, for my birthday LaHipster gave me a gift certificate for a spa pedicure. "You'll love it," she said. "They're right on 7th and Union and they have those massage chairs and they do that thing on your legs", here she mimed chopping a steak with her flat hands. So last Sunday I went to get my toes done before returning home to bake Peanut Butter Nutella Brownies for our Oscar party. On a Sunday afternoon, the nail salon looked like Grand Central. It was packed full of people, people coming in and out, nearly crashing into each other. I chose my color (I always pick my OPI shade by its name instead of its hue), grabbed a magazine and waited my turn.

After a very nice pedicure, the Nail Tech was leading me to an ultra violet dryer across the room when she suddenly smacked her head to say, 'oops, I forgot something'. She lead me to another station, lifted my heel up from my flip flop, brushed my heel with hot parafin, wrapped a sheet of Saran wrap around my ankle then did the other foot. The whole thing happened very fast and honestly, I couldn't have been more surprised if she had grabbed me by the wrists and plunged my hands into a vat of chocolate pudding. But I was cool, I rolled with it. I figured it was some kind of heel moisturizing treatment and I marveled at the innovations that had been made since my last pedicure.

When I was presented with the bill, I handed over my gift certificate. The Tech looked very confused. The gift certficate was written in chinese, but it did say "Pedicure" in English and gave the dollar amount. "This is not here," said the Tech. I thought perhaps she was being existential, so I just kind of waved her off. She returned with a manager who spoke more English who told me that I was at the wrong nail salon and I couldn't pay with this gift certificate. "That's impossible," I said. LaHip told me 7th and Union and here I was at the Nail Salon at 7th and Union. Then the manager pointed out the window and I saw another independent and wholly unaffiliated nail salon. Oh shit. Earlier I noticed that this place didn't take credit cards and fortuneatly I had cash on me. Oh well, now I can justify another pedicure.

After I was convinced that my toes were dry, I peeled off the saran wrap and the wax on my heels that had made a bit of a mess. I flip-flopped over to my Tech so I could hand her a tip and collect my shoes and socks. When I slipped her the cash she indicated that we had unfinished business. She sat me down and brushed a top coat over my toes then grabbed two Glad plastic sandwich bags and slid my feet into them. Seriously. I was stumped. "Oh, okay, " I said, trying to play along. "I have bags on my feet and now, do I need to wait some more?" Damn, I needed to get home to start those brownies. She giggled at me, then grabbed my socks and started putting them on my feet, over the plastic baggies. "Oh, right," I said, totally confused. She put my shoes on over my socks and smiled up at me. I felt the plastic squishing between my toes inside my shoe. "Thank you," I said and got the hell out of there.

Walking home to Prospect Heights, I was reminded of playing in the snow as a child. Before we went outside, my Mother would tie a plastic shopping bag around our stocking feet then shove them into our boots, I guess to keep our feet dry. I thought that was some kind of low-class Guido trick and it embarassed me to pull off my boots at school and have bags wrapped around my feet. I guess maybe she was just ahead of her time.


Irina said...

Okay, is it totally retarded for me to say that the baggie between foot and boot is totally brilliant and I'll need to keep it in mind for my daughter next winter? Is it totally bad to use the word retarded?

Joshua said...

I'm pretty sure my mom employed this trick. It's smart and it works.

Irina said...

Maybe my mom didn't do it because plastic baggies are hard to come by in Russia? I just can't believe this bit of wisdom bipassed generations of Jewish mothers in my family.

Anonymous said...

OMG Cupcake you just brought me back - my mom used to take the veggie and fruit plastic bags from the grocery store to use for our feet!!

Cupcake said...

Okay, so apparently the plastic bag "trick" is not a Guido thing, it's just a Mom thing. But is this really necessary? We were wearing boots handed down from my cousins that were probably pretty well worn, but aren't today's boots sufficient? Is that extra (uncomfortable) layer of cheap plastic doing any good?

I still maintain that it was embarssing to be spotted with bread bags tied around your feet at school. I don't really remember my classmates' parents being quite so brilliant.

Joshua said...

Well you should be happy your mom thought to do it. Millions of children in Russia were freezing their feet off 'cause they didn't have any plastic bags!

Irina, your theory's gotta be right, 'cause my Jewish mom sure gave me plastic bags. Unless that was other kids' moms and now I'm just remembering it happening to me.

Well either way, the reason for it Cupcake is that when you tromp around snow gets into your boots through the top, but your feet are protected by a brilliant shield of plastic bag.

Linda said...

It also makes it easier to get the boot on and off. Especially in "the old days" when we wore galoshes over our shoes. The kids with the bread bags were cool, cuz they could get their boots on and off so fast!!

LaHipster said...

Sorry I was a douche and didn't give you the address, or indicate that there are eleven hundred nail salons within the vicinity of 7th and Union.