Sunday, March 4, 2018

Higher education in the nail salon

There are nail salons closer to our winter place. This one is nine miles away and I almost didn't go. But my friend Lynne had a dentist appointment right after her pedicure, so we drove in separate cars. Lynne and I like to chat while we're getting our pedicures.

My pedicurist was a Vietnamese man, Thomas. As he washed my feet I said "cảm ơn" - thank you, the only Vietnamese word I know. I say this every time I get a pedicure in a Vietnamese nail salon. This time, though, Thomas grinned from ear to ear. I was grateful I've been to Vietnam and learned the word, and remembered it.

Lynne's pedicurist is an American woman, Janie. A recent Tucsonian arrival, in her 20s, born and raised in the South, she's getting a fresh start with her life. Her eyes are bright and calm. We are both Friends of Bill W, so we chatted briefly about that. I was grateful that I've learned to be curious and friendly to people I might not have spoken to before. My eyes are wider these days.

Then a new client arrived. A man. Long white beard. Long white hair. Carrying two guns in leather holsters. I watched, startled, as he crossed the room. In my entire life I have never seen a person carrying a gun other than a police officer. I have only heard of it.

Janie had finished Lynne's pedicure, and the carrying fellow was her next client. They greeted each other. Janie started filling the water in the foot basin and the man took off his boots, then his socks, before seating himself in the station next to me.

I almost didn't say anything to him. Then I said, "Janie, what is your client's name?"


I looked at him and said, "Hi, Rusty. My name is Linda. Would you mind if I take your picture? In my whole 69 years, I have never seen anyone carrying. And I would never have thought I'd see it in a nail salon!"

I continued, "I've been told I should never take a picture of a person without asking permission. I don't want to offend you."

Rusty laughed. "Sure," he said.

"How often do you get a pedicure?"
"Every couple of months."

Just like me. Every couple of months.

I said, "Will you sit so that I can see that you are carrying and include that in my shot?"

He did.

I said, "Thanks. I wanted to take the picture to remind me about stereotyping, and that we are more alike than we are different."

"But," I continued, "If you'd been carrying an AK-15 I wouldn't have asked if I could take your picture."

We both laughed. So did Janie.

As I got up to pay, Rusty said, "God bless you."

"You too," I said.

Good thing I drove those extra miles for my pedicure. I would have missed the higher education.


Jan said...

thats a great pic.!
I can't understand the US acceptance of guns at all, but I like the point you make that we are more alike than different, if only more people understood that.

Terra said...

I like your post about the man with the guns, now that is a nail salon safe while he is there. I have never had nor wanted a manicure or pedicure (I do my own nail polish) but I know lots of people enjoy that and that sure was a fun visit you had.

Roberta Warshaw said...

That is quite the picture!

Linda Reeder said...

Well, that's a good lesson for all of us!

DJan said...

Good for you for being brave enough to talk to the guy with the guns. I too would never have thought it would be in a nail salon that I would see someone like that. You've given me a lesson as well. :-)

Olga Hebert said...

Oh, what a hoot!!

Galen Pearl said...

Hey, Linda! I lost touch with you for a while, but glad to reconnect and especially for this post which is priceless!

Assumptions! Love it when something startles me out of my complacent assumptions about people and things. Absolutely wonderful photo and story to go with it!!!

Dee said...

Dear Linda, thank you for this reminder that there is more that unites us, than divides us. Peace.

Tom Sightings said...

Like you, I never would have expected a nail salon patron to be packin'. Fun post and, er, great shot!

Hootin' Anni said...

Hi...first, I noticed your comment at D-Jan's blog & read about you at Tucson (we retired to Tucson for a decade ... then relocated to Texas)

It's always nice to meet Tucsonians!!