For Mother’s Day, my parents gave me a gift card for a pedicure. (My mom, my grandmother, and Ariel also had pedicures.) Now, I have never had a pedicure, which apparently is something of a modern marvel. The Vietnamese pedicurist began running water in the foot basin, put a scoop of purple stuff in the water and stared at me. I smiled back.
She scowled: “Feet, water.”
Me: “Oh, right, sorry.” Why do I always feel compelled to apologize for something I haven’t done wrong? Of course, then I heard Ariel say that exact same thing to the woman who was doing her feet. Like mother, like daughter.
The pedicurist then turned on the “massage chair.” It actually was pretty cool and relaxing, until it decided to knead my shoulders. At that point, my 90 year old grandmother, who was getting her feet done opposite me, laughed uproariously. You see, the chair was kneading my shoulders so hard that my upper body was bouncing out of the chair. I changed the settings of the chair.
The pedicurist glowered at me: “First time pedicure?”
Me, brightly: “Yes.”
Eventually, the pedicurist gave me the purple sugar leg scrub, which was supposed to remove dead skin cells. This was great until my skin started to burn. My mind filled with thoughts of allergic reactions and swollen skin. One would think that at this point, I might say, “Excuse me, dear pedicurist, but my skin feels like it’s being flayed off my legs. Perhaps, you could wipe off that hideous concoction.” But, I didn’t. Instead I gritted my teeth and daydreamed of Benadryl. Thankfully, the hot oil treatment cooled my skin—it must be a chemical thing.
About this time the pedicurist asked: “Where you from?”
Pedis: “No, where born?”
Pedis: “No. What country?”
Me, hoping she knew California was a state in the US, just like Tennessee: “My mother was born in the Netherlands.”
Pedis: “Oh, that explains. You not look like an American.”
Me: What do you say to that? I smiled, yet again.
Of course, now when I pass a mirror, I wonder: Is it the hair? Or the nose? Or the skin color? Why do I look like a foreigner?