Wednesday, August 15, 2012
My days tend to be very full. I'm always adjusting the balance to get a mix of child-free errands and child-free work into the daylight hours. When I have so much to do, it's particularly hard for me to stop and just indulge in idle time. But I had put off a pedicure for weeks longer than I should. And I'm a yoga teacher -- the appearance of my feet does matter. It's practically a job requirement for me to have cute toes.
So off I went, thinking that if I stuck to a simple pedicure, I could be out in less than an hour and still have time to hit the three errands I needed to before minimum day pick up time ended my autonomy.
At first, it didn't look promising. As I pulled up to the shop, it said Closed until 11. Ugh, I thought, I can't wait for another half hour and I can't come back later. Then I saw the owner inside. Well, I'll just try the door. Maybe she's ready to start even though I'm a bit early.
Sure enough, she didn't want to turn down the business. While she worked, we chatted about her new ownership. Even though she had only been there a few months, she jumped at the chance to buy out the shop when the previous owner wanted a break. With fresh purple paint on the walls, tons of nail designs on display, and some new procedures, this young Latina was ready to make a go of it. We were just discussing how many customers she would average a day -- five to six on a good day, two if it was slow -- and how hard it is when someone shows up when she's already booked as a big brown SUV pulled up outside.
An African-American woman in a gorgeous tan and brown striped dress strode into the shop. She was beautifully dressed with her braids pulled back in a ponytail, amber and brown beads around her wrists, and a series of gold chains matching the gold belt she wore.
"Ahh. You're busy. How long for a quick polish change?" she asked.
"Fifteen minutes. I'm almost done here," the owner answered.
"I can't wait. I've got to be at work." She shook her head ruefully. "Dang. This is the third shop I've been in and all of them have only one person working." She turned to go. "It's my birthday and I have to get my polish done."
The owner looked uncomfortably at me as the woman left. "See, that hurts my business a lot."
I looked at the woman, obviously disappointed and frustrated, standing by her car and texting. I looked at the owner and made a decision. "Oh, go ahead, " I said. "It's her birthday. Just do her polish now. I'll wait."
"Really?" said the owner, her face lighting up.
"REALLY?" said the woman, coming back in and choosing a bright gold glitter polish. "Thank you SOO much. There's going to be this birthday thing at work, and I can't be late, and I need to look good. Thanks!!"
And that's how I wound up sitting there for an extra 40 minutes, my feet dunked in rapidly cooling water, watching the worst reality television show I've ever seen, and having a long conversation about various forms of infidelity with my two new female friends. It pushed back all my errands to the next day.
But at least I gave someone a bit of care and hopefully a much better birthday.