Okay, so Friday, The Reason I Get Up In The Morning and our adopted 30 year old girl child wanted to go to the local Vietnamese Embassy nail parlor to have that quintessential rite of womanhood relaxation — the pedicure. I, being the manly man, stayed in the car with my iPod and played Solitaire — that quintessential rite of manhood relaxation.
Well, the days are beginning to heat up here in the South after a particularly wonderful spell of unseasonably cool and non-humid weather and the Midnight Blue of the Santa Fe began to draw a mite too much heat for my comfort. So, when the sweat rivulets began to form, I struck my flag in surrender and went into the nail parlor where it was cooler.
Once I recovered from the assault on my nose from whatever noxious and probably toxic chemicals were venting into the air, I settled down on a pagoda armed chair and went back to my Solitaire game. I looked up every now and again just to maintain an air of situational awareness and the last time I looked up, my two female charges were head to head with the diminutive owner of the business. Once glance in my direction and I knew the day was about to take a turn for the strange.
Sure enough, the ladies had bought me a pedicure. Now I could have stood my ground and battled for my manly rights to grocery store feet and lack of daintiness, but it was two and a half against me and I just didn’t have the energy to mount the necessary defense. So, in the name of science (at least that’s what I told myself) I mounted the raised platform and sank into the depths of a surprisingly large and comfortable Naugahyde recliner with a foot basin at the bottom. No sooner had I settled in than said basin began filling with fizzy blue water. This piqued my interested because the fizzy blue water was exactly the shade of fizzy blue water that Granny Wham went to great lengths to keep my feet — and other body parts — out of when I was younger. Of course, that water had been contained in a basin of a different material and makeup, thus the difference. Still, the cognitive dissonance was there.
Once the basin was filled and the water jets were jetting, a tiny, tiny, tiny ageless but seemingly young and definitely dainty Asian lady came up to me, smiled at me and, by pointing, made me to understand I was to put my feet into the fizzy blue water. I did so. Then I sat marinating my prized grocery store feet in fizzy blue water for ten minutes.
At the end of the aforementioned marinating time, the aforementioned animated doll came up and seated herself on a stool at my feet. Then she opened a drawer next to the basin. This drawer was filled with a variety of implements that I had not seen since the final torture scene of Braveheart. My apprehension grew, fueled not only by the sight of the drawer of horrors, but also by some nagging thought that I should remember something that was gnawing at the fringes of my consciousness. This seemed singularly important, but no matter how hard I tried, I could not bring the memory to recall.
So, somewhat confused over my nagging memory, I put myself into the hands of the dainty picture at my feet. She again smiled sweetly and touched my right calf in a manner that I assumed, correctly it turned out, meant, “please take this huge beef shank out of the fizzy blue water and place it on the stand in front of the basin.” I complied and she picked up some metal and plastic tool closely resembling a piece of two by four with sixteen penny nailed studded throughout it. Budge told me it was a callous file. In any event, the precious lady at my feet grasped the “file” in one hand and clamped down on my right foot in a grip of iron. It was at that moment I remembered what my brain had been trying to tell me for the last twenty minutes.
The bottoms of my feet are ungodly ticklish.
For as long as I can remember, anyone wanting to torment me who could manage to contain my size and adrenaline would grasp my ankle and proceed to run fingers or a feather or anything lightly over the sole of my foot. I would explode into paroxysms of laughter and involuntary spasms of jerking and kicking. As a child, it was the favorite pastime of my beloved Uncle Larry to hold me off the ground dangling upside down by one foot while he tickled said foot and watched me turn blue. Once, however, he made the mistake of doing this not knowing I’d eaten a half-gallon of Rocky Road ice cream right before he arrived. Granny Wham and Aunt Cathy were none too happy at the resulting inverted geyser. But I digress.
The foot therapist’s touch immediately triggered the old reactions and it was only at the last second and only by brute force that I managed not to unleash a front kick that would have no doubt propelled my attendant through the air and probably the far wall. For the next fifteen minutes, thirty if one counts the repeat performance on the left foot, I fought back insane laughter and jerky twitches of my poor assaulted feet. To make matters worse, my beloved and our girl child sat next to me visibly shaking as they tried to contain their laughter.
Finally, it was over, or so I thought. She released my feet into the fizzy blue water and I took a breath for the first time in nearly half an hour. Then she turned to her assistant and said something in the melodious sing song that is the Vietnamese language. I soon found out that her words loosely translated into, “Please bring me two asbestos bags of molten lava to help soften and rejuvenate this poor sap’s feet.” Of course, I didn’t know at the time that the beautiful amber liquid in the plastic bags the assistant brought was the temperature of the Sun’s corona. So, I unthinkingly and meekly put both feet into the bags . . . and watched through tears as my toenails melted off. As the “paraffin” hardened like so much basalt around my poor feet, I thought of how I was going to crawl to the car and, once I reached home, I’d have to rename the blog “Granny Beads and Grocery Store Ankle Stumps”.
Then, as quickly as the whole process began, it was over. The bags were removed from my feet, my calves were massaged with fragrant lotion, and my torturess was remarking how much she’d enjoyed working me since I was a “big man, like [her] husband.” I thanked her and told her that was wonderful and the intimate contact we had enjoyed with her at my feet made us husband and wife in several cultures, but irony doesn’t translate well.
So, we paid our bill and I walked out to the car on callous free feet as far from grocery store grime as the day I was born. In retrospect, the feeling was delicious and I can totally see how ladies become addicted to the experience. Perhaps next time, I’ll go for the hot stone massage . . . we’ll just have to be very clear on our definitions of “hot.”
Until then, wash your feet in fizzy blue water!
Love y’all 🙂