It’s a pity Manhattan has only 8 nail salons on every street, packed with women soaking and smoking outside while their polish dries.
I try to go early to avoid the cell phone crowd who yak like crows while their cuticles get pushed around. How I’d like to push them, right off a cliff. The price of a few moments of peace is rising alright. Do I really need to know that porterhouse the night before was a little tough?
When I arrived at Sunny Side Nails right when they opened, two other women had the same idea.
“You too?” one said, the size of an Oldsmobile. “I have so many things cookin…for real, she giggled, “havin guests for lunch. I’m Shirley.”
“How do you do,” I said, a little less than thrilled. See, I knew right away, she was a talker.
The other woman was an obvious snoot clutching her Vuitton like one of us would steal it. For the record, I’m no longer a Louis fan, not since you can buy a copy on the street for 8.99 from a vendor named Ali Abu Baba.
So there we sat with Shirley in the middle holding court like a game show host, while our old polish was scrubbed off by young girls with names like Ling, Sing and Ming.
I decided I liked Mary because she sat in silence…well, till her phone rang that is. “Yeah,” she said with the charm of a moth. “I dunno…ask me late-a.”
The owner of the shop, a Miss Lee, comes over and asks, “What cula?”
“Oh, let’s see,” screamed Shirley. How bout Ebony On Fire this time.” (who, pray tell, comes up with these names?)
How about you have your head examined. Black nail polish eludes me. It looks like you got all ten toes smashed in a car door. But did that stop her?
Shirley then looked at Mary. “How bout you, what color will you be today?”
If looks could kill, Shirley wouldn’t need color, except maybe in her face after Mary punched it.
“I have moy own thank you,” she said, pulling a bottle from Louis. Did he just hand it to her, or are the fumes getting to me? Then her phone rang again. “Yeah?” I dunno, ask me late-a.”
I also brought my own, a smart thing for touch-ups making me wonder why Shirley hadn’t thought of that, but then realized, she’s so overweight she probably can’t reach her toes.
Yes, my heart opened, but just a crack since, as I predicted, SHE DIDN’T SHUT UP.
I started counting men I hate, something I do when I either can’t sleep or want to murder somebody.
Then, like the Supremes in harmony, we were all finished at the same time, so we dried together too, a must, even if you leave barefoot. No, I do not walk home like a native. I’m merely making a point. You must sit for at least 20 minutes or you’ll smear, not a good thing unless a bagel’s involved.
Let’s see, what did I learn while drying. Shirley and her black toes were serving a cold pasta dish and Waldorf salad for lunch with an upside down orange pound cake with fresh cream. She can’t decide whether to serve liquor or lemonade.
“Liquor,” I said, probably a little too quickly.
She has new blue L.L. Bean Bermuda shorts and a yellow tank (that gave me a chill unless it was a Sherman tank she could drive everyone home in) she ordered just for the occasion.
She invited a fella she met online who doesn’t know she’s not a size 6.
“Liquor!” I begged this time.
As for Mary, I didn’t learn much about her except, she didn’t know, and was getting quite a few calls…late-a.