Sunday, November 9, 2008
French Tips, Drainage Bags and Testicles
I’ve never had a good experience when getting my nails done. The first time I got my nails done I was a complete novice to the process and just my luck I ended up with the Nail Nazi taking care of me. He berated me for chewing my own natural nails down to nubs because he had hardly anything to work with and he also got frustrated with me when he was telling me something and I replied with “what?” or didn’t do what he commanded immediately. How was I supposed to know “You go wah han na” meant “You go wash hands now”? On top of the fact that he was speaking so fast and obviously mad at me it was a very frustrating experience. I then trained myself to listen very carefully and after learning the general process I could usually decipher what they were saying during future appointments. I had not had my nails done in several years when I passed by a nail salon on Saturday that was offering a full set of acrylics for $15. I’m a sucker for a bargain and decided I should devote a little time to myself and at that price I deserved to. I walked in to what I expected to be a full salon and found much to my surprise no one was there. This should have been my first clue. A short guy comes out of the back, introduces himself as Ping, and motions to a seat. After we get through the basic chat detailing what I want he gets to work. He starts talking to me through the mask that they wear. I think this muffling makes an already hard to understand dialect even harder to understand. I really just wanted to relax and not talk. Americans can pick up on the subtle cues that I don’t want to talk to them which I try to project 24/7. The Vietnamese apparently do not. He goes through asking me a million questions I can barely understand in between talking to his brother who is sitting next to him in his native tongue about me and giggling. Ping is done with my first hand and is getting starting on the second when another customer comes in. She is apparently well known to the establishment since they call her by name. Linda (at least I think that was her name, the pronunciation I heard was Lina or Wina, I couldn’t be sure) sat down beside me and Ping’s brother promptly started working on her. I noticed a smell coming from this woman but being she was extremely overweight I assumed it was weird body odor. I then began to drift off in my mind and try to tune everything out (Ping was now carrying on a conversation with his brother and Linda) when I was promptly pulled out of my attempt at a day dream by the brother. He was asking Linda what the tubing was hanging from her shirt. I had not noticed this when she walked in. She then lifted her shirt and showed him that she had a drain coming out of her stomach from a surgery that she recently had where the incision got a massive infection and she now had to have this drain for a few days to get the pus out. I kid you not, a drain bag complete with a bit of orange tinged liquid at the bottom. At least the origin of the weird smell was no longer a mystery. After she explained all of this Ping asked her why she wasn’t home in bed since she had the drain and she responded that she needed to get her nails done for her date. Now exactly what kind of date do you have that is so important you have to show up with a drainage bag connected to your stomach? The act of getting perfect French tips for the date in the first place seems kind of trivial when you have A FREAKING DRAIN ATTACHED TO YOUR BELLY! Although acrylic nails can be quite beautiful I don’t think their beauty is quite enough to make someone not notice a drainage bag hanging from you. Imagine that conversation. “Why what interesting perfume you have on Linda. What is it called?” “Oh honey that’s not my perfume that’s the puss from my drainage bag. Are you ready to order our food yet?” Apparently Ping and his brother did not seem to notice the socially unacceptable practice of showing up for a date with a drainage bag attached. They kept talking and laughing. I must have tuned out while pondering Linda’s date rationale because I was pulled back into the conversation by Ping snapping his fingers at me. He wanted to know if I knew the English word for that thing that hangs down between a man’s legs. I stared at him for a few seconds and then said “testicles”. Then he was all excited that I had given him the right word. He then said “testicles, that what I meant, dog testicles” to Linda and his brother. In Ping’s home county they castrate their dogs by placing a rubber band around their testicles and waiting for them to fall off. How they got on this particular subject I do not know. I began to think that perhaps I was in a really bad dream or I’d been killed in a car accident earlier in the day and I was on the first level of Dante’s Inferno. Ping finally finished with me, I paid and wished Linda good luck on her date, got in my Jeep and left skid marks in the parking lot. As I was peeling out of there I noticed letters on the roof that said Bargain Nail. Not plural, just one nail. Maybe they had an “S” before but a rival nail salon placed a rubber band around it.