The things people say right in front of you are sometimes very disturbing, Especially when what is being said is in another language that you don't understand. For years my wife and now 17 y/o daughter have been coming home telling me they just know the Asian women working at the nail salon are talking about them in a negative way. To be honest, I have always just blown it off. It has been my experience that most women always think someone is whispering something about them. I have seen this my whole life with family, friends, spouses, daughters, co-workers, and yes, even with the strippers I used to work with at the bar. I have always tried to figure out if it is vanity or some kind of insecurity that most women suffer from. I have a simple life and a simple outlook on life, I just don't care what people outside of my immediate family think about me or say about me to my face or behind my back. So, okay, where am I going with all of this in such a round about way? Well, last night my wife was busy and was needing to break her date with my daughter to go get their toes done. I was asked to take my daughter in a manner I couldn't refuse, I was asked nicely with a smile, she said please, and there was no guilt trip anywhere in the questioning. So, I said yes, of course.
But, it actually was a loaded question, a question which had underlying motives which were made clear to me in the car while we were on our way. I was to be my daughter's secret weapon against the women at the salon. How could I be a secret weapon y'all might be asking. Well, I spent many years in South Korea, Japan, and in the Philippines. You cannot spend time in these countries without learning some of the language spoken. Which I learned how to speak all three, understand all three, and I could write what I needed to in all three. Now a days, I have to be listening pretty close to what is being said so I can translate it all in my head. I am worthless speaking any of it or writing it any more tho, but I can still understand most of the spoken word, I said most not all. So, my daughter explains to me that she will pay to have my toes done and take me to dinner at the place of my choice if I just do one favor for her. She wants me to listen to the women at the salon and see if they are talking bad about her or not. I agreed. I figure at this point, now sitting in the parking lot at the strip mall in front of the salon, that this will be pointless and fruitless, but I will have my toes done for the first time ever and get dinner at Olive Garden. So, it was a win win situation for me, I have nothing to lose in this entire arrangement.
We head inside, take our seat as instructed, and wait our turn since they were remarkably busy in my opinion. There were some 18 stations/chairs and at least two women working at each station. If nothing else, if all else fails, I will end up with the munchies because I can feel myself becoming lightheaded, not unlike being a little high, not that I know anything about that of course. Glad we will be going to eat. While we waited my daughter wandered around the salon looking for the perfect shade of red, she reported to me that there was like 90 shades of red and it was very hard to decide. Hey, I know, let me pick the color, which is more like playing Russian Roulette since I would have to read the bottle. She didn't like the joke and continued on her quest to find the perfect red. So, no fun for me, this time. Finally, we are instructed to follow the woman that will be servicing one of us. Lucky me, she is speaking Korean and I can understand 80% of what she is saying to the other woman.
As soon as I was seated she was explaining to me to sit back, relax, and use the vibrating massage chair at my leisure. Ok, now I know why women come here. I can see how women like sitting in these chairs, the vibrations and massaging balls hit ALL the right spots. That's right ladies, I know the secret now, I have infiltrated, observed, and concluded. Y'all are very naughty, here I thought this was going to be an innocent experience. No wonder they charge so much. They know they are hitting all the right spots which turn y'all to jelly and they keep hearing yes, yes, yes, since y'all have a hard time keeping it all under wraps. Ok, enough with the analysis, back to why I am here. Other than the chair being nice, the woman handling my feet is pretty rough. Now, being a diabetic, I take excellent care of my feet. I keep them lotioned, I keep my nails trimmed just at the right length so I don't get in-grown toenails, and so forth. Plus, I never knew I was so ticklish, someone should have warned me, I am a pedicure virgin here. Which reminds me. As the woman began the soaking process of my feet she was going on and on about how big my feet were and they didn't exactly fit in the little tub the right way. My daughter immediately started giving me the "look" for me to tell her what the woman had said. Following etiquette of the other ladies at the salon, I pulled out my cell phone and began texting my daughter, who I remind you was sitting right next to me. It was kind of awkward for me, I am used to talking to those who are in my immediate vicinity.
So, we are laid back, relaxed, and suprisingly this salon is noisy as hell. I was trying to pay attention to three diiferent conversations to see if I could relate anything being said to either one of us, or towards others in the chair as well. I watched the woman go after these lady's feet with grand furver, it reminded me of a farrier who must use brute force to contort and hold the foot he is about to shoe. Those nail clippers, similar to the one I own, are chopping away, toenails flying everywhere, I was kind of worried that I might get an eye taken out or something. As I said, I take care of my feet very well, I have heard way too many horror stories. In the end, I got lotioned, she did push all my cuticles back and applied the antibiotic gel which stops the bleading and keeps one from getting infected. She really had nothing to do, she looked like she was struggling a bit because my feet being well off and thrown her way off. So, in Korean, she begins commenting to the other woman at my daughter's feet about how I didnt need to be here because nothing was being done. Then there was quite a bit of jibberish about how this was a nice break for her. Then the woman at my daughter's feet began talking about how short my daughter is and how tall I am. She was talking about how large my feet were compared to my daughter's feet, but her's were dry and crack and mine were pretty. I was kinda grinning listening, I get the nudge from my daughter so I began texting her. Before long I was done, my woman had nothing to do, so she dry my feet and slid my shoes back onto my feet for me. However, she decided to stay and "help" the woman with my daughter. The talked about how she must be spoiled because she is in here every 2-3 weeks and always spends alot of money. They chit chatted back and forth while they painted on the perfect shade of red. There was nothing special being said, just frivalous talk about weekend plans, about their kids, and how the one woman needs to make an appointment for her back pains.
We are all set now, they slide on my daughter's flip flops and stick her under the dryer. I was told, kind of rudely I might add, to get out of my chair and go sit at the front of the salon to wait for my daughter. It was in her tone that it was rude in my opinion. Who knows, it was probably just me, I don't like being bossed around or rushed when I am doing the paying. Soon enough my daughter emerges to the front. She pulled out her wallet and presented a hundred dollar bill to the cashier. She rang us up, gave my daughter the change and reciept, and then pointed us towards the door. My daughter went to both of our woman and gave them their tips. I had told my daughter to tell them both "Komawoyo", which is thank you in Korean. I thought they were both going to pass out. Quietly one turned to the other and told her my daughter spoke Korean and they both began to blush a bit. Then they let her have it, my daughter had no clue what they were saying so I approached to help out. I told them, in English, they should be careful when talking in the native tongue because they never know who may understand them. For reference, I told her thank you for saying I had pretty feet and I really didn't think my daughter was spoiled since she spends the money she earns. Almost instantly both woman got up, turned, and headed into the back room. I have found, with past experiences, this tactic works better when I speak to them in their native tongue, but my spoken Korean is all but broken to the extent I have no real clue as to what I am saying anyway. Better to just tell them I understood and move on.
After we got home my daughter explained everything to my wife. It was funny to watch, those two gossiping to the extent it began sounding like two old hens in the yard just chewing the fat. My wife told my daughter that I was always full of surprises. Which she knows, since we spend allot of time people watching when we are out and about. I suppose the moral to this entire story is that you never know if the person beside you understands what is being said. I have found that people use their native tongue to speak bad about others when needed. I work with many bi-lingual people, Spanish speaking people, and when I am around I hear what they say and understand most of it. One day I will pop off and explain something to them when the moment arrises. But the, my work kids aren't really worth my effort other then messing with their heads a bit.