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Allow me to set the stage:

I decided to indulge yesterday — enjoy a little piece of the relaxation pie on my last “free” afternoon before the kids explode into the neighborhood, fleeing big yellow buses and running loose on summer vacation.   All the swirling, wonderful, serendipitous events of the last few months have meant that I haven’t had much “extra” time on the calendar —not that I’m complaining–but it was nice to look at a fresh hour, sprouting and about to bloom, and realize that I had nothing to do.

So I had long talk with myself in efforts to justify spending $12 on an hour with my hands in water, cuticles tended to and nails slathered with polish.  I know, I know–$12–what’s the big deal, right? But it felt like such an unnecessary luxury in the face of bills and gas tanks and a living room remodel.  Still, I determined that a snatch of pleasure couldn’t be pricetagged, and I went for it.  Went for the manicure in the kind of place with purple walls, abundant triangular mirror arrangements, and excessive black lacquer furniture.

As my nail tech worked with gentle purpose, I breathed deeply, let my chest rise and fall naturally, closed my eyes.  She clipped and filed, switched hands and repeated; rested my fingers in a warm bath, removed barely visible remnants of an old polish job.  Richard Marx crooned his overwrought nineties love songs from the corner boom box.

Ahhh. Lotion squirted on my hands and she pressed her thumbs into the palms, kneading out the balls of tension and strain.  The fragrance was layered: sweet pea and mint, lightly zingy on my skin.  Zingy and amazing.  Next came wrists and forearms and each finger.

It was quiet.

The faint sound of bubbles provided soothing white noise.

I may have fallen asleep.

Until, that is, my ears regrettably grabbed hold of the conversation occurring behind me at the pedicure station:

“I’m sorry my feet are so bad–I had to have my toenails removed.  They kept getting ingrown, so the doctor pulled them out from the roots.”

Ummmm….  WHAT?!

My eyes snapped open and I swallowed hard, sending gurgling bile back to a churning stomach.

Yeah, I thought, You better be sorry, lady.  That unfortunate mental image has shattered my $12-purple-nail-salon-sanctuary and plunged me into The Land of Gross better left to digit doctors specializing in compromised toenail growth. Even though I know it’s not the same thing, all I could picture was the toenail fungus commercial where the little fungus-monsters open up yellow toenails like glove compartments and hop inside, frothing at the mouth to be destroying a perfectly-good flip-flop season.

Overcoming this negative imagery took all the mental fortitude I could muster, I assure you.  Luckily for me I was able to focus my attention on the dusty silk plant arrangement bursting from the top of the tool sterilizer to my left.  It very well may have saved the day.

The moral of the story is that your medical history, while perhaps important to your nail technician, need not be broadcast across the room with the booming volume of a court bailiff.  Why not lean over and whisper your apologies, informing said technician of your litany of sensitivities and anatomical abnormalities?  Why do I need to hear about things getting ripped out?

Please, let me have my $12 moment with zesty lotion and sleep-inducing massage without worry of nightmares.

That’s all I ask.

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So what’s your favorite TMI moment?  Leave a comment below and share it with the rest of us, or post the story on your blog and link back to me 🙂