My friend (won’t use her real name here, let’s call her Em) is elegant. She doesn’t mean to be. It’s just part of her, like her soft unblemished skin and long legs. She has the soul, wit and mouth (sometimes) of a truck driver, but her outer image causes people to pause. When I first met her (some 40+ years ago, good gawd), I was in awe of the way she walked into a room, that innate gracefulness that has not abated over the years, a kind of haughty air that is her perfume. Little do people know that she is not at all stuck-up or proud. In fact, she is my soul sister inside.
The differences between us, however, do explain my initial aversion to the SPA. Em looks totally at home, born to be pampered, gorgeous. Mostly, I answered Spare me, whenever I was invited to go. I attended very sporadically to my hands and feet. I always feel somehow apologetic, hunched over the little bowl with my thick (now veined and wrinkled) fingers – That’s dishwashing liquid you’re soaking in, says Madge. I want to tell the manicurist that I am sorry, I’m an imposter, I’m really not the kind of lady who has her nails done.
I am the kind who loves to walk in bare feet (thereby scuffing the toe polish), lies down on a dock at midnight to watch the stars, breaks all the newly shaped nails by clacking on the keys of my laptop all day long. In fact, I’m not really sure I should be spending these couple of hours at the spa, when I could be writing. Or talking on the phone.
The key lately has been lunch beforehand. There is a little restaurant next door to the spa, and they are licensed. Two beverages of a social nature later, it’s time to be pampered.
Em glides into the massage chair. I plop into one next to her, bumping into the armrest and splashing the water in the basin at my feet. I fumble with the keys to get the electronic massages going. Knead. Slap. Slap? Roll. Vibrate. Really? So many choices. Once I get it going, though, it feels quite divine. Up and down my spine, the unseen leather-clad hands massage every muscle. I close my eyes and continue plotting out my latest book. This is writing, right? (You can see what I write at Amazon).
Em and I talk about this and that in between naps. She’s most likely the one I’d be on the phone with anyway, so this is even better, right?
I am sooo relaxed. I ask that my nails be clipped right down to the soft mound of my fingers, so they won’t snap from prolonged laptop contact. And they don’t look at me funny – the manicurist thinks this is fine. My toenails are a bright pink and look lovely in my black sandals. I’ve been meaning to buy new shoes, haven’t had time, but this spruces them up entirely. Maybe I can keep them a while longer.
Perhaps it’s something to do with the lunch before the spa, but I am starting to get the hang of this. All I can say is, SPA ME!