Friday, August 15, 2008
I splurged and had a pedicure today. As I was sitting and having the soles of my feet pumiced, I looked down the row of pedicure stations. There we were, all place or show medalists in the contest that is American Society (not the winners, mind you, the winners in the American Financial race do not go to store front nail salons. I know, I've played tourist a couple of times at the "so high end, there is no name on the door type salon"), with people bent over our feet, cleaning, buffing, polishing and annointing us. None of our attendants spoke English as a first language, and it was clear, from the way they dressed, spoke and held themselves, that they did not yet see themselves as part of the same society as the rest of us.I had a couple of moments of discomfort at the idea that I, and my fellow pedicurees (new word?) were exploiting the people working in the salon. After all, how many of us, would like to spend our days hunched over someone elses feet?And then, the massage function in my chair went into rest mode, allowing me to be somewhat more observant and I noticed that the workers, albeit quiet, were chatting amongst themselves. My guess is the languages were Korean and Indian influenced Spanish. Not one of the workers spoke to their clients, instead, they would pick up a foot, manipulate it into the position they needed, put the foot down. Occasionally, they would tap a foot to get the attention of the person attached to it, and then tap the foot rest, or point at the water, so the person would know where to put their foot.And then, another thought occurred. They weren't treating us as completely human! The way that we were being treated, and the camaraderie shown between the workers reminded me of horse shows and dog shows. They were the groomers, and we were the dumb animals. Pampered and special, perhaps, but still less than the full humanity that they held for themselves. A strange and humbling moment. None the less, in a life where I spend so much of my time taking care of others, both family members and clients, I am more than happy to be treated as a show pony every once and a while. I just need to remember to express gratitude to my groomers!