(Editor’s note—This was written by the author before nail salons opened this week for pedicures, when the author joined the commentary editor, who can’t even reach his toes because of senior problems, in the agony of wondering where to get his toenails trimmed.)
Don’t tell anyone but I have found a bristling underground economy right here in our city. As the Governor determined what services are essential, the government created a problem for me when it labeled nail salons non-essential. I’ll just come out and say it, “I love getting pedicures.”
Some of you are probably wondering why a macho guy like me is pampered with a manicure. Two reasons. I am as flexible as a picnic table and cannot do the “5 Little Piggy’s” on my funny looking feet and second, a pedicure makes even my deformed toes look like the feet of Leonardo’s David (except smaller).
For several weeks I was cruising strip malls, looking for signs of life at any one of the dozens of salons in the Chino Valley. An open door, open sign, a couple parked cars in these ghost town malls. Nothing. An Internet search with Yelp directed me to the top nail shop. I called them and a few answered only to tell me they were closed. I tried using my well-rehearsed Vietnamese accent at three places but was still shut out. Leaving voice mail messages with others, I got a call back from Jenny in Fontana who was working from her neighbor’s garage for $50. Sounded scary. I also got a call from Sam who offered to come to my home for a $75 mani-pedi. That just seemed a little too creepy--too much “mani.”
That night my wife awakened me with a shriek of terror as my foot brushed against her bare leg. The nail on my big toe, now like the serrated blade of a buck knife, had unmercifully ripped into her leg. Something needed to be done. Neighbor Stacy heard about an underground nail salon from Mrs. Jacobson up the street. I checked it out only to find a locked door and shades drawn. When I tried calling the number listed on the door, I could hear the phone ringing inside, but no answer.
I went back to my car and tried calling again. As I did, a pretty pregnant woman slipped into the front door. Minutes later she came out. I quickly popped out of my car and followed her to her Honda Accord. “How did you do that?” I asked. “Knock” she said.
I rapped two quick knocks and three slow. Hocus Pocus, the door opens. “Mrs. Jacobson sent me” I murmured.
I found myself in a darkened salon bustling with people, like a speakeasy gambling den except it smelled like lacquer nail polish. I was escorted to chair No. 2 next to a sharply dressed man. He suggested I get my nails buff shined.
“Thanks Gavin, yours really look great,” I told him.