...or maybe this post should be titled One Shiny Fingernail. Here's why:
I spent the weekend with Eustacia because her film studies group presented a documentary, and her concert band performed their final concert of the school year. We also had to start the process of moving her out of her dorm room, so it made sense to just stay in town instead of driving back and forth.
On Saturday, we went to the auditorium to watch an opera performance from the conservatory and a couple of short plays from the theater department. Then Eustacia and her group showed their film, "Gang Violence in Cleveland." It was very good, and I was so proud of the editing she did on the project. Later that night, we had dinner and went to her concert. The band pulls from the general school population with just a few conservatory students, and it's the cleanest, most solid concert band I've ever heard. They were wonderful.
Now, for the shopping. On Sunday, Eustacia had a thing for a few hours, which left me with lots of time to kill after I had checked out of the hotel. I drove to the other side of the city to spend time at a shopping center—you know, the upscale type that seems to be popping up a lot, the type made to look like a village with apartments and stores and restaurants. I had lunch at Cheesecake Factory and crossed the street for the indoor mall with a JJill. Just try to keep me out of a JJill store. I dare you.
I bought a few things there, then bought a few things at Crabtree and Evelyn, then bought a few thing at Eddie Bauer. Then I made my way toward Starbucks because I still had about an hour and a half to kill and nothing else I cared to buy. And it was then that I was ambushed.
Have you noticed how the mall hawkers who man the kiosks have changed lately? They aren't pock-faced kids who could care less if you buy their boss's crap. They are suave and swarthy. They speak with exotic accents from countries unknown, and they smile and flash their eyes at you. They only want what's best for you, and all they need is for you to make eye contact.
I have learned not to make eye contact, but this particular hawker stepped into my path and slipped a sample packet of lotion in my hand. As I took it out of reflex, he put a dot of lotion in the palm of my hand so I had to stop to wipe it off. As I wiped it off, visibly irritated, he took hold of my thumb and asked in that smooth accent, "Are these your real nails? They're lovely."
To which I said, "I bite my nails. They are not lovely, and I don't care."
To which he said nothing but started buffing my thumb nail with a file made with the finest salt from the Dead Sea. It's special. It works magic. I'd see for myself in just a moment. I told the young man I would not be buying a single thing from him, and he was wasting his time, to which he said, "What's your name?" He buffed this single thumb nail for another moment and then said, "Scout, I'm about to show you something magic, but don't scream, OK?" To which I said, "Again, I am not going to buy anything from you." To which he said, "But this magic is free." And he removed the Dead Sea buffer and revealed my thumb nail, shining like a light house at midnight, and he said it would remain this way for a month.
Great. Now I have this smooth-as-glass, gleaming thumb nail, and I have to live with it for an entire month. It's driving me nuts because there is no nail-polish remover that will get rid of it and make it a mess like the rest of my nails. And every time I see it or feel it, I think about how I was ambushed by a kiosk hawker. I did all the right things to avoid him and was still nabbed. I'll have to work on my shopper-with-purpose technique. And I may have to see about this Dead Sea nail buffer. Just don't tell the hawker he may have planted a seed.