It happens every year around this time — it’s still light outside when most people are getting out of work. It’s not raining. It’s not cold, but it’s not hot yet. Everything is green. People get spring fever.
The busiest part of my day is after 4 p.m. So I see a lot of people at the end of their day, when they are tired, stressed out, and impatient. All they want to do is check their email, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, etc. They want to get caught up on what happened all day while they were stuck at work.
Add this to spring fever and for about a month every year, I spend a good portion of my time with each client scolding them about wiggling.
They tap their toes, they fiddle with their hair, they talk with their “free” hand, and why I can’t convince them to just put their cell phones on the table when they come in, I’ll never know. They all leave their phones in their purses and insist that they’ll just “let it go to voicemail” if it rings. But as soon as it makes the tiniest hint of a noise, there goes that “free” hand searching through their purse because they just “need to check that real quick.”
For as long as I have done nails I have been straight-up dead honest with my clients: If they move during the service, I will not take responsibility if they get cut.
I use a drill (e-file if you must) for 80% of my filing. My drill tops out at 35,000 rpms, and I rev it high. In nearly 22 years of doing other people’s nails, I have (make that had) never actually cut anyone with it. I’ve scratched a few people, when someone moves unexpectedly and suddenly her knuckle is where her nail was half a second ago. But I use arbor bands for most of my drill work so the worst that ever happened was a little torn surface skin and a stern “that’s why I keep telling you to sit still” lecture.
Last week someone ignored my warnings and next thing I knew, the arbor band had made a sleek little paper cut perpendicularly on her sidewall. Ouch. That looks like it hurts. Let’s put some alcohol on it. (evil grin)
Seriously — a little first aid and some liquid bandage and she swears she didn’t even feel it. But I feel like crap. I can’t show it. I have to be all, “And that’s why I keep telling you to put both hands on the table.”
Well, after your first ever cutting-someone-with-your-drill experience, you tend to get a little extra serious about the STOP MOVING warnings. But it’s spring; no one can sit still.
Tuesday it was extra bad. I was almost to the point where I was so nervous to file (electronic or hand) anyone’s nails that I was on the verge of tears.
I eventually posted a little light-hearted comment about all the squirming on my Facebook page.
So in walks one of my late evening clients and the first thingshe does is mention my post. We laugh about it a little and I explain my plight. We get to work on her nails, we chitchat, we’re having a pretty good time... and then the hand I’m working on is swaying, pulling back and forth as though dancing. I look at her, her other hand is draped across my arm rest and she is lazily making little circles in the air with her finger.
I give her the sideways stink eye. I lift up one eyebrow like Spock. She makes eye contact with me. I look down at the circling finger. She lifts her eyebrow. I bust out with an exclamatory, “OH MY GOSH! SERIOUSLY?!”
At which point her eyebrows shoot up and she looks at me with all the innocence of an astonished 4-year-old who has just realized that the reason Mom keeps telling her not to lay on the floor while she’s vacuuming is because the vacuum will suck up her hair while it’s still on her head — and my client says, “Oh, does that move the hand you’re working on?”
I honestly cannot remember if I laughed at the time. I was pretty flummoxed. But I sure have been laughing about it ever since.
I love ’em to death. I really do. Even though sometimes I want to hit ’em upside the head.
I imagine it’s a lot like having kids.