Kismet and I went to Cici’s–or maybe it was Ceci’s–for mani-pedis. First we went to Whole Foods for groceries. I thought we’d need to drive, but Kismet said she’s used to going grocery shopping on the train. She shops from a detailed list. I made a list too. I almost stuck to it exactly, and only had to purchase one additional thermal bag when I checked out. We carried our purchases to Ceci’s or Cici’s or maybe it was Cice’s.
“Put them down!” they cried, pointing to our bags. “There!” They pointed to a spot that looked like it would be in the way. We smiled and nodded, but held onto our bags as we studied the wall of polish, choosing our colors. “Put them there,” my nail technician demanded.
“We’re okay,” I smiled, trying to decide between a dark glittery gray and a pale green.
“That’s a nice color. Very pretty. Put bags here.” Things went along as they usually do in a salon, me not sure how much conversation to make, messing with the chair massager controls, feeling nauseous when the massager thing pounded on my shoulders but embarrassed when it thumped my kidneys and pushed my hips out. Kismet paged through a magazine.
Finally I turned off the massager and looked at the TVs. There were two or three installed high on the walls. A reality show was on. Although there was too much salon noise to hear, closed captioning was on so I could read the lyrics and dialog. “Ah-h-h-h-h-h-h-h-h.” “Great job, dude.” “Thanks, bro.”
When my nail technician sat me at the drying station, I was right across from a screen, so I could hear a little. Kismet sat across from me, so she could hear, too, though she couldn’t see the screen unless she turned around. Bro the team leader had to choose between Dude and a guy in red pants. He had them both sing a U2 song. I loved that they sang at the same time, like a high school audition.
Kismet and I agreed that we liked Dude better than Red Pants. Kismet turned around to check them out and didn’t like Red’s swagger any more than I did. But I felt Dude’s blazer and jeans looked too straight-laced compared to Red’s pants. I was sure Bro would pick Red. Kismet seemed less worried, or maybe less interested.
Bro: I love you guys both so much.
I tell Kismet, “He loves both the guys so much.”
Bro: This is an incredibly hard decision. I never thought I would have to choose between two such incredibly talented people.
I tell Kismet, “It’s an incredibly hard decision, and he never thought he’d have to choose between two such incredibly talented people.”
Bro: Red Pants, you really surprised me today. I knew you’d bring it, but your theatricality really blew me away.
Me: “He’s talking to Red Pants. He knew he would bring it, but his theatricality really blew him away.”
The screen shows a woman and two little girls. A caption reads “Dude’s wife and two little girls.” Under it is the captioning of what Bro is saying to Dude. “There’s Dude’s family!” I say. Kismet turns around but they’ve cut back to Dude, listening to Bro. Kismet turns back around to face me. “Sorry,” I tell her. “They looked worried though.”
Bro: You were amazing and I knew you would be.
Me: “He’s talking to Dude now. He was amazing and he knew he would be.”
Bro: Your first notes were really strong. Really right on. And I thought, he’s gonna do it. Then your next note.
Me: “His first notes were really strong. Uh-oh, it doesn’t look good. If he doesn’t win he has to start all over, he was saying before. He’s got to support his family. They’re showing the family again!” Kismet turns back around but they’ve cut back to Bro. “Sorry,” I say again.
Bro: You are incredibly talented, there’s no doubt about it. This is such a hard choice.
Me: He’s incredibly talented, there’s no doubt about it. This is not looking good at all.
Bro: It’s really hard. But I’m going to have to say…
Me: “He’s going to pick Red Pants. I knew it.”
[Tense music plays]
Me: “Tense music is playing.”
Bro: I’m going to have to go with…
Me: “They’re showing the two guys. They’re cutting to their wives. Tense music is still playing.”
Bro: … I choose Dude.
Me: “Oh my god he chose Dude!”
“Yay,” says Kismet. She waves her new gorgeous nails. “I think we’re done.”
“Maybe we should give them a few more minutes.”
“I need to make appetizers,” she says, getting up. It’s Syd’s birthday dinner tonight. I can’t argue. I still need to make my salad.
We sling our insulated grocery bags over our shoulders, clearing a space in the salon large enough for four more women. I take one last look at the TV before we head out the door. Dude is hugging his family. “I’ll TiVo it for you,” Kismet offers.
“Please don’t,” I answer. We head to the train.