Today was a day of many firsts for me. That may not seem like a big deal, but I don’t do well with firsts. I find myself quite anxious before trying anything new. Things like going to a place I’ve never visited, calling a business on the telephone, or walking in large crowds make me extremely nervous. Many times I just don’t do things because I let the wall of anxiety stop me.
But not today!
I have a week off of teaching for spring break and a nail salon was doing a special: anything under $30 free for teachers. I don’t go to salons or spas. I’ve only had a manicure once in my life and that was for my sister’s wedding. I rarely even go to a salon for my haircut. I used to have my friend do it for free, but now that she moved to Ireland I just go to my cousin (but I pay her because her job IS being a hairdresser).
New people make me nervous. I have what some may call “stranger danger”. I’m actually OK socially…it’s just breaking the ice that feels impossible for me.
Anyway. I decided to do this nail salon thing and I asked my friend to go with me. We had to make appointments and I was starting to get the “wall” feeling about calling. I sent her a text yesterday asking her to call for me…which she purposely ignored (she knows me well). So I said, “FINE, I’ll be brave.” And I called with butterflies in my stomach. I made the appointment, heart racing as the phone rang, and then completely fine once the conversation was over. (This must fit into one of those irrational fears categories.)
Our appointment was 1:00 today. She is NOT a morning person, usually waking around noon (she works nights) so she asked me to call her around 11:30 to make sure she was up on time. My call woke her up, and then my second call at 12:26 woke her up again. I had to leave or I’d be late so she said she’d meet me there. I was starting to feel nervous knowing I might be going to this place I’ve never been to alone. I got there, parked in the WRONG place, and wandered around a bit before finding the entrance. I checked my phone and felt my stomach drop reading that she had woken up to stepping in cat vomit and had to clean herself and the floor and was therefore running late.
I stood in front of the door awkwardly, battling my inner anxieties: to go to someplace new filled with strangers, and also my anxiety at being late to things. I know this business relies on their appointments and I didn’t want to waste their time. I took a deep breath and walked in.
It was really hot and kind of humid, but it smelled wonderful and looked very peaceful. The owner was giving a woman a manicure in the front and he promptly looked up and asked if he could help me. I told him I had an appointment and he gestured me to sit in their waiting room. A few minutes later a woman walked in and asked for a pedicure and then went to a wall to pick her color. I didn’t know that was a thing…I’ve never gotten a pedicure before. The owner beckoned me over to choose a color as well.
When I walked to the wall I noticed there were two of my colleagues also taking advantage of the teacher special. They smiled and said hi and I felt a little more at ease. The 4th grade teacher at my school walked over to where I was for her pedicure to dry and I told her how this was my first time getting a pedicure and I had no idea what I was doing. She was shocked and then told me once I had one I’d want them all the time. I stood awkwardly by her for awhile and then finally asked what to do with the color I picked out. She said just hold onto it and give it to whoever is working with you. Then I saw her and her friend hand the technicians some cash and realized CRAP I’m supposed to tip. I looked in my wallet and found $2 (I never carry cash). I quickly text my friend to ask her to bring cash and I tried to text the word “shit” which my phone auto-corrected to “shut” because that’s how infrequently I swear. My friend also thought that was hilarious.
When it was my turn the technician gestured for me to sit in the chair and I gathered my two coats and purse and walked over. She gave me a slightly puzzled look and then pointed to the coat rack I had just walked by…so I went back, hung up my two coats, and finally sat in the chair. I was feeling my nerves coming back because I know my feet are super ticklish and my big toenail ripped off of my left foot when I was a kid and grew back weird so I’m pretty self-conscious about it. I tried to stammer this out to the technician when she asked me if I liked my nails cut short and she just laughed and said, “Make me look pretty, right?” I nodded my head. I guess that’s what I was going for…
The actual pedicure was pretty amazing. I got a massage, some hot stone action, and a fresh coat of polish. (I haven’t had my toes painted in YEARS) My friend came in while it was happening and sat by me. She commented, “I can’t believe you’ve never done this before.” I gave her a look and said, “Really, can you really not believe that?” She laughed and said, “Okay, I can believe it.” She asked what color I picked. Blue. She laughed and rolled her eyes. Everything I do is blue. She slipped me a $5 to give for tip and then we headed for Thai food.
I recently read someone’s blog post and they mentioned Thai Iced Tea which I had never had, but love tea so thought I might enjoy it. I noticed it on the menu and thought, why not? The thing about restaurants is once I get something I like it’s hard to order anything else. Anything else is new and feels scary and might not taste as good as what I know I like…so I tend to order the same things. I also had curry puffs for the first time at my friend’s request which were AMAZING. I did end up ordering Drunken Noodles which is what I get literally every time I’ve been to that restaurant (approximately 3 times). The tea was not what I was expecting…because Thai rhymes with Chai and I basically assumed it would be Chai Tea. It was super creamy and orange in color. It had a very strong flavor, but by the bottom of the glass I was gulping it down because I’d grown quite taken with it. It paired perfectly with the spice from my drunken noodles.
My last big FIRST of the day was buying my first ever lottery ticket. I’m 24 years old…and today was the first day I bought one. My dad gave me a ticket to turn in that had won $3 and with the money I bought my first ticket for $3. That ticket won $3. Now that I have done this once I feel I can handle it by myself, but I’ve been carrying that ticket for days waiting for my friend to show me how to buy a lottery ticket…like that’s such a difficult thing to do.
So today was a good day for me. A lot of new firsts and a lot of progress conquering some of my anxieties. And I have exceptionally soft feet now with shiny blue toes!