BLACK AND BLUE AND READ ALL OVER
SEATTLE, Washington: My friend Edward is a man who just can't say no.
He's the gentle-hearted sort who would give pride of place to your first thrown pot. Any gift is an honor, a privilege, a treasure.
And what room for abuse this leaves...
Poor kid. We're scoffing Greek food at the Conty, when my eye wanders to the salon across the street.
Yup. Crusty as ever.
"Happy belated birthday," I declare. "I'm treating you to a pedicure."
My imaginary big brother looks hangdog in the massage chair. He glares over the latest issue of Cosmopolitan, but the manicurist gloved and masked ignores everything except his soles.
Two razors later, she's scraped most of the callouses. Another staffer comments: "I've never seen feet like that outside a rice paddy."
"I don't like shoes," Ed explains. "I wear flip flops almost everywhere."
And then, to me: "Stop laughing. I'm only gathering material and indulging you. Why, I can't say. You're already overindulged. You think the entire world exists solely for your amusement."
"Well, yes... Anyway, what other good is it doing?
"Make it all stop," moans Edward, slumping behind Marie Claire.
"Pick a polish," the manicurists instructs.
"Would beige cover up that purple nail of his?" I ask.
She shakes her head, strides across the room, returns with two bottles. Edward's eyes kindle like a Christmas tree in February.
"Black or blue?"
"Black. Make them all black."
An hour later, I'm cussing across the U-Village parking lot. "Pottery Barn, foul place. Bloody Crate & Barrel. All that crap acres of glazed ceramics and bud vases for lucky bamboo and not a single sheer bathroom curtain. Makes me fear for humanity..."
Maybe it's the monologue that stops the pert, ponytailed jogger. But it's our feet that horrify her.
Rooted to the asphalt, she stares and stares, Peach Sunrise lips in a disdainful moue.
Edward's toenails are Goth black, mine are candy apple red, the very shade of Lolita's lollipop in the iconic poster.
Luckily my rant's crescendo jars Miss Priss loose before she fossilizes like a victim of Pompeii (all that Botox, no doubt, would accelerate the process). "Just b*gger Pottery Barn!" I exclaim.
She tries to shoot me a dirty look and fails. Princess, you stink of the Starbucks Experience: you can't possibly scare me. (Unless you bust out the Hummer, in which case, I'll quail.)
As she trots off, I turn to Edward.
"That was beautiful," he chokes.
Pedicure. The gift that keeps on giving.