Meditations in a Nail Shop

I am sitting in a neighborhood nail shop as my father receives a pedicure and manicure from an exceptionally kind and skilled specialist in such matters.

We are the only customers in the shop.

Some Spaghetti Western music plays.

Rain is falling outside and I can hear vehicles splashing by.

I insisted Dad get a regular pedicure because of something I read long ago in Being Mortal about how elderly people often don’t take care of their toenails and it can lead to serious health problems. So here I am, somewhere I never figured on being.

The shop smells of nail polish.

I am tempted to make a cup of instant coffee.

I’m taking a break from reading a new book that blames progressive people and politicians for the homeless crisis on the West Coast.

A general malaise seems to hang in the American air these days, as if there is no way out of the angry and insane mess of current American life. And just wait until the midterm elections and the probable overturn of Roe V Wade.

I brought a new copy of Steinbeck’s East of Eden and have read three chapters. I last the read book in the 80s and remember almost nothing of it, nor the James Dean movie I saw once. Let’s just say this novel is not holding up well. The Grapes of Wrath does. It’s more relevant today than when it came out during the Depression. It’s funny how some books transcend the decades or centuries and others do not. I occasionally wonder if anyone will be reading any of my books 20 or 50 or a hundred years from now.

Every time we visit this nail shop, Dad always pays double what they charge.

I’m writing this on my trusty 20+ year-old AlphaSmart 3000 word processor that is resting on my thighs. I had to laugh the other day when I read an essay in the New Yorker proclaiming this ancient analog device the key to distraction free writing for professional writers. Hahahahahah. I’ve know that since 1997 when I first discovered them at a rural school on the Oregon Coast. They are my great secret weapon to getting the writing going so long ago and to still keep cranking it out.

We’re almost finished. Time to get up and get Dad to the car.