I get that the world might be ending, but can't you just do a topcoat?

You don’t know what you got until it’s gone. And people are weird. I was reminded of both facts last weekend when I went for my regular sojourn south of the border – the Los Angeles County border, that is.

Before I became a resident of Los Angeles, I called Orange County my home during grad school. And though it’s been a few years since I’ve lived behind the Orange Curtain, it still feels oddly familiar every time I have to hit the brakes when the 22 East meets the 5 South. Seriously, how is that interchange busy at 8am on a Saturday? Which is exactly what I was forced to do while driving to see my longtime hair stylist, Miguel.

You see, every couple of months, I drive approximately 40 miles (80 if you count roundtrip) to get my hair done by the same guy I’ve been going to since I moved to California. Some might call this behavior extreme – and by some I mean men – but the ladies can back me up on this one. It’s worth every penny of that gas money.

But it’s not just the hair. I multitask my appointments and also treat myself to a pedicure each time I go to the salon. Debbie (not her real name) and I also share a long history. And it’s not just about how great she is at making my toes look all pretty. We have a relationship, people. We talk about stuff. I tell her about work, she tells me about work. I tell her about my family, she tells me about her family. Hell, I’ve even seen pictures of them, and I love it. This is why I keep coming to this nondescript strip mall shop.

To make the most of my O.C. Saturdays, I always book the first appointment of the day, and without fail, Miguel and Debbie are waiting with open arms each time I walk through the door. However, I happened to get there a little early this past Saturday and was mildly surprised that Debbie wasn’t already there. Miguel met me at the door and said he would call her to let her know I had arrived. Cool. I had to pick out my nail polish anyway.

After deliberating way too long on a shade, I finally sat down and began that magazine flipping thing you do when you’re not really paying any attention because you’re suddenly beginning to feel like something is wrong. Miguel approached me again to say that his call went directly to Debbie’s voicemail.

“Oh, okay. Does she live far away?”

“No, just a block from here.”

“Oh, great! She’ll probably be here any minute.”

That’s when Miguel awkwardly informed me that she might not be coming at all. Ever. Debbie had quit two days earlier without any notice.

I was incredulous. How was that possible? I had just talked to her a few weeks ago! And why didn’t she call me? That’s what friends would do, right? I was upset, but more than upset, I was confused.

“How could she quit? Is she okay?”

Miguel’s response didn’t exactly confirm a positive answer… Debbie quit because she thought the end of the world was coming.

Although 12.21.12 has come and gone, and the earth has not been consumed in a ginormous fireball, Debbie has some lingering suspicions that Armageddon has been rescheduled for a future date. Maybe she’s right, but is that reason enough to bail on my pedicure? I had no words to respond. I could tell that Miguel felt weird by association, and who could blame him? I’d feel uncomfortable, too, if forced to relay the message that someone I know had gone nuts.

Still, I didn’t quite understand why the end of the world would prompt someone to just throw in the towel on life, so I pressed for details. Miguel didn’t have much to tell me, other than Debbie had been spending every morning at church. I felt like I was part of some weird Dateline special.

I decided to call her myself, but as Miguel had encountered, my call went straight to voicemail. What kind of a message do you leave after learning something like that? I know I sounded just as bewildered as I felt, but managed to string together a few words to wish her well. “Okay, bye…” Forever. Click.

Five days later and counting, Debbie still hasn’t called me back. And I still don’t know what to make of last weekend’s events.

And I still need a pedicure.

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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4 Responses to “The People You Know?”

I’m sure your toes are just as beautiful as your new hair, my dear 🙂

Kylie Deneen
January 17th, 2013

And you are just beautiful, period. 🙂

January 19th, 2013

Um, at least your toes will be pretty on the other side?…

I got nothin’.

January 28th, 2013

I never thought of it that way, but I guess that’s a fair trade-off. She really is THAT good. 😉

January 31st, 2013