Monday, September 5, 2011

Monday Mimisms ~ Mr. Finger Freud Strikes Again

"You happy?"
"Sure, I'm happy."

As if he didn't hear me at all he continued, "You need to be happy. Do what makes you happy. You be happy."
"I'm happy. Don't I look happy?"
"You no happy."

My longstanding relationship with the Vietnamese manicurist known as Mr. Freud is one more akin to doctor and patient at times.
There was no one else in the shop this morning. I had a lot on my mind as I watched the busy Labor Day weekend traffic whiz by the large picture window down the streets of Boringsville, USA.

 Maybe he has a point.
I'm content. That's it. Peaceful. Content. Staid. I am those things you know that's not the same as happy Mimi and I am very good at being on my own. I like it  you lie you like it sometimes and other times you talk to the walls   I AM ok. Ok. Ok. Ok. Ok?

"You still work same place?"
"You still like your job?"
"What you not like about it?
"It makes me tired. Very tired."
"Why you tired?"
"It's exhausting. Every day is exhausting. I never catch up."
"I see you look tired when you look out the window. It...not good to not like a job."
Maybe I'd better perk up.

"You no like your job you get sick. It make you sick."
"Do I look sick to you?"
He took a long inquisitive look and said,
"You no like your job."

You sure know how to make a girl unhappy. If I'd wanted analyzing I would have written on my Facebook wall. Why pay for therapy when I can come to my manicurist for a diagnosis?

 I remember the first day I sat down in the chair in his shop. It was awkward having a person you didn't know hold your hands and caress your fingers, he kept pulling them back to him. I kept resisting. "Hold hand like this," he'd say impatiently. The first few months I drove him crazy with my constant "ouch!" drama and inability to understand his accent. I squirmed. He fumed. I glared when he hurt me. He'd yank my hand back to him without a word and continue with the finger torture. I learned to cuss in Vietnamese under my breath. He laughed some more.

But he gives the best manicures in the known world. 

Over the years I've learned to sit still. Now he just laughs when I ouch.  He has ouches too. He and his wife run the nail salon together. Some days I knew they were having a tiff. He was silent. She was silent. He hurried through his work.  Other days he took great pride and pleasure in creating a perfect look for me, taking his time and beaming when I praised his abilities.
  After seven years in the same chair holding hands, you get to know a person.
Apparently, he knows when it's time to scramble my pencil brain.

Somewhere between the sculpting of the last nail and the broken-English rendition of his journey from working two jobs to feed his family to finally returning to school to find a job that makes him happy, I surrendered to the truth right there in the sacred salon pew. And hallelujah when the last rough buff on my pinkie was done, I knew I couldn't hide it from myself any longer.
I can't even hide it from Mr. Freud for one hour.
He stopped talking and let my happy self stare at moving traffic. But my head and heart already knew what he was saying was true. My closest friends have been telling me this for two years. It's not my wall-talking self I want to run away from.  It's the endless hour days and the nonsense regulations and rules that drain the life out of me, keeping me from doing what I've been sent there to do. The intrinsic rewards are no longer enough to sustain my desire to keep on keeping on - not unless major changes are made - and I don't see that happening.  It's not what I do - for that is truly who I am to the core - it's the venue I've chosen to do it in.

I need a new plan.  Maybe graduate school. Maybe a book publisher will fall out of the sky into my lap. Maybe a miracle. Maybe private academy teaching. My mother says I should sing funerals and weddings and graduations that won't pay for one manicure, mother...   I have enough wedding singer disaster stories to fill a book (all ended in divorce) and besides, who wants to make a living waiting for people to die? Definitely time to scaffold a plan.
Miracles work better when there's a plan.

For good measure I thought I'd take one more stab at his perceptive vibe just to be sure. He was almost finished with the job he was sent here to do.
"I can't quit my job. I have to pay my bills. It's only me ya know."

"You not happy. That no good. You. You need to be happy. know.... happy."

He's pretty wise for a man who thrives on finger torture.

Join us for BlogBlast For Peace Nov 4, 2011.


Michelle said...

He's right too, dear Mimi.

Go hunting, as daft as it might be. Go searching the rainbows for job ideas.

Don't settle for existing. It sucks. Been there - done that. No way for a queen to live.

So now you have TWO naggers!


Karen said...

he is so true.

Sally said...

Very true, happiness creates endorphines 'the happiness hormones'

Princess said...

your piece reminds of the very reason why I decided to retire a year earlier; and what a nephew posted on his FB just 6 hours ago - "when I am happy I am always good, ... when I am good I am not always happy" ...

Akelamalu said...

He speak the truth. x

Mimi Lenox said...


I am in the middle of a career, which if not careful, becomes your whole life. Careers for musicians/actors are few and far between unless you want to go to New York and starve while auditioning. This is a good steady income. But it also requires you give your life blood to the cause. I'm all in on most days...trouble is, there's no room left for anything else because I'm too exhausted to give anymore.

So much needs to change. And the only thing that's going to change it is a bulldozer and start over from the beginning.

I've got better things to do and life is too short.

Charles Gramlich said...

I see why you call him Mr. Freud.

Mimi Lenox said...

Karen - I was in the right place at the right time.

Sally - Pass the endorphins

Princess - Your nephew is very wise as well. But does this mean that I have to be good?

Akelamalu - You got it, little Hawaiian girl.

Mimi Lenox said...

Charles - Yes. But I will not be discussing Freudian theory with him in Vietnamese. I fear there would be more ouches.

Travis Cody said...

Brava, Maestra. Make a plan, understand the challenges involved, and do what needs to be done.

There are sacrifices, but there will also be benefits. Trust yourself to minimize the one to maximize the other.

Mimi Lenox said...

Travis - Yes sir, Dancing Bee. Smile.

The Gal Herself said...

An awesome post. It's always more intense when the right words come from an unexpected source. I'm happy you went for that manicure today, and I like that you tagged this "authentically me." Now that you now where you have to go, it's gonna be fascinating to watch your journey.

Mimi Lenox said...

Thank you, Gal. I'm sure I'll need some nudging along the way.

lime said...

i've never been one for manicures. heck, i just learned to stop biting my nails 2 years ago. but mr freud sounds like he's worth the trip. here's to happy. let me know what it looks like when you get there, ok?

Mark In Mayenne said...

Maybe, just maybe, you can cause the necessary major changes to be made. Perhaps you can't, but trying is one of the roads available to you, and it seems a shame to give up on it before you start.

Renee said...

Sometimes the best places to find solace for our worries and angst is the places we go to get away. Very well written.

RHM said...

I'm here.

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