Sunday, September 24, 2006

Alien Body Parts

Hot on the heels of my return from Korea, an old friend from the States arrived for a weeklong visit. It was her first time in Japan; in fact, her first time anywhere but Europe and North America. Watching her reactions to things has been amusing (ex: "They don't go in much for dental work in this country, do they?"). Making the time to hang out has been totally worth the inbox triage I know I'll have to start performing first thing tomorrow back in the office.

Concerned by my lack of a personal life, my friend's solution was to stay up late hanging pictures, drinking plum wine, and painting our toenails with polish she'd bought at the 100 yen store. As this marked a slight deviation from the typical, 'you need to get a boyfriend' advice that seems to be everyone's panacea, I agreed to this plan. But I was a little hurt when, watching me struggle with the complexities of nail polish, she nearly doubled-over in laughter. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry..." at this point she was wiping away tears. "It's just... Kate (for some reason, friends from the time period in which we met almost universally call me 'Kate'), when was the last time you did this?" The thinking back this required was not made any easier by the fumes from the polish. "I don't know..." I pulled my foot up to my lap to examine the blue sparkley goop that was pooling around my cuticle. "Maybe four years ago..?" "Four YEARS?! You mean, the LAST time we painted nails together? Back in Florida?" "Is this why I can't keep a man?" I asked her somberly. She groaned and took the brush and bottle away from me like it was a loaded weapon. "Sweetheart, why don't I take care of this for you..."

So now I have copper-colored toenails, the brush that came with the glittery blue version having been deemed too thin to allow for even application of the personal life improving elixir that is nail polish. Everytime I see my feet, it gives me such a start that I actually jump; the coloration makes them look somehow disembodied. Showering this morning, I couldn't shake the feeling that I was sharing the bath with a cadaver. Thus I've resolved to no longer look down. Maybe that's the secret to nail polish's apparent social magic -- encouraging better posture and increased eye contact through jolting encounters with one's own alien appearance.

I just hope this isn't a first step down the path that leads to constant need for wearing lipstick and eyeshadow. I don't think I could handle having a disembodied face.


Consul-At-Arms said...

Makeup is part of the whole "presenting a professional appearance" thing for a lot of women FSOs, but if you don't think you need it for work, you're probably the best judge of that.

Painted toenails should probably be optional even if other cosmetics are not. We won't discuss the state of my pedicuric union.

Anonymous said...

ACK!!! It's the continuing process of Gina-fication. Good lord Katie, get some self respect and go granola!

Katie said...

I think being full-on 'granola' would require some broomstick skirt and Birkenstock procurement, maybe some hemp jewelry... Don't you think I'm already pretty crunchy as is?

Anonymous said...

Mom thinks you don't need to 'go granola' OR wear make-up every day. Do what feels right for YOU! And I can understand the reaction to your toenails. It reminded me of the time I painted all my nails with glow in the dark polish. Of course there's too much light everywhere to see it glow...unless you wake up in the middle of the night & wonder what that is in bed with you!

BTW, has the yellow kitchen appliance ever arrived??


Katie said...

Oh, yes -- it's here, and it's a factory reconditioned marvel. I'm debating which recipe would be best to christen it with; I'll let you know what I decide.

Meanwhile, what feels 'right for me' is jeans and a t-shirt, but I don't see that going over very well at the office.