Sunday, December 20, 2009

What Your Nails Say About You

Today was the Sunday School Christmas program. After moving heavy wooden platforms, various piano benches, coffee tables and other makeshift scenery, stapling fabric and tulle over some of them, taping actors’ and microphones’ marks on the stone floor, fighting with limited sound equipment, moving the grand piano, ringing bells, waving my arms all over the place and then, afterwards, breaking it all down again, my finger nails are trashed. Trashed!!

I don’t generally care too much about my nails. I get a manicure maybe once a year if I’m lucky, and the polish is gone within hours. But the nails themselves are actually quite wonderful: thick and strong and white on top. Even though I don’t bother with them, they generally look pretty good. Every so often I have to cut them because they get so long they start to get in my way. I feel kind of guilty when I’m with a friend of mine who spends money to have acrylics done every month because her nails are so brittle and unhealthy. Maybe it’s my diet? Don’t know. Don’t really care.

But this afternoon, when one of mine split between nail layers, another snapped off at a dangerous angle and several more were sloppily smoothed out by my teeth on the fly, I suddenly remembered a story about my Nana, my mom’s mom.

I have no frame of reference. No idea when it was, where we were, how the conversation had arisen. I just have this crisp memory of Nana telling me about when she was a school girl in England. Part of their school curriculum was nail care. She said that the kids all had to scrub their hands and push back their cuticles and she got a prize for having the best ‘half moons.’ She seemed as if she was still proud of that, seventy-odd years later. It was endearing.

Then I had another nail-related memory. About my childhood friend Mindy. I admired a lot about Mindy: she was funny, spunky, petite, beautiful, musically and artistically talented. We weren’t terribly close as we grew through high school—I was rarely socially comfortable with anyone. Mostly I remember her in chorus and band, and singing with her while she played Billy Joel’s “Piano Man” on the auditorium piano. But her nails were exceptional. Different every week. Every day, probably. Brightly colored, patterned and designed, often in conjunction with the season. All her own work. Completely original. I can’t even tell you if they were long or short or healthy or not. They were just cool.

I don’t really have any profound conclusion to draw or point to make here. I just thought it was interesting how these memories popped up at the same time. I skipped out onto the web to see if I could find any wisdom about finger nails, but generally found informational pieces about how and why to manicure or how and why not to bite your nails. I also found a preponderance of articles promising to reveal “what your nails say about you.”

Nana’s nails said she was diligent, hard-working and fastidious (check). Mindy’s nails said she was bright, fun and unique (check.) At the moment, my nails say I just need a good, long nap. And probably a manicure.

1 comment:

  1. Rebekah, I offer that your nails say you are willing to sacrifice superficial beauty to support the important people in your life (remember your haircut this summer?) - and I think that is a phenomenal quality.