Is laughter contagious? And I love to laugh and watch others laugh. One day, I was caught in such a situation where laughter was SO contagious, it spilled right over to me. I sat in the massage chair, fidgeting with the chair control remote. There were pictures and arrows that indicated how and where your back could be rubbed, thumped or jujitsu massaged as you enjoyed a pedicure.. But I could never figure out the pictures, so I pressed buttons until I found and gentle tapping setting on my upper back and shoulders. My feet soaked in warm, sudsy water and Sue came over and turned on the jets. “Water feel okay?” She asked with a huge grin. I smiled and told her it was perfect. Pedicures had become my new gift to myself. Every other weekend, I came to Cindy Nails and let a young Vietnamese girl exfoliate my feet. Then she trimmed the layers of skin and around my toenails and cuticles. I never knew how many layers of skin were actually around a person’s nail bed before getting pedicures. It used to gross me out – not to mention wondering how the technicians managed to perform the tasks of cleaning their clients’ toenails day in and day out. I decided it’s probably like a career of nurse or preschool teacher. You’re going to see some gross things….and somehow you adjust and they eventually become ordinary.
The chairs were situated closely together, so as to fit as many as possible along the east wall of the salon. Across the aisle from the chairs were matching nail manicuring desks. Again, placed so close together that only the tiny Asian workers would be able to slide sideways between the stations and sit adjacent to their clients to work on their fingernails. The local radio station played easy-listening pop favorites and it was perfect. Not too rowdy and yet no songs to put you to sleep, either. I had grown to love these friends of mine at the salon. The smells coming from their back room used to offend me, but now, after two years of bi-monthly visits, it was comforting. I envisioned a crockpot of healthy vegetables and specialty noodles cooking all day. I knew that despite living in the United States for many years, this family remained true to their customs and diet. Starbucks coffee had made its way into their routine, but otherwise, I saw only vegetables and soups consumed. The fact that my extra large frame filled the seat of the massage chair was probably ample motivation for them to not adopt the “normal” American diet of fast food and processed meals.
This particular Saturday morning, I was reading a digital copy of the newspaper on my Kindle. A woman was seated next to me. Tub filled, massage chair adjusted, my pedicure neighbor pulled out a magazine and began reading. She was a large woman, like me. Her long, brown hair cascaded beautiful around her shoulders. Everyone seemed settled in and I was reading my book, when I noticed the woman next to me was laughing. I didn’t look directly at her (and I didn’t hear any sounds) but out of the corner of my eye, I could clearly tell that she was laughing. Her torso was jumping slightly….the way someone would “jiggle” as they tried to stifle a hearty chuckle. I smiled, thinking, she must have read something funny in her magazine. One, two minutes passed, and still, this woman’s continued laughing. I couldn’t hear a sound coming from her, but I started to chuckle myself. I didn’t know what could be SO incredibly funny, but imagined it was probably a really entertaining story. Maybe somebody had fallen and couldn’t get up (not funny, unless you are an observer…) or maybe a comedian was being interviewed in the article and was throwing out non-stop jokes. Whatever it was, I was impressed that my pedicure neighbor could keep any sound from escaping her lips, since she had been laughing hard for over five minutes.
Eventually, I started to laugh softly, too. I wasn’t sure why, except that by now I thought surely this woman must have tears rolling down her face from the overwhelming emotion. I love when a laugh sort of takes you over and you can’t stop. I couldn’t stand it anymore. The suspense was killing me. I turned my head to see if I could catch a glimpse of the article she was reading so I could find out what was so darn funny. I had a huge grin on my face, as I tried to gain control of my own laughter, which was simply a result of her contagious joy. You can image my surprise, when I saw that her hands were folded in her lap and the magazine wasn’t even opened! Her eyes were closed and her face relaxed and she was almost asleep. However….her breasts were not! Her chair was on full force massage mode…..and what I had mistaken as an uncontrollable case of the giggles, because of her gentle but extremely consistent movement was, in fact, her large breasts being jiggled about from the motion of the massage chair.
Realizing my mistake made me…of course…laugh. I wondered if someone had ever been in my position and thought I was laughing….when really, my bosom was just getting a good workout! Things are not always as they seem. And, if you are a well-endowed woman, I recommend wearing a sports bra to the nail salon.