Kindness Adventures of "Boss Lady"
--by beastly, posted Apr 18, 2012
[Posting on behalf of a friend who I met at a recent dinner and was inspired by the intention behind Smile Cards.]
It was Christmas Eve for most people – for me, and my longest-standing friend Lanie, it was just another Saturday night. We were going to meet for a waterside dinner on the Northern shore of Long Island before I headed onto I-95 on my way back to Providence.
I arrived about 45 minutes early and on impulse popped into the Nail Salon a few doors up from the restaurant. The owner approached me asking what services I wanted. “Manicure” I answered. “Manicure Pedicure” she chirped. “No, just manicure today – I only have 45 minutes.”
"Manicure Pedicure," she re-chirped. "Manicure Pedicure 45 minutes!"
She walked me to the back of the salon, pointed to a chair, turned to her staff and without a seconds pause, she pulled up a chair and sat by my right hand. Another woman was at my feet, and a third on a stool by my left hand. It didn’t seem that it was going to be too very relaxing, but I felt sure I’d walk out of there in 45 minutes with both a manicure and pedicure.
The owner began mumbling in Korean under her breath. I couldn’t get her to look up to me, so I asked the woman at my feet what was going on. She took an extra beat, maybe deciding whether she was going to really tell me, or not. And she said to me, "That’s Boss Lady, and it’s Christmas Eve, and everyone going home early until you come in - Manicure Pedicure 45 minutes - so now everyone has to wait for you."
Taken aback, I felt instantly stung. She could have said no, but then I guessed she couldn’t. And there she was still mumbling away, and so I turned to her, and with my sweetest voice and a big smile on my face, I said, “Boss Lady, stand up.”
She stopped her mumbling immediately, and looked at me and said, “OK OK” and continued with her emery board. “No,” I said with ever so slightly more vibrato to my voice, “Boss Lady, stand up.” And she did.
I too stood up. “Boss Lady, you sit here.” I said as I pointed to the big black leather seat. “You sit here – and Manicure Pedicure for Boss Lady. Merry Christmas for Boss Lady!”
Reluctantly she switched seats with me. I began to file her right hand, and with my insistence, the two other women started in on her other hand and feet. It took only a minute for her to realize the fun of the moment and she turned to the other workers and asked them to make some tea for us. “Yes, Boss Lady,” they chirped and in the town of Northport, on the island of Long, in the State of New York, Christmas had its official beginning at 4:45 pm.
The day after Christmas I was on my way to Healthrax to swim with my "almost" grandson and his dad. I was relaying the story of Boss Lady and Oscar, just recently turned 4, began to call me Boss Lady with his big teasing smile. He wasn’t quite sure if it was okay, but when I smiled back, he decided it was, and so Boss Lady it was for the rest of the day.
During our swim time he kept calling to me: “Boss Lady, I’m swimming to you” and I noticed that others around the pool smiled whenever he did.
As I was climbing out of the pool a young boy, maybe 7 maybe 8, was sitting on the pool steps pantomiming playing the piano on the water. I stopped to ask him what he was playing. "Chopin" he said without looking up. "Can I hear it?" I asked and he began to hum a tune that sounded vaguely Chopin-esque as he continued to play the water. "Do you have a piano at home?" I asked. "I do, but C and E and D are broken – here, [he pointed to the left of the imaginary keyboard] in the middle, and at the top too." I guessed it was an electronic device because it would be too coincidental for all those notes to be broken in each octave on an old-style piano.
Suddenly, he stopped playing and looked up at me with tears in his eyes. "I asked Santa for a real piano for Christmas, but he didn’t bring it."
"Maybe it was too big for the sled?" I countered. And then, "Which lady is your mommy here?" He pointed to a woman standing on the sidelines and said to me, "Over there Boss Lady, she’s over there" as he went back to his water-Etude.
I looked over to her, she smiled sweetly, and as I neared, she said, "He’s a cutie, isn’t he?" Hard to deny. We chatted a bit -- she’s a professional cellist -- and I weaseled her name from her, wished her a Merry Christmas and went off to the steam room.
The next day I had my piano – the one my son had learned on over 40 years ago. The one his father had learned on over 60 years ago – moved from my house to theirs. The very next day I received an email with a photo of the piano in it’s new home.
Last week I received an invitation from Enzo to his piano concert in June. And yes, I RSVP'd -- Boss Lady will be delighted to attend.