Raelynn unfurled a leg longer than the weeds in my herb garden and regarded one foot. She pulled out a cell phone and pressed a button. Immediate attention from Emergency services was essential.
The only numbers I have on speed dial are my kids and the plant doctor. If the Peta people cared as much about geraniums as they do about houseflies, they’d be hurling organic fertilizer at me every time I strolled through the Lawn and Garden section at Sears. A day doesn’t go by at my house without another senseless murder surrounded by potting soil and peat moss. But more important matters were afoot here.
My dear friend Raelynn was experiencing a crisis. Climbing out of her Town Car, she’d chipped the polish on one of her piggies.
Raelynn spends more money on her big toe than most people spend on their first real car—not the beater that got you through college and collapsed in a sigh of oil-induced relief on graduation day, but the one whose odometer turned to 100 for nobody but you. Spread this kind of upkeep over all available footage, and I could float a Ferrari over the Autobahn like a hovercraft for what she spends on the care and feeding of her feet.
If I ever spend that much time on a part of my body I haven’t seen since the last time Waldo was spotted, please repossess my WalMart Master Card.
“They’ll take me at four,” she said, snapping her cell phone shut the way a prosecuting attorney would close a file of incriminating evidence in front of a condescending judge. She watched as I shucked off my Converse sneakers.
“You could take better care of your feet. It isn’t that hard.”
“I don’t have time for all that oil and lotion and sanding them with a rock. I’ve got to peel the potatoes for dinner and vacuum the living room.”
“You use frozen potatoes. How long can it take to push Start? And that little automatic vacuum cleaner of yours scurries around like a mouse sucking up hairballs. It’s like playing room to room air hockey.”
“Well, it’s too much trouble.”
“Taking care of your feet is easier than cooking dinner. Why, after you wash and dry them. . .”
“You have to wash them?”
Raelynn looked at me as if I’d suggested she upholster her Lincoln with vinyl siding.
“You don’t wash your feet?”
“I’m not exactly sure where they are. I figure they must be at the bottom of the pile somewhere. They get the soap and water runoff when I take a shower.”
She blinked. “You’re going with me this afternoon. You need it more than I do.”
Two hours later my feet were softer than cumulous clouds, better decorated than my guest bedroom, and smelled like the perfume tester counter at the mall. I was afraid to walk.
The girl in charge of my new look played the cash register like a slot machine and announced a total. I could have bought a registered Shih Tzu and a groomer to find its eyes for what I paid for my feet. I handed over the little piece of plastic that big girls use to buy new toys and sighed.
That night, Bill and I spent the evening calculating whether it was worth sacrificing the kids’ college education to support my feet in their new lifestyle.
“Well, he said, watching the light dance off of the Pink Passion polish. It gives a whole new meaning to the term “foot the bill.”