I have not had the full use of my hands, for the most part, since 1977. A month here or there I could completely use them. But mainly, I've been handicapped. By choice. I chose to have longish fingernails, and since my natural fingernails are rather small and way too flexible, I have been a slave to fingernail polish and work habits that either used sturdy gloves or involved some kind of outstretched finger posture in which the fingers were glamorous straight appendages. Growing up, I was never a glamorous straight appendage kind of girl. I always wanted my hands completely involved in mud pies, threading a worm on a hook, potting a plant, making pie crusts. Well, OK, I would WASH my hands before making the pie crust. Even I didn't like grubby little hands.
But a few months ago I asked the woman giving me a pedicure why the sudden pedicure craze. Was there not a similar manicure craze? She informed me that she did many more pedicures than manicures and that a sizable percentage of her pedicure clients did not seem to take the same interest in their fingernails as they did their toenails. They wanted their cuticles neat, but the actual nails on their hands short. Whereas with the toes, they wanted longer, more luxurious looking nails with flamboyant, stylish colors. She went on to say that she saw this as a natural response to our national obsession with hand-sanitizers and hand-washing. "People don't want long fingernails," she said, "because they see them as dirty."
So all summer long my nails have been getting shorter and shorter and shorter until the Auburn/Clemson game last Saturday night when, oops, they got as short as they can possibly get :-) Just a thin white curve of parenthesis at the end of each finger.
I am trying not to flaunt this in the face of the Nail Police (i. e. Husband) who sees long nails as proof of proper grooming and the lack thereof as slovenliness. Hey, my nails are groomed. They are just not long . Neat cuticles and one coat of base coat.
But what these hands can DO. The dough hook on the Kitchen Aid mixer is not nearly as much fun as hand kneading, for instance. Last weekend I had fun with pie crusts.
And then there is the piano. Try playing a Mozart sonata with your fingers all stretched out straight. Then cut off all your fingernails and use your individual fingers like tiny little hammers.
More and more and more and more. It's all coming back to me.