|Photo from the internet, not my local salon.|
After the Caucasian woman who bought the salon from Kim treated Tina disrespectfully, she left for a different establishment about a half-mile down the street, and I followed her. We didn't miss a beat, or an appointment, until the pandemic.
The new salon is busier than the old one, with more employees, all lovely young Vietnamese women. About two-thirds of the customers are African-American. There is a smattering of customers from the college further down the street. The prices have gone up since the pandemic -- to be expected -- but still a bargain.
My nails had been trimmed and shaped. My cuticles had vanished. That wonderful hot towel had been applied (for not nearly long enough!) and the cherry blossom scented lotion had been worked into my hands. Tina had just reached for the polish bottle when the door beside me opened and in walked a big white man wearing a loose coat. His hand were in his pockets and he had a kind of scruffy look about him. He did not look like a typical customer A feeling of fear and panic began to rise within me, but before I could give way to it, Tina was on her feet, greeting him and arranging an appointment for a pedicure later in the day.
Thoughts of the Atlanta spa shootings had flashed like lightning through my mind. They had lasted fewer than thirty seconds.
Very soon my nails were finished, beautifully polished and dried, and I was on my way about the rest of my day, leaving Tina and her coworkers behind at the salon.
These ladies see and hear and read the news, just like I do. What must it be like for them -- some very young and working their way through college, others mature and ensuring their own children's college, some with great skill but limited English, and all working hard for low wages, and all Asian -- to get up every morning, remembering what had happened to their Atlanta peers?
Question: How do they do it?
Answer: They may have no alternative.
I'm learning more about white privilege all the time.