Sarasotans need a bikini wax? Suna at Suna Salon on Palm. A haircut? Derek at Nuovo on 1st Street. You live in a city long enough, you’ve got your little spots. The best spot to get your nails done, the best brow shaper, the best dry cleaner.
You come to a new place and you have to discover anew all the “best spots” for all your integral needs. It can make one feel a little shabby I’ll tell you, cracked nail polish and bushy brows and all.
It had been about a month since we’d arrived in Tel Aviv. We had begun to get settled in and organized, the kids were napping soundly, and I declared to Lance that I was off for an hour. It was time to venture out and find my “spot”.
I had passed by a gazillion little threadbare, old school looking esthetician salons on our walks up and down Ibn Gvirol. Certainly, there is no shortage of estheticians in this city. Only a dearth of confidence in the midst of plentiful options.
I walked into the small, simple, unadorned spot closest to our corner. ORA’s salon. The fair, pixie haired, forthcoming and slightly irreverent, apron clad woman was busy with another client and coolly asked if I have any problems. I shook my head diffidently, no, I just want a simple pedicure. She then got up to examine my feet and told me in point of fact, in her thick Ukrainian accent, that I have a problem. My skin is very thin. This requires a medical pedicure. Come back in a half hour.
I returned a half hour later, unstrapped my sandals, and Ora set to work while I began making small talk. We’re new here, just moved, trying to get situated and find the good spots… Work? Teaching, writing… My husband is a musician by the way if you happen to have any contacts in the world of music…
Now the ball was in her court. And she served and swung and struck like a pro. Yes well there’s this person, and that person. Maybe so and so can help him. And for you, you should look at such and such. Hey if I can help I will. Whatever I can do to be of assistance. Look it’s nothing at all. If I can help why not.
The list of potential contacts was interrupted only to signal the shift from clean, exfoliated feet to color and polish. But the question of color choice was cloaked by a poised statement: “Color? This is your personality! No doubt about it. This shade of purple that you never would have selected or even considered yourself, is totally and absolutely you.” And thus I was spared the typically protracted cogitation process while ambling by the polishes (rich? nude? sassy? delicate? this shade or that nearly identical one but with a nuanced and surely significant difference? time to read the cutesy titles of each — invariably the decisive factor (“tease-y does it” trumps “yucatan if you want to”)). Turns out I was actually slightly relieved to learn that here, Ora the pedicurist chooses the color because she knows best.
I left, happy with my spanking nails (and arched brows by Ora’s partner Svetlana) and headed home, feeling like a new woman. As I turn onto our street, my phone rings. Ora the pedicurist. Write down this number for Lance. Dalia Atlas, a conductor, I just spoke with her, she’ll be happy to meet with him.
Later that day, on my evening walk with Lance and the kids, as we passed by Ora’s salon, I decided to walk in and introduce my gang to her. She glanced at Lance and her eyes glimmered. She later confided to me that my husband has captured her heart and assured me that she and I will go see him conduct together.
A few days later, another phone call: It’s Ora the pedicurist, there’s a woman here with me now who might have some ideas for Lance, what’s your number (to the woman)?, jot this down…
And so Lance has his Israeli version of an agent: Ora the pedicurist. Why just yesterday, several weeks after our first encounter with her, he gets a text from a dancer who tells him to send his materials to some conductor. “I met you outside Ora’s salon”, the SMS indicated.
It’s all about finding the right spots.