the short and defenseless

I cut my fingernails off last night. I didn’t just cut them. I cut them off. I haven’t truly had short nails since high school, when I was still taking piano lessons.

Aside: okay. It’s not like I had long nails – you know, not like the drag queen and/or too-much-make-up lady who gets them “done” every week. No claw-like weapons of mass destruction. They just had a little bit of length to them. Good for peeling labels, taking care of minor skin irritations and removing slivers. That kind of long. Just to clear that up.

My hands are now completely naked. The skin that used to be protected by the (small) length of nail is now like brand new skin: tender and hypersensitive to everything that it gets harshly bashed into. Like computer keys.

Opening my contact lens case this morning was an entirely different event than it had been the day before, as was removing the lid on the margarine at breakfast. Even driving was an oddity, as gripping the steering wheel placed new pressures near what’s now left of my nails. Fortunately, in my distractions, traffic was light.

After a simple nail clip, my hands now look stunted, my fingertips, flattened and my knuckles, more prominent. Ick. Hardly a great way to meet and greet anyone – with a short, squat and knobby handshake.

I did have a reason for doing this. My nails were not cut off in a rage over a chip or accidentally torn contact lens. I bought (and I use the term loosely: I forced $25 on an acquaintance) a 3/4 guitar that was being given away. It had issues; that was obvious. But, for $25, it seemed worth it to see if it was worth fixing.

It wasn’t.

However, for a surprisingly reasonable cost, the guitar shop – conveniently, the same one where they felt it unwise to repair the 3/4 guitar – had several small full-size guitars available. (Neil Douglas Guitar Shop in New Westminster: super nice guys (though I’m sure they had a good laugh after I left). They have a store cat. Any place that has a store cat is automatically bumped up in my ratings.)

Another aside: I took my friend’s 3/4 guitar because, although we already have a full size guitar, it is incredibly painful for me to play it. No one told me, damn it, that, within the “full size” guitar world, there are actually different sizes, and that it is, indeed, possible to get a “small full-size” guitar.

So, I’ve now settled myself into returning this weekend to get a new, smaller guitar. And so, I cut my nails off. That way, I have to go back. I mean, I cut my nails off! That’s a pretty serious commitment. It’ll take a few weeks, at least, before they can fully grow back!

The problem, now, exists around this fragile fingertip skin. How long is it going to take to toughen them up?? They’ve been so protected and sheltered for so long… Perhaps reviewing some proper piano tunes (unlike the cop-out chordings I’ve been playing the last few years) will once again get them used to being used.

It’s either that, or attacking my fingertips with the pot scrubber while washing dishes.

One response to “the short and defenseless

  1. I’ve attempted the guitar a few times in my life and my whole body remembers the torturing fingertip pain. I hope to hear that your experience with a fitting guitar is more pleasurable.

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