Monday, September 13, 2010

September 12, 2010

A lady came into my place of business, today. She said she wanted me to adjust her glasses—if they needed it. I looked at them on her face, they looked straight. I sat them on the table, they sat straight. I asked her if there were any spots where they seemed a little tight, maybe some inconvenient rubbing?

Nope. None of that.

“Just see what you can do, Sugar. Can you do that?”

“Sure,” I said, “I'll be right back.” She was so sweet but she didn't really need anything that I could offer her. I wasn't sure exactly what it was she was looking for from me. So I did what I usually do when customers can get a little imaginary. I took them into the back and I cleaned them as best I could and tightened every little screw that I could find. And the reaction was exactly as I had expected, “Oh, honey! You're a miracle worker—I knew you could fix it.”

She was very old. Very, very old. I imagine she's a widow and doesn't have a lot waiting for her at home. She didn't get up to leave. She sat there, patting my hand and asking me questions about myself.

“Are you from McPherson?”
“No. I moved here a little over a year ago.”
“Where did you move here from?”
“Kansas City.”
And it always goes like this, “Oh! Well, this must be quite a change of pace for you!”
And I always say, “Yes, it took some getting used to but I love it.”

She asked me about my husband and I told her that I didn't have one. She said something along the lines of, “a woman as talented as you must scare them off pretty easily.” It was easily the silliest excuse for singleness I've ever heard. As if there were a group of men outside, enraptured but intimidated by my ability to adjust the crap out of a pair of glasses. I laughed, probably too hard and she kept patting my hand.

She told me that she'd just bought a birthday card for her son. She got a kick out of the cards that play music. Personally, those cards just piss me right off but they brought this woman so much joy. She just went on and on about how she didn't know what kind of music her son—who, I imagine, is at least sixty years old—likes to listen to, so she bought him two. Initially, I was trying to hurry her along but once I realized how long she's been holding my hand, it occurred to me that neither of us really had anything going on. It's a Sunday. There are relatively few tasks that need to be completed and hardly any customers, so I just let her talk.

When I was at MidAmerica, Brady Braatz talked about how people need intentional touches every day. Many of them. Not just one. Like—at least seven. I think seven is pretty steep, though. It is for me, anyhow. Intentional Touches being, honestly, any purposeful, physical contact. I'll agree with that. I think it's necessary. Being a person who doesn't get a whole lot of touches—I do notice when it's been a while. A handshake can even catch me off guard sometimes. There are places that I go to when I need it. Though, I don't ever really notice that's what I'm looking for until after it happens. My nephew is my first go-to guy. One particularly bad day, I walked downstairs just to see him. He ran to the door yelling, “Beebeebeebee! Up.” So I picked him up. He scrutinized my face and then pet my cheeks, clucking like a Jewish mother. Then he laid his head into my neck and pat his hand on my back. I started to cry a little bit. He gives perfect love.

I have this other friend who gives, what I can only describe as the sexiest hugs imaginable. He doesn't waste a bit of contact. He slides his hands across my shoulders, grips tight with his hands like he wants to be there. He doesn't squeeze with his whole arm so that I'm out of breath. It's more like he just wants to hold on. He slides out of the embrace the same way that he got into it and to describe it, it sounds downright creepy. It's nice.

When the old lady left, I walked her out with my arm around her shoulders. She seemed grateful and I was really happy to have provided her with one of the many touches she would need, but may not get, to make it through the day.

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