Yesterday a friend and I sat shivering and shaking through Sunday church service. It was FREEZING. But we held on. we leaned closer to each other than usual for combined body heat because we were determined NOT to be the two divorcing women who got up and left in the middle of a sermon about marriage. GSW would NEVER do that. So we froze. Right there in our pride, we froze solid. And BOLTED as soon as we possibly could, the first two icy blue people out the back door, already arguing about which one of us had parked closer and if all the seat warmers really worked or not.
Clearly, I don’t pay attention well when I’m cold. Or when people are discussing marriage. Right now. It’s just a little much. I was completely distracted by the manicure on the lady to my right. Her nail polish wasn’t gold, or silver, but an interesting champagne color. Also, I watched the other people in church who were really fidgety and wondered if they were cold, too, or perhaps also somewhat perplexed by the subject matter. Probably just cold.
I was at work later, trying to figure out the correct response when talking to a customer and one’s earring falls off and disappears behind one’s neckline, then sticking out in the bra area like a giant cold nipple. STUPID earrings I had on KEPT doing that. And I kinda HAVE to wear earrings there and GAHHHH. So frustrating.
I finally decided that it is best to ignore it completely, even if the person SAW what happened, and then casually place a hand on one’s mouth or chin in faux deep thought with the arm of the same hand thus strategically blocking the mutant foreign body part. Then get it out by whatever means appropriate at first possible opportunity. Then maybe don’t ever wear those earrings again. I took a pair of pliers to them, but I still don’t trust them.
The SECOND time that happened I was pricing bracelets and someone came in I have known forever but haven’t spoken to in ages. She asked how my husband was. I gasped and choked and then coughed and then my earring took a swan dive and did its totally inappropriate nipple impersonation thing. Right side, this time.
She was ALARMED at my reaction.
“MMmmm, I’m sorry. Divorcing. Um. Like, for a LONG time, and I think it was the phrase ‘your husband‘ that got me there, I’m so sorry, gosh, I’m just not used to that phrase anymore, how interesting, ummm, yes I’m fine, how are YOU?!” And then I turned a half turn and shimmied (because it could NOT be worse than it already was) and the earring shifted to a less offensive place.
It was good to catch up with her.
I’m not good at accessorizing. Obviously. Never have been. But this was an all time low.
Also, it’s difficult for me to empathize when someone REALLY gets worked up over the exact color of earrings she’s looking for. Sweetest lady on earth, probably 75, came in holding a scarf and she wanted earrings the EXACT same shade. There were a zillion that looked great. Nice. Same color family. But not good enough. And I can understand if someone wants to spend 20 minutes of their Sunday discussing this with a stranger whose earrings keep falling off. I mean, I would never make such a decision, but sure I get it. But what I DON’T get is the mental and emotional energy she gave to the earring color dilemma. I was cool with it for about 10 minutes. Whatever. And after that I kept having to rely on my manners and not my common sense because what I really wanted to do was yell, “ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I MEAN, REALLY – ARE YOU KIDDING ME WITH THIS? ARE WE REALLY GETTING WORKED UP OVER THIS? DO YOU NOT HAVE ANY BIGGER PROBLEMS THAT DESERVE THIS ATTENTION? BECAUSE IF THAT’S SO, PRAISE GOD, WOMAN, DON’T STAND HERE AND COMPLAIN ANY LONGER ABOUT THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TEAL AND TURQUOISE. I! DO! NOT! CARE! I ACTUALLY HAVE BIGGER PROBLEMS YOU CAN BORROW FOR 20 MINUTES IF YOU NEED A FEW! WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON ROACHES?”
I’m not really a people person. In case you can’t tell.
I went back to my little area where I was working and prayed for that sweet little lady until I felt my blood pressure regain balance. I decided she clearly DOES have issues and I needed to pray for her life and all the things she wasn’t addressing because she was too damn busy with the teal/turquoise issue. I decided she was in DENIAL. Yes. Denial, and she was using earrings as a way to divert her emotional energy to someplace safe. So I blessed her sweet little self and all her unacknowledged conflicts and prayed that she would NOT come back in and ask for me because I am so sweet and helpful like she said she would. PLEASE NO, GOD. I’m not sweet or helpful.
I’m just polite and believe in unfailingly gracious customer service. And there is QUITE a difference.
Also, I have that whole issue with not recognizing people. I just forget a face as soon as I see it, with very few exceptions. And perhaps this is why I’ve never worked in retail. Have you ever been in a store and the lady with extra nipples keeps asking if you’re finding everything okay? and then two minutes later she does it again, as if she’s never seen you in her life? and then again? And again? RIGHT. I have since started focusing on people’s shoes. I do NOT forget a shoe as soon as i’ve seen it. So I glance at the shoe, then address the totally forgettable face, then check the shoes before addressing anyone else again to be sure it’s not a shoe I’ve just seen.
It’s not a flawless system, but it’s better than nothing.
I have much to learn, yet. Ages ago I waited tables and didn’t realize how great it was not to have this problem. When people sat at a table, they STAYED PUT. You didn’t have to recognize them every time they moved. So much more manageable that way. THAT guy in THAT seat is the one drinking THIS and eating THAT and will be for the next however long it takes him. AWESOME.
So. yes. Retail is not like that. people come in and flit around in circles and swoop in and out and zigzag and mingle and there is NO way of knowing who is who really and it’s absolutely AWFUL if you go get something for someone and you come back and they MOVED and they just think you’re going to remember what they looked like and then you don’t…? OH WOW. That’s what inspired the shoe method.
I’ve been known to tell my close family members what I’m wearing so they’ll know me when they pick me up at the airport. And they’re like, “UM? I WILL KNOW IT IS YOU BECAUSE IT IS YOU.”
Well that must be NICE. Here, let me describe my shoes, just in case.