The Edge of Hysterical

I wanted to write something about this woman before the experience faded away, but already the weekend and a few days of work have started to cloud over the experience, the conversation getting runny around the edges like a note written on the palm of your hand by someone you like, sliding off your skin as you sweat and smear the message on door knobs and the insides of your pockets. How do you keep these experiences fresh? You write them down soon after they happen. Well, I do. I may have waited too long.

It was one of my personal training sessions. She had long black hair, kind of frizzy, but clean and natural looking. She was having a few issues with her computer and already I'm forgetting the specifics, but it was minor stuff. Something I fixed with a few preference settings, etc. She said then that she had some questions about Pages. "Normally," she said, "I would have just asked my son about this, He's the one who made me change from Word." She said he made the same face I did when she mentioned Word. I laughed a little recognizing the mannerisms of another Mac geek. "I lost him in an accident," she said.

"Oh... I'm sorry."

"It's actually pretty hard for me to even come in here because he loved this place so much." Her eyes turned red and watery as she held it all together. And normally that would have made me uncomfortable, but she was so nice and normal. I say normal because we have a few customers that come in after a traumatic experience because, I assume, they want to keep living their life, not just curl up in a ball. But I think you need to curl up in a ball for a little while after something terrible happens. One woman who used to come in... Oh man. She was a mess. Mascara more smeared around her eyes than on her lashes. Her laugh cracked on the edge of hysterical even when the small joke I told would elicit barely a chuckle from most people. She made me uncomfortable.

This woman was nice. And she was able to talk about her son and his love of computers and how happy he was when they brought home their iMac which I'm sure is a constant reminder to her. I shared my geek tales and she mistook me for her son's age (what he would be now) and I let her. She wasn't hysterical. She was nice and appreciative of my assistance and I think she felt a little better about being in the store after her lesson was over.

I don't have something I learned from this nor did I have some amazing epiphany. I just wanted to remember this experience, this woman, the happy sadness...