Friday, March 09, 2007

sweet and sour

I was at the grocery store last night with M when I ran into a client from six or seven years ago. This single mom stood out - she had her Ph.d. in Literature and had been a professor at a college back east before suffering a mental breakdown. Over time she lost everything. I remember her and her daughter struggling to live in a shelter and cope with mom's issues. Mom had a particularily hard time (as I would have) because she simply could not get over the fact that she'd lost all control of her life.

I remember sitting outside with her and out of nowhere she said: It's the little things. I miss ice cubes. I should be able to have ice cubes whenever I want. Kitchens are locked in homeless shelters. It's just one of those things.

She was working behind the deli counter. It took me a minute to place her, and my practice is to never acknowledge a client in public unless they first acknowledge me. It saves them having to answer the how do you know that chick? It's not like we were at summer camp together. I am not often a memory folks want to have.

I am pretty sure she recognized me but she didn't make a move so neither did I. And it took a damn long while for the other woman to make two sandwiches. A damn long while.

And now for the sweet:





Metro and Madame Chick know funny. So it was no real surprise to hear that they were taking over the honor of memorializing the posts that make us laugh out loud all month long. MOTR and Izzy were the brainchildren of the whole affair, and this recent branching out just sweetens the mix.

So there was no way I was going to be able to resist NOT passing along Laurie's good love gone bad post. Sister, you outdid yourself with an audiovisual carnival ride of a post.

Hence, duh. The ROFL award. I may not be funny, but I damn well know funny when I see it.
Or hear it. Or both.

And come back here again tomorrow for our third Just Post Roundtable, yo.

19 comments:

slouching mom said...

My best friend is a family practice physician in our very small (too small) town, and I cannot go anywhere with her without her running into two or three patients. It's uncomfortable! For her! For the patient! Even for me! I'm thinking that you live in a larger city, so all I can say is thank goodness for that.

metro mama said...

That must have been awkward. I think you have a wise policy to let the clients acknowledge you first.

liv said...

Oh, I love you. For the funny, and the not so funny. I love that you're out there thinking and blogging when I'm too mired to complete an intelligent sentence.

NotSoSage said...

In past employment incarnations, I've had to institute that policy, myself. It sucks when you really want to know how someone is doing. And it's more frustrating because I don't have a very memorable face...

On the bright side, it sounds like she's starting to gain a little control back...baby steps, right?

Penny said...

Jen, your awareness and empathy and thoughtfulness for the situation astound me. I wish more people were like you.

Love to you.

Thailand Gal said...

It would have been interesting to hear more of her story ~ where she is now ~ but I do know that after a breakdown, it's sometimes difficult to make contact with those who were heavily involved at the time.

I have very little contact with most of the folks who were present for my meltdown a few years ago.

You were sensitive to that in not approaching her.


Peace,

~Chani

ECR said...

You're most certainly funny. In fact, Jenny Talia, you're the whole package ;)

Julie Pippert said...

Wow that story about the woman...wow. It grabs me, with both sympathy and fear. I can't explain. Very elemental.

And then you switch gears and have me LOL. Good post rec!

Lucia said...

This story about the PhD brings up a question for me. What holds any of us in place? If it happened to her, couldn't it happen to me or you? What are the underpinnings? Because I don't have an answer, I wonder what keeps any of us from going over the edge and not coming back.

Kyla said...

Wow. I would have had a miserably difficult time trying NOT to acknowledge her. I would want to know how she was...I would want her to know she was important enough for me to remember her. But I definitely understand your policy and applaud your strength to follow through...even when you really wish you could ask. You are amazing.

Excellent post nomination, also!

Oh, The Joys said...

The sweet was hilarious. I had to add her to my reader feeder thinger.

crazymumma said...

I think it is deeply respectful of you to put the ball in your clients court.

I think for some, dignity is about leaving the negative behind.

Deezee said...

tender moment in coming across the client...your sensitivity never ceases.

I will wander over to taste of the sweet...

Laurie said...

Awww shucks Jen, you sure know how to sweet talk a gal...

And by the way, you are funny and adorable and kind and sweet.

flutter said...

Have I mentioned how lucky I feel to have stumbled onto your little piece of the internet?
I love you, honey.

KC said...

That woman's story is heartbreaking. With a child. What's fair in life?

Momish said...

Oh, I know how you feel about waiting for them to acknowledge you first. I use to be that way with my ex clients. It's a good call, for sure. So sad about the woman, but at least she must be doing somewhat better these days, which is good.

Off to have a laugh!

Hel said...

I wish I knew how things turned out for her.

And you are funny.

Alice said...

Her comment about ice cubes hit me. We talk about taking things for granted and I try to be thankful for all the blessings in my life but that really hit home for me. I have never had a conscious longing for ice cubes or have never been thankful to have them. I will be now. Thanks for sharing that.