What can YOU say in six sentences?
No human encounter is routine:
The Dance Costume Clerk: This fifty-something Italian divorce'e immediately launches into the story of her marriage ending despite how Catholic they were, how her third-born son's marriage also ended when the young wife decided to "go find" herself, that it's unbearable since her beloved granddaughter was moved three states away and it's hard not to interfere in your kids' lives, which gives me an opening to recommend Anne Lamott's book, Some Assembly Required, my hope being that our one-sided forty-five minute talk will end since my feet and eardrums are numb.
The BJ's Waitress: No matter where we sit she appears, writes down my order before I can speak, smoothes her tied-back hair then sits in our booth and gives me updates on her three boys who have developmental delays and take a whole pharmacy of drugs, tells me how hard it is to find cheap childcare in the summertime, that their A/C is out but the apartment manager won't call her back, that the oldest boy won't sleep and the melatonin isn't working no matter how much she gives him.
The Massage Therapist: Her ex-husband still torments her with control tactics and she thinks he has a narcissistic personality disorder, so her stress relief is running long distances or reading Eckhart Tolle but she prefers running, then she tells me that her sixteen year old son is in the gifted and talented program at Clear Creek High School, that her fourteen year old daughter also attends, the only girl in a wheelchair with flames on the sides; the muscular dystrophy is winning.
The Black-Eyed Pea Waiter: He's tall, dark and still living with his mother, in a back room with his girlfriend and seven month old son, and he's wearing glasses instead of contacts because he's tired from the muscle relaxers to relieve back pain from a recent car accident, the needed repairs on a wait list because he still owes his parole officer.
The A/C Guy: The overweight thirty-eight year old speaks slowly, like a little boy in love with his own voice as it details the proposed A/C repairs, a story about mismatched air ducts which leads to another kind of story about his insensitive ex-wife, how she took advantage, how he lives alone now but the ex's family often calls to check on him and even assists with jobs when they aren't busy, then after an hour or so he checks his Walmart watch and says he's done for the day, that he'll get back to me when he finds a crew to complete my repairs.
The Accountant: He is tall and thin, his wire-rimmed glasses wider than his gaunt face, and though in prior years he was hardly memorable, a shy reticent man, this time he brings up his wife of twelve years right away, fills the hour with the story that won't leave him alone, that the wife had cleaned house on a Sunday afternoon, that afterward she'd felt tired and asked if he would lie down and take a nap with her, so he did, and she never woke up.