Smelly Girl

 

woman stretching
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

 

If only I had consulted the internet before today. There are so many posts on how to tell someone they smell. For months there has been a smelly au pair at my gym. I have tried to ignore it but I can’t. Whenever I see this poor girl anywhere in town, I have to fight the urge to gag.

Unfortunately the cardio room of my local Y is small. It is always a little smelly but when this cute little foreign girl gets on the elliptical machine, her body heats up and the room soon reeks of onions, garlic and stale sweat from the day before. My sense of smell is superior to most others. When I was pregnant, I was able to detect small gas leaks in my house were undetectable to our local electric company without special machinery. Perhaps I can chalk it to hormones. A friend of mine recently noticed that she was also sensitive in our heightened premenopausal state and could even tell when her executive assistant was menstruating.

I have discussed this smell problem to a friend- who is staff at the Y- but I realize that it is so awkward many people won’t say anything. The policy is that a director of the same sex must approach the person. However, months have gone by and the girl still smells. She also wears the same T shirt most days, so that may be the problem. I have noticed that many college boys and divorced men have a habit of wearing their gym clothes more than once. The result is the unmistakable fermenting odor of day or week old sweat that is familiar to any high school athlete.

Earthy smells are fine with me. I love men to have a scent. My husband does not ever smell stinky but rather like fast food french fries and the stinkiest he gets is where he smells like slightly rancid fries- but still yummy enough to eat. I love the raw smell of men and realize that it is one of my key indicators for arousal. Fresh sweat is sexy, however, old sweat is not.

Of course women smell too. You only have to go into a stall of a public bathroom to smell the day old aroma of the woman’s groin that peed minutes before. We produce so much liquid, this is why a woman’s own vaginal juices make the best perfume to attract the opposite sex; however, my smelly au pair is not sexy to me and I am now forced to change my machine when she approaches. Sometimes I do it preemptively, not only to get away from the smell, but so that the other gym members don’t mistake me as the offender.

However, today, I ran into another au pair who works out in the weight room. I gathered up my courage to speak to him about his fellow country woman. This man is so sweet and I knew he could help me break it to her gently so that she would not be alienated by her fellows nor have her feelings hurt. I suggested that he mention a crazy woman who lifts with him that was touting the health benefits of using a little hand sanitizer under the arms before her work out. It is mostly alcohol based and will not interfere with the body’s natural mechanisms the way that antiperspirants do. Even if she does not follow-up on this advice, I have no doubt that the other guys who were ease dropping on our conversation will.

 

 

Previously Published on Open Salon May 23 2012 under Snarkychaser

My Ancient Roman Rings

 

grayscale photo of person with rings and tattoos
Photo by Nikolay Bondarev on Pexels.com

Seven years ago I bought some ancient bronze Roman rings from a little antique shop in Red Bank, NJ. The rings had been dug up in Bulgaria and were dated 1st century. I love these rings and wear them all the time. They have a green patina and are so worn that it looks as if I am wearing something that my plumber might have pulled out of our house.

Antique

Most of the women in my suburb have big diamonds on their fingers, and love to tell the stories about them to anyone who asks. No one has ever asked me about me about my rings. Perhaps they believe that I am wearing my grandfather’s rusted Boy Scout ring never imaging the history that my rings have seen.  Most likely the ring just isn’t of interest to anyone except me. Each ring only cost $20… certainly not a month’s salary. In fact, I gave a lot of them away; I thought they were so neat.

I have always had a sneaking suspicion that perhaps they were not really Ancient Roman rings. This suspicion was heightened when I came across copper rings in an Indian import store that bore many of the same markings.

Ring Copper

I was never able to find much information on the rings of Ancient Rome or of the Roman’s occupation in Bulgaria. I did once read that Roman men used signet rings as a means of identification on their written correspondence and that they wore their rings at the knuckle. They were fairly prevalent with the middle class so it might explain why they were able to find so many.

When I went to Rome and saw rings just like mine in the Vatican Museum, I reaffirmed to myself that my rings were real.  During the years, would go back to the antique store and was even more gratified to see that the vendor did not carry any more ancient Roman rings. He did not have them until this past weekend.

Rings Red

Mine are much nicer but he had some other interesting things.

 

I am seriously considering going back to get some coal from the Titanic.

 

Previously Published on Open Salon January 3, 2011

Do People Treat Straight Haired Women More Deferentially?

Medusa courtesy Metropolitan Museum of Art

I met my friend, who asked to be called Natalie, or maybe Donna in this post for dinner this weekend. She marveled at my perfectly straight hair. I divulged that I had just gotten a Brazilian Blowout. Natalie/Donna and I both have full thick curly hair. Natalie/Donna gets her hair blown out professionally once a week, and for half of the week it is sleek and straight and for the other half it is wild and curly. Natalie/Donna enjoys having her two different looks.

When I saw  Natalie/Donna for first time at the gym, she had her curly hair. She was very sexy and I later told her that I imagined her to be the plaything of a rich mobster.  She would go from machine to machine toting her designer bag with her head down and her curly hair covering her face. She was so slender and willowy that I was shocked when I noticed that she lifted seriously heavy weights. I also could not help but notice that all of the men that seemed to check her out while she was so oblivious.

Later,  as we became friends, I went out with her  when she had her straight hair- just blown out for the night. “Natalie/ Donna! You look like a rich socialite trophy wife now!” Well I suppose that neither of these perceptions is really true since she is extremely smart and an accomplished classical musician….oh and she was far from a trophy wife.

However, hair does make a statement. I have noticed that people have always treated me differently when I had straight neat hair. Perhaps this perception dates back to the time when I was 12 and cut my hippy long wavy hair and my class mate, a boy, said “Oh you look so much better with out all of that orangutan hair!”

My really new straight hair  gives me a “no nonsense” image. I seem much more business like and formidable (is it necessary to say that this is not my usual?)  Another friend said that my new hair makes me look thinner. How can I ever go back? What do you think? My husband suggested that I might try this experiment with bigger breasts and see if anyone treats me differently.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

previously published on Open Salon under Snarkychaser January 17, 2011

Male Crying- Tool for Sex and Politics

My friend, Wendy, and me looking at prospects on Match.com-our favorite activity.

My friend Wendy recently went on an impromptu date with a man that she had been in communication with from Plenty of Fish, a dating website.  As usual, we spent several days obsessing over the date and the possibility that he would be good for his word and call her for a second date this next Saturday.

This female bonding session is one of the best parts of the date. I believe we have so much fun and release so much oxytocin from our strategic chats that it is well worth the date no matter who it is. I have decided to get some pretend boyfriends as well to add some zest to our bonding sessions. My husband, John, is a pretty tolerant guy and has agreed as long as it is pretend. Wendy really seemed to like this guy, Michael, and her anxiety about the date was not just play.

“He said he cried at ‘Marley and Me’.” Wendy said

“He told you that? That is pathetic.” I said

“No it isn’t. It’s great. I didn’t even see ‘Marley and Me’ because I was afraid I would bawl. It was too sad.” She said

“Well I didn’t see ‘Marley and Me’. I wonder if I would have cried.” I said “I don’t think I have ever seen John cry.”

“Not even when his father died? “ Wendy sounded surprised.

“No. I don’t remember him every really crying. I think he might have cried when I widened the driveway. He came home after midnight and started crying that I ruined the look of the house.”

I asked Wendy’s and my mutual male friend, Snarky, what he thought of all of this.

“Well ‘Marley and Me’ was pretty sad but you know I think that maybe this guy was just trying to uh you know.” Snarky sputtered

“What? I didn’t see the movie.” I said

“I think he was just trying to say something that would…you know that would…” Snarky was very embarrassed

“You mean you think he was trying get into her into bed?” I said “Well she only went to dinner. It did not even come up.”

Perhaps Michael was trying to impress Wendy with his sensitivity. Why is it so taboo for men to cry? I was recently with a hypnotist that recounted a story of a session with a tough ex- marine Vietnam Vet. She said his eyes started to tear during hypnosis while reliving a childhood experience. He said he was having congestion in his eyes. The hypnotist surmised that he was crying but had no idea that that is what the water was in his eyes.

Is crying used as a manipulative tactic? Yes. I think it is…often. I personally had the experience of having a politician ex lover tear up over my politics. He was an aid to a popular Democratic Senator at the time. I was a senior in a very liberal College and told him that I might rebel from my historically Democratic parents and upbringing to become a Republican. These were my rebellious college years. This man had tears, real tears, in his eyes about my decision. He shed not a tear when we broke up. I was inconsolable. Upon my graduation, he referred me to his friend in Arlen Specter’s office for a job opportunity.  I have now become much more pragmatic in my approach to politics and realize it is show business like anything else.

This is why the stories of Glenn Beck’s tears on air revolt me so. Tears of emotion like these are so easy to fabricate and seem to be disingenuous. I went to the High School of Performing Arts for Drama and am perhaps more adept at spotting the inauthentic. I do find it fascinating to watch. However, since Wendy also went to my High School, and is also a therapist, I think it is safe to say that she would have picked up on any play from her date, Michael. Who knows? We all like a fantasy.

 Glenn Beck uses Vic’s Vapor Rub to elicit tears for photo shoot.

 

Previously Published on Open Salon Under Snarkychaser August 30,2010

A Band of Gold

A friend noticed that I was not wearing my wedding ring in a photo. He noted that he used to work for a married woman who would take off her ring, and go out with girl friends to see if she still had what it took. The subject of the wearing of wedding rings spurs lots of debate and I really think that my view of the meaning of “ the ring “ has changed as I have aged. When I was younger, I did find that many men hit on me at business functions and I was sure that if I had a ring on my finger, it would be a deterrent. I recently read an article in Marie Clarie about a writer who bought a fake engagement ring to keep men at bay in the male dominated field of biotech. Perhaps this changes as we age.

The men in the weight room have become positively chatty this week. What could have changed? I never wear my wedding ring because it interferes with my handling of free weights (and other reasons better saved for another post). I have been working out with these men for two years. I have learned to keep my mouth shut and just work out. However, over the past two months, I have been more consistent in my time. I noticed that some of the guys would shyly say good morning to me. One in particular, turns bright red and stammers when he greets me or if I ask him a question about his weights. When I asked him in the parking lot if he would like to share some nuts post work out, he practically fell backwards with embarrassment. But this has all changed this week, because I started talking.

For the first time, I have mentioned my handsome husband and the guys seem to have breathed a collective sigh of relief. I now know that two of the men have wives that are as phobic about bed bugs as I am. One man’s wife just lost 30 pounds in three months. Another man’s wife refused to cover up for his friend that was cheating on his wife. Extra chattiness in men in many other situations has always been my experience when I wear my wedding ring. I believe that my ring makes me safe to approach and be flirted with. In our advanced years, very few men would want to actually leave their wives for another woman, with the financial and emotional toll that it would take. The fact that I am a married woman makes me safer to play with.

There is also a similar dynamic with the female half of these suburban couples. As a child of a pretty divorced woman and very good friend to many of my divorced and widowed contemporaries, I have seen the way a single woman can get squeezed out of social situations that involve husbands. I believe that many women see these unattached females as competition for their husbands. I have always thought that a divorce would make me a social pariah in my suburban world. I am already very unconventional but to be a free-floating “sex pot” would be the end of any social life with most couples. This is why I take special care to include my single friends in my life. So in answer to my friend who noticed my lack of ring…I do not wear it to attract men…you will have to wait for my next post on wedding rings to find out why.

 

 

Previously Published on Open Salon November 9 2010

My Dead On-Line Self

grey skulls piled on ground
Photo by Renato Danyi on Pexels.com

I have reconciled myself to the fact that my posts make many people uncomfortable. Perhaps I am giving voice to questions about suburban life and marriage that are better left unsaid . I have a screen name but Snarkychaser is hardly anonymous since it is linked to my profiles on Face Book and LinkedIn. Moreover, it is loaded with pictures of me. My more recent concern is not how my online self appears to society now, but rather what will my online image continue to say about me after I am dead.

When I began my blog, I realized that it was a vehicle to discipline my thinking in short posts. Ultimately, always in the back of my mind, I write it for my two children. One day, they will read what I have written and understand me. There have been times when my teen aged daughter has asked me not to post. She says that I do not understand the internet. She is wrong. I do. She just doesn’t really understand me… yet. She is worried that people in our small community won’t “get me”. I know that and I don’t care. I also realize that very few of us understand how much the internet legacies of our social networks and blogs will ultimately impact us…if at all.
In the past month, The New York Times has published two pieces on death and the internet. The first, Cyberspace When You’re Dead,discusses estate planning for your internet life after death. Unplanned death is a reality and I am constantly confronted with pictures and names of dead friends on Linked In and Face Book. I wonder if anyone knows that they are still hanging around. They are just constant reminders that we all leave unfinished business.
The second article in the New York Times, ran today on the front page. Funeral homes are now starting to post memorial services on the web. Perhaps my service will be downloaded on You Tube one day. I recently read on my AOL News about a man who not only lost his wife but also lost his children as their car crashed while they were driving to attend their step-mother’s funeral. Certainly it seems much more prudent to have a service on the web available for those who don’t want to drive in a snow storm. I can’t plan every thing…but I can start my thinking in terms of my digital legacy as a zombie.

Zombie Me
Zombie Me getting ready for Asbury Park, NJ Zombie Parade.

 

Previously Published on Open Salon June 25 2011 under Snarkychaser

My Grave Investment

Gravestones1

Last month I bought my grave site in an ancient church yard. It is actually two places for “cremains”.   After I read Mary Roach’s Stiff-The Curious Lives of Human CadaversI walked around for two weeks looking at everyone as if they were meat halfway to the morgue. In my middle age, I started wondering why I was even bothering to go to the gym- I was already half decayed flesh. Why bother with anything? Perhaps it was time to just take it easy and plan my death.

However, it was also at this time, in the gym, that a weight lifting friend brought up his burial plans. He is about 25 years older than I am and was a big coffee trader in his prime. He tells me that in the 70s he was written up in the Wall Street Journal for cornering the coffee market the way the Hunt brothers cornered the silver market. He and I often discussed investments and I had never thought of the cemetery plots as being a financial investment. Yet here he was lamenting that he had not bought his little plot in the revolutionary war graveyard when he could have purchased it for “fifty bucks”. I raced over to the church that afternoon to get my investment sewed up before inflation could make it unaffordable to me.

cemetary

The church secretary was wonderful as she took me over to the available plots. She showed me the new wheelchair access that they had installed and asked me if I would like to be by a bench. She said that many preferred to be in shade. I was so flustered that I decided I would prefer to be in the shade by the bench to cover my bets. I did ask her if they had many drunken teens at night that liked the bench. Over the next few weeks I told everyone about my new investment. It was then that I learned that there is a big ‘after market’ for plots.

One friend told me the she and her husband owned several plots in three different cemeteries. “We have six in King Solomon but that is a Jewish cemetery and they won’t take me. We have three in Brooklyn and one up state.These are all from the days when you got married, bought your house and then bought your plots. There was so much death in the early part of the 20th century.” she noted “My father is in my upstairs coat closet but I don’t know what to do with him.” She told me about several web sites that were like a Grave Plot’s Craig List for people wanting to sell.

When I announced my new investment status on Face Book, I initially wrote that I was not going to be buried in Queens with my husband. I got a panicked call from him to take it down in case his mom thought that I had a problem with Queens. For the record, I don’t have a problem with Queens – except that I have no connection to the place and can’t drive very well. It just feels like such a schlep to get there. My next status -with picture elicited lots of responses from people who were trying to sell grave sites in other places that they no longer felt connected to.

Many people just want their ashes spread in their back yards. I will make a query to see if the Rutgers’s Master Gardener program might be interested in developing guidelines. But I am set for now.

Gravestone2

 

Previously published on Open Salon under Snarkychaser and as Editor’s Pick

Ricky, Cayce and the Peruvian Healer

Ceremonial Beaker courtesy Princeton University Art Museum
Museum purchase, Fowler McCormick, Class of 1921, Fund

The first time I learned about Edgar Cayce was through talking to my friend, Wendy’s husband, Ricky. I had heard about Cayce but knew nothing about the man. Even after speaking with Ricky, I thought the whole Cayce thing was just weird. However, Ricky and Edgar Cayce remained in my mind as a pair. Two years ago, Ricky died at the age of 50. His death marked the beginning of Wendy and my exploration into Cayce’s teachings.

Since I have learned of Ricky’s death, Wendy and I have talked on the phone almost every day. As part of the healing process, I have tried to keep an open mind about Edgar Cayce. Ricky was a very spiritual man and his unexpected death at such a young age, has led many of our conversations to question thenature of life after death. When Wendy suggested going to an Edgar Cayce workshop this past Sunday on his teachings of “Life-Death-Reincarnation-Eternity according to Edgar Cayce”, I gladly agreed to join Wendy and her daughter to learn more about this man at the A.R.E. of New York Edgar Cayce Center.

The lecture was taught by a volunteer and former science teacher, Jack Rosen. Rosen touched on many of Cayce’s teachings and many short videos can be found on You Tube which will give you an idea of what some of his theories were.  The unexpected addition of the lecture was that Rosen had invited a Peruvian Shaman to come to speak to the class on his experiences of death and the after life. The Shaman’s name was Jorge and Rosen felt that he was the “real thing” and he here in New York for a short period to do some healing work with people.

Jorge was a modest, small, handsome, middle-aged man dressed in blue cargo pants and a preppy blue sweater. He was former engineer from Lima, who went through special training to be a healer in the forests of the Amazon. He spoke very good English and the first thing he told us was that he was not a “Shaman”, he was a healer. Jorge explained that as part of his training process he had to go through certain experiences that would help him to understand the human condition of those that he was to heal. The first was to give birth, and the second was to die.

Jorge explained that through certain plants and a night in a cave he was able to experience something of these human conditions. The death experience was the one that he had come to describe. I did not take notes so I will just relay the most important things that I took away from his talk. The experience that he described right after death was of liberation of soul from his earthly body. The second was that he still had very strong attachments to those still living on earth. At this point, there was an instant understanding of what he did to all of these people that he had contact with in this lifetime. The repentance was very strong for those he had wronged. Also, there was enormous sadness and regret for all of the positive feelings that he had held in his heart for those still living. He had a realization that these feelings, especially love and forgiveness, should have been expressed in his lifetime. Then there was a “purgatory” where these strong feelings were dealt with so that he could move on to the next phase. Jorge was not at liberty to discuss the next phase but this phase involved creating a new identity for the soul from the one that had been established in the earthly body. This process is individual and all souls must experience this for themselves.

Jorge’s talk was just another reminder for me not to let unexpressed feelings of love and gratitude remain private. We never know when our time will be called and it would be very painful to regret what could have been so easily dealt with here on earth in the now.

Previously Published on Open Salon under Snarkychaser August 18, 2010

A Very Organized Teacher

schoolhouse

I am tolerant of quirks, I embrace anxiety and I cherish eccentricity. Five years ago, the fact that my daughter’s teacher was rumored to have OCD did not deter me at all. In fact I believe that certain anal tendencies are what make teachers and lawyers best suited to their professions. However, what transpired over that school year made me hate (yes hate) my child’s third grade teacher. Her need to control made her an inflexible and an unkind person to my daughter.

My daughter is considered “profoundly gifted” by the school district, which means that her IQ scores fall in the top 1% of population. This is the threshold that our school district considers significant enough to encompass an “at risk” the student population. Gifted children manifest their gifts differently. My daughter is very verbal but the verbal skills seem to come at the expense of other ordinary skills. She can’t file, she can’t write quickly, she has trouble with organization and she moves in slow motion. She was also a very tall and awkward child who looks much older than her age. We had a history of teachers that had been unkind to her because they didn’t understand that, as smart as she was, she has some significant processing disabilities. Unfortunately, this new particular teacher was very big on systems and filing and her specialty was organizing.

The teacher was renowned as an organizer; she spent many days out of the classroom teaching other teachers to be organized. She had a homework collecting system that resembled a Rube Goldberg machine. Designated children would collect the children’s homework, organize the homework in numerical order and then check off whether the children had handed in their homework, and then they would be put in a pile to be graded by a parent that helped the teacher. Every quarter, the teacher sent the parents a spreadsheet to update us on grades and missing assignments. My daughter had 32 missing pieces of work one-quarter. I suggested to the teacher that she just collect the homework directly from my daughter. It seemed a simple solution but she balked because her system worked perfectly.

One of the first writing assignments that she gave to these little eight year olds was to write an essay on obsession. This should have tipped me off. I thought it was neat at the time. The teacher also had frequent cleaning days where the children would spend  entire days cleaning the shared pencils, scissors and rulers. The teacher did not allow anyone to bring in her own pencils because she wanted to control the supply. The teacher’s class room was spotless and clean. One day, my daughter was watching a commercial on TV and said “Mom, I feel an impending sense of doom every time I see this.” It took us a while before we realized that her teacher used these plug in air fresheners in the classroom.

Once, when my daughter returned from her pull out program, the teacher handed her the math book and told her that she would need to learn decimals by reading the text book that night at home. She had missed the lesson for the day. She was told by the teacher, if she did not learn decimals on her own, she would not be able to do her homework or pass the math test. The teacher explained that she was going to be away for the next few days teaching seminars on organization.

My daughter cried every day that year, she would just say that the teacher had so much filing in the classroom. My daughter had nightmares in which the teacher was possessed by an evil force. My daughter was perceptive enough to know on some level that the teacher was possessed by an overriding need to control her environment. My daughter also realized that this was a force that was beyond the teacher’s control.

For that year, I was consumed with my own feelings of helplessness. My suggestions to the teacher to help her to deal with my daughter’s inability to keep up with the organizational demands of the classroom were met with disdain. The teacher would explain that her system worked and that my child should be able to meet all of the requirements.

In the end, when I play over the school year in my mind, I can only come to the conclusion that the teacher had some kind of disability that made it hard for her to be flexible enough to meet the needs of children that did not fit neatly into her mold. Other factors were: 1. The teacher was so overwhelming driven by her ambition to be the most organized teacher in the school district, 2. My inability to be an effective advocate for my daughter. I did not know how to work the system.and  3. The teacher’s  lack of empathy.

By the end of the year, this teacher had the lowest class score on our NJASK standardized test. Third grade is the first year for this assessment. As a consequence, the teacher was moved to first grade. I am told that the first graders are required to file and keep large binders. I am just glad that our disorganized family did not get her as a teacher again.

Previously Published on Open Salon July 29 2010 under Snarkychaser

Grief

Grief
In front of MSK photo by Laura Stinchcomb

I sat down on a bench to rest in front of Memorial Sloane Kettering. I had just visited my friend Wendy on the Upper East Side. I had put in a lot of miles in walking and was trekking toward Penn Station. There is no better way to travel in New York City. I knew that the only people sitting on benches in front of the hospital were there for the cancer patients. My mother had had a short stay here for a rare form of cancer, but I hoped never to have to visit again. I felt like an interloper but I was so tired.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw the man next to me twitching and tapping his thin hands. He could not stop moving. There was an internal rhythm that he had to beat out with his fingers. He was so restless that his nervous energy was trying to spill out to the rest of his body. He was unshaven and his clothes were way too big. I was not quite sure if he was a homeless man camped on the bench. He seemed off. He kept his head down and tapped. I kept my eyes closed and tried not to intrude on the nervousness.

The man got up unable to contain himself. He paced in circles around some homemade billboards in front of me. I had not noticed them before. They were peculiar. The display was both homage to a woman who had died young and an indictment of- not mal practice- but ignorant practice in the treatment of a young woman with a rare for of liver cancer. There were several pictures of a beautiful woman and a chubby man and very large public relations picture of a young, smiling Memorial Sloane Kettering female doctor.

I asked the man what this was all about. He said that his wife had died from mis- treatment from the doctors at the hospital. She had had a cancer that would have been better left encapsulated. Had it been left alone, his wife might have had more years to live. He had called friends in Germany and they had had more experience with this type of cancer. He should have taken her there. His thick German accent made it hard for me to understand the details, but his anxious grief was clear. He was very lucid. I realized that this was a grieving man who did not know what to do with his grief. He was doing the only thing that he could to try to make his misery bearable.

I asked him if I could take a picture of the display. He said sure, but he did not know if the hospital was going to come and take it away. He knew that they did not like it. I looked again at the pictures and realized that the chubby man was the very thin man in front of me. His grief was wasting him away. I watched him fold up in boards and put them in the parked shining expensive SUV  to take them home for the day.

A middle- aged woman sat down next to me. I smiled. She asked me about the display. I told her what I knew and she said that her mother was dying. It was a case of mal practice. Her mother was 65 and had been very healthy her whole life, until sugar levels suggested that there was an abnormality. The doctor did not do the appropriate tests on the pancreas. It was pancreatic cancer, but at the time of the first symptom, the tumor was so small, they could have effectively treated it. The woman looked at me and said “I don’t know what I will do without my mother.”

I pulled the grieving man over and  the woman and I had a three way conversation.  I was trained in cocktail talk and business development. I am a connector and, other than my ability to listen, it was all I could offer. I pulled the commonalities from the two and wove a connection between them. I suggested to the grieving man that he might be able to help this woman since she was new to this process of grieving. I got up and offered him my seat. I hugged both of them and said good bye. When I turned around I saw the two excitedly talking to each other.

Previously published on August 3 2010 on Open Salon under Snarkychaser (This was Editor’s Pick)