Monday, August 9, 2010

Finding Meaning at the Nail Salon

This post is not about manis/pedis. Now, having said that.....

A mani/pedi, for me, is one of life's pleasures. It's one of my true few splurges. Currently, I'm only going once a month so I really savor those days. Having nice nails makes me feel better, in general. I've always received a lot of compliments about my nails and, when compliments aren't flowing in other ways, I take a lot of pleasure in that. My most recent nail appointment was on Friday.

A gentleman, whom I believe to be the owner of this nail salon, is giving my mani. Being that this salon is close to my house and I worked in commercial real estate, I'm always interested in their business. They have a lot of competition nearby. In the midst of our conversation, I ask, "How have things been this summer?" Maybe I wasn't very specific. I meant the business. The gentleman replies, "It's been a bad summer. My father passed away." Immediately, I was touched. He doesn't even know me, really. But he was not afraid to just throw it out there. So I asked about his father, his mother, his siblings, their relationships, his visits with his family, why he lives so far from them, etc. You must understand, this is just how I'm built. We spoke for a while. Then, very quietly, he says to me, "Things come when they come....whether or not you're ready to accept them."

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We were quiet for a long time.

It was so simple and straightforward but very poignant. Touching. I was moved.

In this society, I don't experience many moments like this. Everything is so rushed. It's much more common to almost get run over in a parking lot (as in the Target parking lot yesterday!). Everyone is closed off - on their cell phones, foot jammed down on the gas pedal, ear buds firmly plugged (those ubiquitous white cables hanging down and tucked into a random pocket), music blaring, always working, always running. SO BUSY. Or so they make it seem. I very much appreciated this one little moment where a virtual stranger took an opportunity to open up to me about a personal experience and talk about life a little bit. Real life. Not TV. Not the Kardashians or the Gosselins (puke!). Not business (ahem!). Not the silly details that fill our lives but something deep and real. Straight from the heart.

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I promised myself a couple of weeks ago that I would listen hard for more meaning in this world of noise. Guess what. On Friday, I found it.

Images via Allaboutyou

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