Mikki, Frank, and Me
The relationship started out as most relationships with your dry cleaner do.
I’d come in, drop the clothes off, pick the clothes up, pay my bill and leave.
And then one day I noticed that Mikki, the store’s owner, seemed distant. Her smile was there but it looked forced.
I asked her if everything was okay and she said “no.” Her mother was ill in Korea and due to the avian flu, she was not able to fly home to be with her.
That was the beginning of our friendship.
As the months went by, Mikki opened up. She sought my counsel about colleges for her daughters. She confided in me about her relatives (it’s amazing how a Korean and Jewish woman have so much in common when it comes to family issues.) She told me about her difficult-to-please customers. I guess I’m a magnet for difficult-to-please people because I knew all of them. I told Mikki they had dreadful reputations — she was clearly relieved to hear that.
I think that’s the reason I enjoy doing my rounds on Saturday. I’ve built up warm relationships with the druggist, the shoemaker, the tailor, and the man who pumps my gas. These aren’t just chores, these are moments to connect.
If you think taking a minute to congratulate Frank, the new owner of the local coffee shop, will mess up your day, just get your coffee and grimace as you pick up your shirts or drop off your shoes for heels. And if your cell phone rings while the tailor is telling you about his long-awaited visit to his family in Italy, interrupt him and take that call. It could be veryimportant.
(Maybe). (Then again). (Probably not).