I have been thinking forever of having a Salon in the shop. I’ve even named it in my mind: The Third Thursday Salon. I think it has a poetic turn to it, not to mention a reminder of when to tidy up and get the food out. I planned on having this intellectual group exchange pithy ideas (no politics please), philosophical thoughts, wisdom useful to us all. Maybe it was the tidying up part that kept me from this daydream.
Actually these same people don’t wait until that special Thursday to show up. But we don’t discuss smart things. We talk about how things are going with us. Like this really hot guy whose girlfriend drives him nuts. She’s either loving or mean. I tell him to dump her. He came in enraged one day: “That’s it! No more! I told her we’re through. I don’t need this abuse.” Good for him. Weeks later he had to tell me: “Don’t be surprised when you see Maggie at my birthday party. She told me she really loves me.” Yuch. Dumb men.
My lawyer/customer/visitor chats about everything except law. But he did discuss a case with me, and I felt very respected when he turned to me for help. He needed the identity of a local garage owner whose mechanic forgot to screw down the motor of his client’s car. Unfortunately the motor dropped out while she was driving. I read enough mystery novels to know how to solve a crime. I phoned City Hall and the Chamber of Commerce, but by golly, they did not know who owned that garage. This called for subtle maneuvering. I asked the service man at the station where I gas up. He didn’t know, but he asked another service manager and this chain continued until the hidden owner was revealed. The lawyer regarded me as another Miss Marple and I loved it. Then he came up with a new assignment. He asked me to find another elusive person. When I heard the name I said Fuggedaboudit. Even I recognized that name as Mafia.
Well, yes, I do have a guest who buys philosophy books and discusses them. Unexpectedly perhaps, he’s a major sports figure. He doesn’t hang out with members of the team: “All they want to do is talk about sports. I play the game. It’s not my life.” I like to listen to his philosophical ideas, but I got outraged and argumentative when he said there is no such thing as Love – it is all lust. I didn’t suggest that his recent divorce might have colored his judgment. I insisted there was Love. Every argument I offered, like what about parent to child, he had a substitute word for Love. When he got up to leave, I stretched up to hug and kiss him, our goodbye ritual. I said, “I am not accepting what you say. I love you.” He said, “I love you, too.” And we both laughed.
On reflection, it seems urgent to have these social visits to keep from being overtaken by texting. Let’s keep the pleasure, artfulness, joyfulness, intimacy of Conversation alive.