Friday, December 3, 2010

Coffee and Concern

As I waited in line at the Juan Valdez in Cafe at the American Airlines terminal of JFK, I listened to the young lady behind the counter advising an airport worker, a man, about his health. He just shook his head.

"Are you sayin' my doctors are lyin'?" he asked her, clearly annoyed. She shrugged. Her instincts and nursing school experience told her maybe they were wrong, maybe he should try something else, I couldn't exactly understand what.

She kept on him as she counted out his change. As she handed it to him, she looked at him intently.

"Are you going to quit smoking?" she demanded.

He just stuck his hand out for the change and remained silent, his face a bit red out of exasperation as he walked away.

I smiled at her and lifted my glasses as I walked up. "Are you married to that man?" I asked. The exchange sounded familiar, demands made, frustration on both sides.

She laughed. "No, she is," she said, pointing to her co-worker. "Nah, just kiddin'."

"So, you're just trying to help him?" I said.

She nodded. "Trying..." she said.

 "Well," I said, "men don't usually listen. The only reason I'm still married to my husband after almost 15 years is that he will often just admit that he's an idiot," I said.

I got the laughs I was looking for from the ladies right on cue. There is no faster way to bond with women than to talk about how dumb men can be, how far superior the female sex is as species.

"And that man?" I said, "The one you were trying to help? You know how long we would last? About two seconds. He clearly doesn't listen even though if he did it would probably help."

The ladies nodded in agreement, still laughing. None of them were married and they were impressed I had been with my husband for 15 years.

I shrugged. "It's not easy," I said. "Communication in general is hard."

"My friend said if she got married again, she would only do it for money," one of them said.

Funny, I was actually purchasing a copy of Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Lisa Scottoline's "Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog." It seemed apropos to the conversation, not even on purpose.

I gave Tamika, Melissa and Morgan gold stars. As they posed happily for their picture, I laughed.

"You look like you should form a girl band," I said. I wished them much luck in their relationships, and they wished me luck in mine.

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