Customer of the Week

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

This week we finally had a clear winner. Some weeks there are customers are who are so absurd or hilarious that I nominate them just for breaking up the monotony. But this week's winner was just a super-cool person who deserves the dubious honor of being the Blue Crayon COTW simply for being an interesting person.

For some reason I'm getting a lot of hours scheduled at our information desk. I'm choosing to be flattered that the powers that be have such confidence in my knowledge of our inventory, and in my ability to google a book title while looking like I'm doing intense bookseller-jitsu. Or else they realize that the longer I am stuck behind a register, the more likely it is that someone will end up in tears. You be the judge.

An older lady approached the information desk and I instantly braced myself. But! This lady asked if we had a copy of Philosophy for Dummies in stock. Which we actually did, and which was actually a bargain book that we found right away (triple score!) While a different bookseller offered to fetch the copy of the book I chatted with the lady. She said she needed the book because she liked to take college classes for fun, and this semester it was philosophy and "who can keep all that stuff straight?"

Right off the bat, I was impressed. Because...how cool! I hope that when I'm a little old retired lady, I'll still be taking college classes for fun. And instead of taking the community learning classes about retirement planning with all the other old ladies, she took real classes with tests and everything. And apparently, half the fun for her was going out with the other girls in the class. To review: little old lady, going out with college kids. So instantly, an image of her little gray curls kicking back a jello shot. And then she said that she also volunteers twice a week with a local Montessori elementary school. And we talked about Montessori education and parenting philosophies, something that is very much on my mind as Mr Blue and I need to start working on a preschool game plan for Lil Blue.

I thought about her a lot after she left. I don't know anything about her life - maybe she's a rich widow, maybe she worked hard and is wealthy in her own right. Or maybe she's living on a comfortable fixed income and just chooses to splurge on education. No one needs to learn about Kant and Heidegger this late in their life. But this lady is seeking out knowledge for its own sake (or for the sake of finding out where the good parties are...) And she's not just enriching herself, she's paying it forward by working with children. Hopefully they will learn from her the same thing that I have realized as an adult - even if we work our whole lives, we can barely scratch the surface of all there is to know. But we should never stop trying.

Posted by oballard at 8:35 PM  
7 comments
Shann said...

I love this story. That is the kind of older woman I want to be. I don't want to be lame and boring. I hope I have the sense to "live" life!

January 28, 2009 at 10:29 PM  

Ps. That was me. Hit return too soon!

January 28, 2009 at 10:30 PM  

I need a customer like that and soon! The ones I've been spending time with lately are sucking out my will to live. Seriously, I miss being out in the front of store so much!

January 28, 2009 at 10:33 PM  
sweetpea85 said...

i love this story :)

January 29, 2009 at 9:07 AM  
Melissa said...

There is a woman at my church like that. I so want to be her when I am in my eighties.

January 29, 2009 at 10:25 PM  

My grandfather-in-law (that sounds weird) is like that. Keeps up with all of the news, especially on tech and environment, reads Wired magazine, for cryin' out loud. Very inspiring. Great post.

January 30, 2009 at 5:30 PM  
Maura said...

That was a great story and a very worthy COTW recipient! I love meeing people like that, who challenge what we expect from people and think outside the box society proscribes for them.

February 2, 2009 at 2:08 PM  

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