Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Special Touch

I drove Abby to the doctor for an incision check yesterday. She had a C-section a couple of weeks ago, and she's not supposed to drive, of course. But she did. Among other things she shouldn't have been doing. Because she's impatient and needs to be in control. Because she feels like she has to entertain visitors. Because she forgets she just had major surgery.

Thus the reason for the doctor visit. And my driving.

Anyway. There on the checkout counter sat a box. Wrapped in pink paper. Covered with silk pink dogwoods. With a label on the front.

Complaints, Compliments, Suggestions.

Not your normal comment or suggestion box. A box with a special touch.

I scrambled in my purse for my camera.

Must. Take. Picture.

But my battery was dead. I had extras, but I didn't load them in the camera. Because the receptionist had a this-woman-is-crazy look. And Abby had a get-my-mother-out-of-here-now-(!) look.

She had already been making fun of me as I soaked up every special-touch detail in the waiting room. And how I imagined all the straight-backed chairs lining the walls filled with protruding-belly women while all the deep-seated upholstered sofas and chairs enveloped all the just-here-for-my-annual-tuneup ladies. And how I ooh'd and aah'd over the "special touches" in the exam room.

If she'd had the strength, she would have literally dragged me to the car. Especially when I stopped to exclaim over the beauty of the--what are those flowers--pink asters?

"I need to take a picture of these."

"C'mon, Mom!"

"You don't get it, do you?" I whined. "I am a writer. I have to capture everything. I don't want to lose anything."

She just rolled her eyes and half laughed and half complained when I missed a turn and found myself going the wrong way and she reminded me what a terrible driver I am and what a terrible sense of direction I have and to quit looking at everything and to keep my eyes on the road because she'd just had a C-section and she didn't want to get hurt.

And today I'm still wondering.

Why did "complaints" come first in the order of things?

Did the office get more complaints than compliments?

Did they expect more complaints?

Did they think if they acknowledged you might have a complaint you would be satisfied with that and move directly to a compliment?

What a great idea to soften the sting of a complaint with a special touch.

Maybe a writer could design a box with a special touch labeled:

"Rejections, _______, _______.

Fill in the blanks.

And always be sure your camera is loaded with fresh batteries.

By the way, we had a great afternoon together!

A day with a special touch.

How can you soften the stings of the writing life? How would you fill in the above blanks? When did you last experience a special touch?

Copyright © 2010 by Sandra Heska King


  1. Thanks for sharing your adventure:) The special touches I like are unexpected kindnesses that strangers extend. It reminds me that there are people who care about others.

  2. Definitely an adventure. Definitely fun. Don't you think people are often more likely to extend a special touch to a stranger than a loved one?

  3. {sigh} Some just don't understand the writer's mind, do they, Sandy? And I think you're right...some are more apt to help out a stranger rather than a loved one. So glad you two had a fun day!

  4. Hi Sandy,

    Sorry that your batteries were dead at such a time! I think my special touch rejection would go something like this:

    Rejection, Constructive advice, Chocolate.


  5. @lynn: Well, I'm glad we understand each other!

    @Julie: Perfect! Love it!