A Lesson in First Impressions

In Panera, a middle-aged woman played a couple of loud, short clips on her laptop. I thought, “What’s her problem? We’re in flipping Panera, and there are lots of people around, and Vivaldi is playing through the restaurant’s speakers.” I read her face as cold, emotionless, screen-staring.

A couple minutes later, she smiled and said, “I’m sorry, sir, but I have a question. Do you know how to look at an Internet site without closing the site you have open?”

Me: [Pause.] “Yeah, like to have two windows open? Or two tabs?” Recognition started to dawn in me: she probably had no idea how to turn down the volume or even stop the sounds coming from her incomprehensible laptop’s speakers.

Her: “Oh, so it can be done? I would love it if you could show me how!”

I showed her how.

She thanked me and thanked me and thanked me, saying, “I’m just still so touched that you showed me how to do that! Praise the Lord!” Then, while winding down from laughing, I think she even gave me a quiet little blessing, waving her hand in my direction and muttering quickly.

It was very nice. I’m glad she asked.


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