“By all means, marry. If you get a good wife, you’ll become happy; if you get a bad one, you’ll become a philosopher.” — Socrates (as quoted by Jimmy, the love expert at the Apple Store).
I rushed into the Apple Store today with a broken laptop under my arm and a room temperature coffee in my hand. (It’s 4:39pm and I’m still trying to finish the Grande Blonde Roast I ordered this morning with my breakfast.)
I make my living as a writer, so when my laptop suddenly decided to shut off eternally last night in the middle of a client’s blog, I hurriedly made an appointment at the Apple Store with my faithful iPhone.
The problem is, the Genius Bar is always flooded with emergencies ranging from cracked screens to incompetency. The next available appointment wasn’t until Saturday at 4pm. That would be wonderful if it wasn’t Monday — and if this blog wasn’t due tomorrow at midnight.
I love Apple for many reasons, but today my reason is that they agreed to see me 5 days early and allowed me to finish my blog on one of their open laptops while I waited for the next available Genius (2 hours and counting — but it’s much better than Saturday. I’m not complaining).
I sat down at my “new” laptop and happily began signing-in to all of my online systems, preparing to work. Somehow, I ended up at a table filled with senior citizens where they were going to be hosting a workshop called, “Mac Basics.” Two elderly gentlemen sat across from me waiting for class to begin — eagerly interested in learning about movie-making with their iMovie app.
I didn’t intend to be part of the class, I just needed to use the laptop that was bolted to their table to get my blog written before midnight. So I just sat there quietly, working, hoping to be ignored so I could finish before my deadline.
The elderly man with the baseball cap, glasses, and the (what looks like it used to be) white golf shirt was the first to open up conversation. “What are you doing?” he said with a coy smile, “You look like you’ve got a lot on your mind.”
I do. Thank you. Leave me alone.
“I’m a blogger.” I quickly responded, obviously too busy for a discussion.
“A blogger?? Now, what on earth is that?”
Sigh. I don’t have time for this. As I thought of how to respond, I was thankful when his friend chimed in, “It’s like that movie, Norman..” (and began explaining some movie I’ve never heard of — but assuming it had something to do with an online writer). I nodded, and Norman seemed to get the idea.
Cool. I started working again.
“So, are you writing about a young woman dating an older man??” Norman said with a wink.
He’s hitting on me?? Great. So it’s going to be like this. When does this class start again?
“Um, no.” I said through nervous laughter, “I’m writing a blog about putting family first. I’m a ghost-writer for several online bloggers — and this week, I’m writing about family.”
“Oh, family first?? I would never send my employees to read that! I want them to put work first so they don’t have to take time off going to get their kids out of prison.”
This guy must be drunk. Or bitter. Or both.
“Sir, if you actually put your family first, they’re probably less likely to end up in prison in the first place. You should read my blog.”
He laughed and looked back down at his new iPhone.
Perfect. That will give him something to think about. Back to writing…
“So, you have any children?”
My goodness, Norman, you’re relentless. “Nope. 28 and single. Never been married. No kids.” Maybe I shouldn’t have told him I’m single…
Now, the serious one with the kind blue eyes looked up.. “Can I give you some advice?”
Without waiting for my response, he said, “Just say, no.”
You don’t stay 28 and single without having said no to several guys along the way…
But, he went on, “You have to say no to so many wrong ones before you’ll meet the right one. The rest are just interviews. Say no. When you meet the right one, you’ll know — beyond a shadow of a doubt. That’s what you keep doing until you find the right one.”
The funny, drunk one said, “Ha! I wish the 3 women I married would have said no!”
We all laughed this time… My goodness, this dirty old man is comical.
The one with the kind, blue eyes kept going, “You’re a smart girl. You wait for love until it’s right. I waited for 52 years to find the love of my life, and I wouldn’t have changed a thing.”
Wow — 52 years! I was stunned.
“Yep, I’ve been happily married for 13 years, and it still feels like the honeymoon. Love isn’t something to be rushed into, it’s something to enjoy.”
“You’re a special case, Jimmy,” Norman said, and I agreed.
Jimmy. What was it about this guy that intrigued me so much? He kept talking about love as if he were passionately preaching to a room filled with thousands of people eagerly, desperate, to understand this mystery. I closed the tab of the blog I was working on, opened a new one, and began writing about love. Love advice from two strangers in the Apple Store.
He continued, as I began to write down every word, “Love is safe. You need to ask yourself, ‘Can I trust this guy?’ and if you can’t — move on. Get to know a man. Look into how he runs his business — how he acts in his job. If he cheats there, he’ll cheat at home. People are people, and their character is the same in every aspect of their lives. They will show you who they are — believe them.”
I typed as fast as I could.
“Talk to yourself in 5 years. Can you see yourself with this guy? Will he be good to you? Will he be a good father, a good husband? Don’t make excuses. Wait for love.”
This guy is brilliant.
“Well dang, I should have talked to you before the last guy I dated.” I sighed, “He was the type that had trouble committing to just one girl, if you know what I mean.”
“There’s a name for guys like that,” Jimmy responded quickly.
“What’s that??” I asked, amused.
Ha! These guys are hilarious. I’ve never enjoyed waiting at the Apple Store so much.
It was time for Norman to get a word in again (as it had been several minutes since he had said anything), “Marriage is a great institution if you like institutions.”
Even the Mac Basics class instructor was laughing now.
Norman took that as a cue to continue, “The first time you marry for lust. The second you marry for money, and the third time you marry for friendship.”
Without hesitation, Jimmy added, “Or you can have all three if you wait for it. I only wanted one, and I got it all.”
And with that, class began. I finished my client’s article, learned a little about how to better use my iPhone from the man leading the class, and then wrote my own blog on the love advice I received from two strangers.
I came into the store to meet with an Apple Genius, and met with two love geniuses named Norman & Jimmy instead.
Thanks for the wisdom, and for the entertainment.