You never know when you are going to have an experience in life that is different. One that leaves your mouth open. An experience where you are asking yourself what just happened.
I had one of those yesterday in New Orleans.
While I was riding my rented bike to get some exercise along the great and monstrous Mississippi River something happened that I won’t forget soon.
My path along the mighty Mississippi included a spot where in order to get over the railroad tracks one had to climb a significant number of stairs or take an elevator to reach a walkway that traversed the tracks. This was necessary in order to continue the ride along a path that hugged the river.
As I got off my bike to push the elevator button I suddenly noticed that there was a woman right behind me with a bike wanting to use the elevator for presumably the same reason.
The elevator comes to the ground level and I enter it arranging my bike in such a way as to provide enough room for the woman and her bicycle. It took her a couple of tries but she finally got her bike in the elevator.
As we ascend to the walkway over the railroad tracks I say hello and introduce myself. She responds and tells me her name, Crystal. I ask her if she is out for a bike ride. She responds that no, she is riding her bike to go to work. So, being the inquisitive one, I ask her what kind of work does she do. She responds that she is a nail person, a manicurist.
She then lifts up one of her hands and shows me her nails. Oh my God!
I am stunned. I have never seen nails like hers. I ask her what are those? I ask her what do you call them?
She responds calmly, “stilettos with embellishment”.
She then lifts up her other hand and shows me her nails and, unbelievably, they are different than the nails on the other hand. Holy cow!
I am dumbfounded. I can’t find words. I am mumbling. I keep saying “wow”. I am a bumbling idiot. I can’t think of an intelligent thing to say.
Finally I ask her if I may take a picture of her nails. She says sure.
Then I eventually find the strength to utter a question. “what is a stiletto?” I ask.
Crystal says to me as she raises her hand and points her nails at me, “check it out in the dictionary”.
As she rides off into the distance I yell to her to have a great ride.
I have since looked it up in the dictionary and stiletto has an Italian derivation meaning dagger.
I am trying to figure out why I was so dumbfounded when I was in the elevator. Maybe I didn’t realize it at the time, but perhaps I had some fear. These nails could have been lethal.
But that does not make sense either because as she would say they were “embellished”. In other words she added an artistic touch to the dagger nature of the nails that made them almost a piece of artwork.
As I read my own writing I realize that I am still mumbling, babbling, making no sense. In short, the “stilettos with embellishment” stunned me. Almost like a concussion on the football field. I feel like I am in a concussion protocol right now, trying to remember what year it is, who is President of the United States, what 4 time 5 equals.
Stilettos with embellishment.