If a Train Leaves the Station
  • Maggie Franklin
  • June 10, 2011
...traveling at 40 mph while another train leaves the same station traveling at 60 mph...

 I was never afraid of word problems. In fact, it came as a surprise to me in the 6th grade when I first heard a teacher commiserate with the students about how horrible they were. This seemed silly to me. Even at the age of 11, it seemed ridiculously obvious that word problems were the only practical application of math in real life.

Thirty years later, every time I find myself utterly annoyed — and often downright flabbergasted — that the average person seems wholly unable to grapple with real-life word problems, I think back to that teacher who essentially validated a lifetime of real-life-math avoidance ... and I want to find him and choke him.

I have spent my week thus far patiently (breathe, remember to breathe Maggie) rescheduling and explaining to clients that I need advance notice when they intend to: lengthen their nails, totally change out the tip (i.e., cut off the tip and re-sculpt a new free edge — popular with rockstar nails), or — and this has been my favorite — repair FIVE broken stiletto nails.

Here's what I expect them to understand: If it took three hours to do a full set of stilettos, how do you figure I can completely rebuild half that set and also backfill the remaining five with a totally new color scheme in an hour?

You should have spent more time doing word problems.

Of course, better math teachers aren't going to do me much good now — right now I get to spend the next few days finding time for a bunch of two-hour appointments in a nearly full book of 1 1/2 hour time slots.

Hopefully these clients will remember the look of utter horror and anxiety on my face and how they had to wait an extra week or two to get the nails they really wanted - and next time they'll let me know exactly what they want when they book their appointment. Or, alternatively, next month I can blog about how I scheduled a bunch of two-hour appointments and had to explain to them that I am not cool with reserving $75 worth of time for $30.

Keywords:   clients  



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