Tweezers can come in handy

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 30, 2011

That’s it! I’m buying a pair of tweezers for each of my girls to carry and one to put in the car of every member of my family. Maybe I’m overreacting. You be the judge.

While at Children’s Hospital for Elise’s yearly checkup, we were told it would be another hour before the doctor could see us. We quickly left in search of lunch.

We couldn’t go to Camellia Grill. Elise ate a hamburger from that restaurant while she was in the midst of chemotherapy, and the associations are too strong. I wanted to go to La Madeleine’s. “Oh, no,” said Elise, “I’m very hungry, and I don’t think that food will fill me.” Strange comment coming from someone who never finishes a meal. I knew better than to suggest Burger King. She claims to have eaten there after so many high school games that she will never return.

“Whoever heard of being in New Orleans and unable to find a place to eat?” I asked as I drove up and down South Carrollton before turning onto Oak Street. We slid into a parking space, jumped out of the car and quickly got into line at Tru Burger. A lady soon entered and said, “Did you know you have to buy a ticket to park?” She informed me of the procedure before I left Elise with the task of getting our lunch.

There, not far from my car, was the machine that sold the tickets. Nowhere in my purse was enough change, so I grabbed a credit card and shoved it in the machine. I tried to press the buttons for the required amount of parking time I needed, and nothing happened. I tried again. And again. I decided to cancel the transaction and retrieve the card, and I got nothing. My card was stuck and the fraction of an inch protruding was not enough for me to grab onto to yank it from the grip of that machine. I panicked.          

I called the number on the machine, explained my plight, and was frustrated when told “somewhere off of South Carrollton” wasn’t enough information as to my location. When I was able to offer more details, I was assured someone would be sent to help. I ran across the street to the salon in search of tweezers and was told they had none. I called Elise only to hear, “The lady and I are wondering what’s taking you so long.” Elise said I might find tweezers in her makeup bag, so I quickly went back to the car and engaged in a futile search. I approached two women on the sidewalk. Thankfully, one of them found a pair of tweezers in her car. I ran back to begin the task of removing my credit card, and fought the urge to call my husband to ask him to just cancel the card. After many unsuccessful attempts, a man on a bicycle approached me. Surely this was not the person the city sent to help. He said he knew nothing about the machine but seemed to be amused by my predicament.

The lady with the tweezers gently mentioned that she had an appointment. “Well, I really have to get my card,” I said as I continued with my project, and finally the card came out! I profusely thanked the kind lady for the use of her tweezers and for the money she gave me, placed the ticket in my car, then rushed back to Elise.          

She was calmly eating her hamburger. I plopped down, grabbed a napkin to wipe the sweat from my face, phoned the city of New Orleans to cancel my need for assistance and told Elise, “By the way, you don’t have tweezers in your makeup bag.”

“Yeah, I didn’t think so, but I didn’t want to destroy your hope.”

What did I find out about myself? Regardless of how well I think I’m doing or how mature I believe I’m becoming, when a little pressure it applied, what’s inside comes out. I can still become impatient, stressed, worried, abrupt and rude, all qualities I tend to judge in others. Matthew 7:2-5 must have been written just for me.

Yes, I do believe I will buy several pairs of tweezers. They’ll come handy if credit cards get stuck or items fall between the seat and the car’s console. I’ll use my tweezers for lots of things except taking the speck out of someone else’s eye. Not when I have a huge log in my own.

Ronny may be reached at