Ariel (#670) 10-12-14

I slowly drove past a sandwich joint with outdoor seating, and Ariel was on the phone. She wore a knitted cap and long gray cardigan, while the temperature was in the 90s. To me, she had a Bohemian, artsy-fartsy look. I immediately looked for a parking space, but the first one was two blocks away. By the time that I walked back, she was gone.

So I went in to order a sandwich and there she was, sitting at an indoor table. So I got a sandwich and an outdoor table, facing the door. I was ready. So as soon as Ariel exited, I made my move. At first she was a bit skeptical and asked where the photo would be used. I showed her my Flickr Photostream on the phone, and she relaxed and agreed.

Ariel works as a personal trainer for strength training, yoga, and tai chi. But she works in client's homes, mostly on Longboat Key – a very tony area. I told her that my wife had Parkinson's Disease, and she probably could have used Ariel's services in the past. Ariel had trained one person with Parkinson's in the past, “He was so funny, a real character. I always ended each session with a balance test. I had him stand alternately on each foot and I timed him. The times were pretty short. But one day while on his left foot he was doing fantastic. I watched in amazement until I looked up; his right hand was holding on to a light fixture!”

Then I asked what was the best thing that happened that day. Ariel's face brightened and shoulders relaxed, “After seven weeks, I finally won my fight with my daughter's school. This is a new school for her this year. She was placed in sixth grade remedial math. Finally they agreed that she was misplaced, and now she is in seventh grade advanced math.” I asked how that could happen. “Her transcripts were lost.” But didn't the sixth grade teacher notice that she didn't belong? “I guess that they are protecting their turf.” Apparently students need an advocate, just as patients need an advocate in the health care system.”

As we parted, I Ariel flashed a huge smile and said, “Thanks for asking.” Boy, did THAT make my day!