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Learning Curve: Chapter 24

Gila Arnold

Suri feels guilty about telling Aviva what her daughter overheard about Yael’s poor work. After meeting with a business coach, they send out customer-satisfaction surveys

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

F raidy, Yael’s grad student observer, was already parked at the therapy table when Yael walked through the door. She was bent over a laptop, looking way too intense for Yael’s liking.

For the past several weeks, Fraidy had been going on and on about her master’s thesis, asking Yael a million and one questions, insisting on reading entire sections aloud and getting Yael’s critique on them. (“I don’t know, maybe I should’ve included more examples here. I know I already have five, but maybe they’re not good enough? And the research section — is it too short? Do you think I should use that journal article I told you about? I mean, I could get the Finnish translated if I need to.”)

Yael’s own thesis paper was something she generally tried hard to forget about. Researching, writing, organizing her time… none of these was her forte. The irony of a grad student looking to her for advice would be quite humorous if not for the fact that she was actually expected to answer her questions — week after excruciating week.

Bracing herself, she gave a quiet “Hello, Fraidy,” as she put her bags down.

Fraidy looked up, beaming. “Yael! I’m so glad you’re here! I wanted to ask… Whoa!! Where’d you get that awesome outfit?”

Yael blinked at her sudden change of direction. Then she looked down at her clothing. Of course. Today she was wearing a Rina’s Racks exclusive.

Silently blessing her fashionista sister-in-law for the first time, Yael put a big, sparkly grin on her face — big enough, she hoped, to make Fraidy forget about this week’s burning questions, and said, “So glad you like it! I got it at my sister-in-law’s store. You know Rina’s Racks? On the Avenue?”

Fraidy’s eyes were wide. “Rina’s your sister-in-law?”

Yael nodded eagerly. “She designed this herself.”

“No way!” Fraidy said, awed. “Tell me your secret: how do you get a sister-in-law like that?”

Yael smiled. “By marrying her brother.”

Fraidy giggled, that look of awe still in her eyes. Yael turned away, suddenly uncomfortable. She started setting up her equipment while Fraidy, after a moment, went back to her laptop. Suddenly, she said, “Hey, I forgot to mention — impressive survey you guys put together.”

Yael looked at her blankly. “Survey?”

“Yeah, that customer-satisfaction survey you e-mailed your clients. My little brother came here for therapy a while back, so my mom got sent a copy. Real thorough job. Speaking as someone who’s been spending the past billion hours making up research surveys for this thesis paper, I must say, I was impressed.”

Yael didn’t know what to say. She couldn’t well admit that she had no idea what the girl was talking about. Settling on an uncertain “Uh, thanks,” she went back to her equipment, her mind racing. What in the world was this about? And, more to the point — if the clinic was sending out a survey, why didn’t she know about it?

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