Imagine, if you will, I am sitting in the Denver International Airport with my twin sister Cheryl and my husband Pete. It is 9:45 on Christmas Eve morning. We are patiently waiting to board our flight to Tampa, Florida after being harassed by a few not-so-intelligent TSA men.
Oooh, the joys of holiday traveling. Here is how the morning went: After quickly and efficiently removing our shoes and laptops, we shuffle through the cattle lines of security scanners. It is our turn to shove our items on the conveyer belt. The temperamental x-ray box with car wash looking pieces, which are hanging tauntingly in my little carry-on's way, keeps spitting the bags back out a few inches before deciding to swallow them whole into the unknown. While I'm nervously pushing my bag onto the moving belt, the half-asleep looking androgynous TSA person motions me through the metal detector without a smile. I scurry along to the other end of the conveyer belt where I hold my breath waiting for my bags to come out of the aforementioned box.
No loud sirens, no flashing lights... I think I am in the clear. Low and behold, my bags are not exiting the temperamental box, instead, the TSA guy who is supposedly scrutinizing my bag with the sincerest of concern, is in actuality having story-time with his co-workers. I am baffled, aren't they supposed to be the creme de la creme of serious protectors of all-things-airport-security? Isn't this TSA guy and his comrades supposed to care if I have explosive devices in my carry-on baggage? I am no Nancy Drew, but I turned a listening ear to absorb some astonishing sentences about what the TSA guy had for dinner the night before and how his wife was a lousy cook.
At this point, I can't help but stare. There are a good four or five TSA men involved in this conversation about whose wife is the worst cook. A) I am offended because they are talking trash about their poor wives who probably try their darndest to make these unappreciative men happy and B) I am not in the mood to listen to this crap while being subjected to reverse racial profiling. Not cool. Then it gets better... the TSA guy, (who is blatantly not moving the conveyer belt along because his having story time has higher priority--or should I say higher National Security), notices me watching this travesty so he turns to me and mumbles something in an accusatory tone.
"Excuse me?" I ask loudly.
One of TSA guy's crony raises his voice, "He said, you could make this process go faster if you pushed your bags through the machine instead of just letting them sit there."
I stared at them in disbelief, "The belt was moving back and forth, I wasn't about to forcefully shove my bag and break tens of thousands of dollars worth of government equipment to save a few seconds. Patience is a virtue." The last part came out a little sarcastically.
Cheryl had joined me by this time due to half-asleep androgynous TSA person actually doing it's job while these TSA guys were dilly-dallying with story-time.
"What did he say?" Cheryl asked.
"Oh, just that we are slowing them down because I didn't push my luggage through. But in reality he hasn't moved the conveyer belt this whole time I've been standing here."
"Excuse me, ma'am?" The TSA guy's crony asked in a startled tone, as if he had been caught with his hand in the cookie jar.
I just stared at him, and he knew I was not going to be pushed around, so he turned to my husband and said, "Sir I need you to open your bag."
Pete cooperated and TSA guy's crony pulled out the see-through zip lock bag which contained deodorant and toothpaste.
"This does not meet Federal Regulations, I have to confiscate it."
"That is toothpaste, sir." Pete stated for the record.
"I'm aware of what it is, sir, but I have to do my job." (Apparently, my husband may not take a half empty six ounce tube of toothpaste, but I get away unscathed with my two different bottles of nine ounce bronzer tanning lotion... hmmm, story-time distracting maybe?)
We had won the first battle, crony won the second battle, and no one has won the war.
So, as if this was not enough to add up to an eventful morning at the airport, while we are trying to relax at our gate before boarding the flight, Round Two commences...
"OMG!" This woman literally said the letters, the acronym, not the word, "I mean, it's sucks when you're the best friend in that situation, ya know!?" Normal quiet travelers; meet Chatty Cathy. We've all been around a Chatty Cathy or two in our day, but she was the cream of the crop. Here are some of my personal favorites which I accumulated while discovering my iPod was dead:
1) "...and when I was arrested..." She trails off, and then gets louder, "I mean, it was in Europe and college, so it doesn't really count. Well, but, uh, I totally still got arrested!"
2) "I saw a documentary about gangs in Albuquerque and I was like, ooooh my gawd, I have totally been there before! And I forgot my toothbrush, yicky!"
3) "You don't have to do the same thing as everyone else! Do you need a tampon?" at this point, I nudge Cheryl...
"Did you hear that!" I whisper, "She just asked if that woman needed a tampon and didn't even adjust her volume!"
"No," Cheryl laughs, "She said, 'Are you going to Tampa?' "
Well, I thought to myself, I wouldn't put it past her.
Seemingly years later, we arrive in Tampa. We are greeted by my brother-in-law Ben who is chauffeuring us to our destination: Grammy's house in Sarasota. Grammy might just be the coolest woman on this planet and the exact opposite of everyone we had dealt with during our travels. She was born in 1911 and has more intellect than any intellectual or important public figure I've ever known or learned about. One of her most endearing traits is patience. She will never raise her voice to speak over someone. She is slow to speak when asked a question, slow to anger when a wrongdoing has occurred, quick to listen in every situation and above all, she is herself. She has never changed her opinion because it wasn't the current popular opinion. She won't tell you something because she thinks it is what you want to hear. If you find it hard to believe one woman could be this amazing, wait, there is more. When you actually listen to her comments, she is very witty and sly. Never in a condescending manner, but the woman can sure crack a joke. Last but not least, when she tells you she loves you, you feel it in your bones--you feel truly loved. She imparts the kind of knowledge, wisdom, and love that makes you want to be more open-minded and tender-hearted. Virginia Walters is one hell of a woman.
What in the world does this have to do with weddings and planning events? Everything. These types of people and daily interactions have EVERYTHING to do with everything. People who have customer service, as well as people who are polite and discreet, are a dying breed. Not only do your actions and comments affect people around you, they affect your job, your spouse, your family, your customers, your happiness, other people's state of mind, etc. One little comment, one nasty tone, one smirk or smile, one nice or mean gesture can have a domino effect and totally impact the world. It might take a village to raise a child, but it takes every human being to make peace on Earth, (and at a wedding).
Example: If you're kind to a Disc Jockey during a phone conversation, he/she might be more willing to apply a discount promotion that just so happen to have expire yesterday. Depending on how you handle a tiff with your caterer, they will still want your business, but they might be less likely to shower you with the highest levels of customer service. If your fiance's extended family overhears you or your family talking about their family inappropriately they will lose respect for you and may even spread and twist what they have overheard. You catch my drift.
There are so many situations that can be misunderstood and misinterpreted, there is no reason to negatively contribute to the universe. What if everyone followed the Golden Rule and treated others the way they wanted to be treated? Karma just might smile on us all :)