Ben and I chatted today, and the first part of the conversation was about his eventful flight from the west coast to the midwest (of the U.S.). He had me laughing with the tale of the mother and teenage son, who held up the security line because they had clearly never flown before (the toiletries must come out of the bag, shoes off, and metal things WILL make the metal detector go ‘ding ding ding’ like the “Price Is Right” set.)
Once on the plane there was the mother and daughter who insisted he was in the wrong seat, because surely the ‘ABC’ of the seating begins on the aisle. He was happy to give up the window seat that they clearly wanted, if only they would understand that, in fact, he WAS in the correct seat and the lettering begins at the window. He stayed next to the window, and eventually the women settled in.
He survived all of these frustrating encounters with first timers only to be on the flight from turbulence hell. “I don’t think I have ever heard the pilot come over the PA that many times to make sure people were in their seats.” Subsequently, there was no opportunity to visit the bathroom or for any food service. Then when the plane neared Minneapolis/St. Paul, they were put in a holding pattern due to inclement weather. All of this explains why his text message to me after landing mentioned ‘home’, ‘starving’ and ‘peeing’.
I laughed through his tales – and credit to him, so did he, and then I asked if he would like to ‘guest author’ this blog entry. Not only is he a good storyteller, but I have little to write about for the time being as I am ‘staying put’.
A week ago I finally heard a decision that I had been waiting a few months to hear, only the answer was ‘no’ and I had been waiting for a ‘yes’. In March I applied to go on an adventure that would take me to Africa for two weeks, all expenses paid, and would let me stand on African terra firma for the first time. A tour company I have travelled with twice needed 8 people to complete one of its trips so they could film the trip’s promotional video. The call went out. Over 400 people responded, with videos and photos and stories proving just how ‘intrepid’ we all were. 30 people were shortlisted, including me, and then we waited.
Three months later, after many interim emails asking me to please be patient and telling me I was still on the short list, I received the email telling me, unfortunately, I had not been selected for this trip. It had nothing to do with me – because they believe I am terrific, and great on camera – they just needed to get the permutation of people right.
I did not take their decision personally, but I was still gutted.
In my mind I felt, rather, I really knew, I would be asked to go on that trip. I had started thinking of what to take – that my hiking boots would be perfect, as would my rain slicker and my canvas pants with the zip-off legs. There was no doubt that I would get to go to Africa in a couple of months.
I shed a few tears – mostly of frustration. I expressed to Ben that I know some people perceive me as ‘lucky’, but in reality, although I have lived a wonderfully full life thus far, I am no luckier than anyone else. I just see opportunities, and when I decide I want something, I work bloody hard for it. My ‘luckiness’ comes from the fact that I was raised by parents who taught me to keep my eyes open, to work hard and to enjoy the fruits of my labours.
In this case, I had seen the opportunity and prepared a terrific letter and selected photographs that showed me at my adventurous best. When I was contacted and asked to send a video, I enlisted help from friends, filmed, edited and sent a video. When I was asked to send MORE video, I did – with photos and another letter. I did all I could to get on that trip, which is why although I was disappointed, I did not take too long to get over it. There was simply nothing more I could have done.
As I hate the idea of wasting valuable holiday time, the ‘rejection’ forced me to look ahead to the next few months and really think about what I want out of them. I decided to fly to Western Australia next month, so I can see my parents, and family, and old friends. I am really looking forward to this upcoming trip, basking in the familiarity and love that I will find there. Beyond that, Ben and I will see where his work takes him – and us – but for the short term I am staying put.
And that, is just fine with me.