For a variety of reasons, this entry became lost shortly after being written last August. It’s kind of a cool story though, so it’s provided now.
I’m currently at SFO airport just outside San Francisco, drinking a Peet’s coffee and contemplating lessons learned today. In exchange for about three hours’ of extra waiting, I just scored about $700 in travel vouchers for the next year.
A lot of it rested on my willingness to be flexible, my willingness to wait until the moment was right to jump in the line to volunteer to give up my seat, and — and this was important — realizing that the passenger who was going to get bumped was a single young man, traveling with a young young woman on a last-minute vacation together. Now, it’s easy for me to make all sorts of possible assumptions about their relationship, any one of which could be wrong, but I was doing them a romantic favor. The economy is in turmoil, the political frame of our country is under severe stress, and anyone who decides to go away for a weekend under such circumstances deserves a break — which includes not stranding a couple hundreds of miles apart in two different airports. Plus, I’m a firm believer in recognizing that Friday is symbolically the day of Venus, and of love. Giving space for that when you see it — especially when the Universe is going to provide an instant symbolic reward in the form of a $700 travel credit — is, perhaps, meritorious.
I contrast this with the man who arrived just after the loving couple — the couple who took the last two seats on the place — arrived and demanded his seat. Who spoke in a loud and demanding voice for his right to board the plane. Who berated the gate manager for Southwest’s audacity in overbooking the plane. Who was almost belligerent with me when I interrupted his tirade with the gate manager. Who was boastful about his importance, even though he was dressed in casual clothes, and going to Las Vegas. Who only quieted when I said she was changing MY flight information. Who promptly got on his cellphone to complain loudly to his friend. Who may have been drinking. Who is, even now, sitting with the glazed look of a lost soul on his face, in the airport lounge just across from the dull waiting area where I sit, with a glass of some golden-amber liquid in front of him. Who, for his trouble and anger and lateness to the gate, got nothing but a wait in a bar and separation from his buddy who made the plane. He looks miserable.
Grace is a funny thing.
Someone had to experience delay on this trip. There were three people traveling, and one seat. Two were going to sit and wait for the next flight.
The Lover’s heart aches to be with the Beloved. Waiting, for them, would be an agony.The Warrior cares only for himself. Waiting is a slight to his honor and a strike to his strength that he cannot abide, yet he must. And the fury must be calmed with a bitter medicine. But the Sage acts from enlightened self-interest, greets delay with equanimity, and grows richer by strange ways. The Lover’s name is Billy, and he knows my name. His parting words? “I will remember you the rest of my days.”
It’s a fleeting form of legacy, this reckless promise of the Lover reunited with the Beloved. But that, plus $700? Very well… I accept.