Friday, December 12, 2008

The Trickle Down Effect

It's not only in the financial sector that the trickle down effect comes into play. I left my hotel at 5:30 a.m. in Costa Rica for the airport at Liberia to catch an 8:00 a.m. flight to Houston. No plane! A massive storm in Houston had prevented the flight into Liberia from leaving the night before. Plane finally arrived at 1:30 p.m. and departed for Houston around 2:15 (praise should go to the ground crew of Continental Airlines who did a fantastic job organizing the turn around and were unstinting in making telephone available to anyone who needed to make a call and in putting out a breakfast for us...acts of kindness like that forestall the major "grump" effect that usually accompanies any kind of inconvenience). We lost time because an incoming passenger on the flight originating in Houston was denied entry into Costa Rica and was put back on the flight to return to the US. Ashamed to say that the woman was British and probably in my age range...she cursed, screamed, made disgusting racial statements about Costa Ricans' and in general was a supreme example of how not to behave. Quite a disturbing end to a week away - needless to say I missed my Tucson connection and the trickle down effect began.
Musing on my fairly recently acquired habit of vacationing alone and have decided that whilst I manage very well...I don't especially like it! No one to share the events of the day with and worst still, no one to commiserate with when things go wrong.
And when things do go wrong I've noticed that people who are normally polite and considerate become monsters. I've watched grown men throw tantrums and women whose country club set would never imagine it possible, use the foulest of language. Wonder what it is about human nature that makes us feel so entitled; I watch world news and see impoverished people enduring unimaginable hardships and yet throw a curve into someones' path in these parts, and especially when a service agent of some kind is involved, and they become horrible people. I've never understood how someone feels that literally screaming in the face of airline desk personnel can make a plane seat open up or cancel a delay. I was stranded at Heathrow in the days following 9/11 and witnessed the best and worst of human behavior. I saw airline personnel who had been on duty upwards of 48 hours be endlessly patient with people who were abusive and demanding. I watched one very well dressed woman instruct her husband to grab a wheel chair in which she seated herself and then once wheeled up to the desk claimed priority for seat on account of her inability to walk more than 3 or 4 steps. She recovered miraculously, rising from her chair when her ruse failed, screaming "some one will pay for this, do you know who I am?". Yet another trickle down effect. Meanwhile other stranded passengers entertained children, gave up seats to people in genuine distress and in general gave me hope for the human race.
Back home in the wee hours of the morning and greeted by dog and cat. The sitter had left mid evening. There's nothing nicer than the welcome your animals give when you return home - it's one of unbridled joy and, I swear that if they had fingers they would willingly have made me a cup of tea. One cat from an earlier life, Mr. Tubbs, was not in the least gracious when I returned home; he would make a point of ignoring me and holding back on gifts of little mouse bodies for weeks! After days of pointedly ignoring me and curling up with anyone who came near he would finally come out of his funk and present me with a gift...but never the choice mousy was more often than not a lizard tail left in the bed. Still. I know deep down he loved me. Mr. Tubbs finally died of kidney failure but not without first losing his hair. I found a little tee shirt for him to wear that proudly proclaimed "Jingle my Bells" but one look at his grumpy face discouraged such levity. A serious cat , indeed and a very fine one.
I've returned to glorious Arizona winter weather and am trying to get into the holiday spirit but without much success. I need to make a wreath or two and put the thanksgiving pumpkins out to pasture.

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