"We've been waiting here for twenty minutes when all you had to tell us that the rebooking phones are in the back!"
Ever seen a raging senior citizen? I have. Two days ago, at the American Airlines customer service center, I waited second in line, behind an elderly woman seething at a flustered airline representative.
"Ma'am, you don't need to embarrass me," the service rep told the old lady. "I don't usually work here, but they have no one else for today."
"You just left us here! I worked in customer service for twenty years and this is ridiculous!" the old lady shouted.
A businessman, mid-thirties, walked up to the front and tapped the old lady's shoulder. "Ma'am, you don't need to yell at her. This isn't her fault." Our flight had been delayed for almost two hours now, due to a malfunction in the plane. The rep had nervously abandoned her desk for twenty minutes, only to return to....this.
"Shut up," the old lady snapped at the businessman. "You shut the f*** up."
I heard the boxing bell ring in my head. DING DING DING!
The old lady stomped away, spewing obscenities to the businessman and service rep as she left. I stepped up to the desk. "Um, I guess I need help with rebooking," I said. "And sorry you had to go through that."
Someone once told me to hang around people older than you; it will provide perspective on where you might end up going in life. I've tried to stick to that advice, intentionally or otherwise, being the youngest on the drama team, at my workplace, and on the elder board. Sometimes I get nervous and feel like I have nothing to add during a conversation. But that's okay. I like listening. Every so often, I'll run into a person like the old lady mentioned above. I'm all for respecting elders, but there was nothing respectable on how she talked to the service rep. Of course, I can criticize her all I want behind the safety of this laptop screen, but how do I know that I won't be just as irritable when I'm her age? Heck, I can be quite irritable at my current age.
I had an epithanie. No, epiphany. I don't know how to spell. Thank God for Google and Microsoft spell check. Anyway, my identity isn't predestined. Obviously there are physical features about myself I can't change (I doubt I could grow a third arm), but my inner character, that type of identity, is a decision I make every day. It's a choice. Do I want to be humble? Be humble today. Do I want to be honest? Be honest today. I shouldn't beat myself over the head if I was prideful or dishonest yesterday. The past doesn't define me.
Will I be a grumpy, foul-mouthed senior citizen one day? Maybe. I'll try my hardest not to be. It's useless to worry about being a good person thirty years from now. I need to focus on being a good person today, only by God's grace.
Post-script. While I was rebooking, the flight took off, sending my luggage to New Jersey without me. I didn't mind too much; we would've landed at 2am, which would be a pain for my mom who had work the next day. Won't lie, thoughts of someone stealing my baggage bounced around my head for the next twenty-four hours, but I pushed them aside. I don't want to be the type of person who worries all the time. It made retrieving my luggage from the baggage claim office all the more joyful the next day.
Post-script #2. I'm going to try to blog at least once a month. Will probably fail.