The Grass is NOT Always Greener

It seems that lately I come across many people who make assumptions about me and my life without any real knowledge of the things they are assuming.  When you work with people from all over the world, this happens quite frequently.  For me, this helps put things in greater perspective.  Other people, however, seem to forget that there are two sides to every coin.  For everything there is a tradeoff.  The world has to maintain balance somehow.

Let’s take the simple example of climate where people live.  People seem to hold living in Florida against me.  This isn’t meant to be some political global warming propaganda, just simple, time-tested truth.

 

“O you’re from Florida, you can’t handle the cold.”

There are so many things wrong with this statement, or any like it.  First off, because I’m FROM Florida, doesn’t mean I have always lived there.  If you took the time to know me, instead of judging me, you would know that I lived in New England for three years where I slid down a snowy hill on a trash can lid in a pink snow suit.  But thank you for making an assumption.  Secondly, we are having this conversation in Alaska, which is reasonably cold.  Think I did alright there.  I handled Norway and the northernmost city in the world just fine too.  Thank you for asking.

Now, you joke about me not being able to handle the cold, but can you handle the heat?  Have you ever been to Florida in August?  Just because it’s nice when you’re there in December/January thinking it’s a great escape from you snowy land, try coming back in August and then we’ll talk.  We might not have to shovel our cars out of the snow to get to work, but we generally have to put a towel over our seats to not take off the skin when we sit on them.  Or how about having to take four showers a day because the minute you walk outside, you’re covered in sweat again.  Or how about being told not to even go outside because the UV index is so high.  I wonder how your snow-white skin would fare in our August sun.

And rain; don’t even get me started on rain.  “O it rains every day here, you’ll absolutely hate it.”

Again, have you ever been to Florida?  It rains every day here too.  In fact, you can almost time the rain.  The nickname “Sunshine State” is such a misnomer.  Did you know that Florida is actually the lightening capital of the world?  Then there’s the whole other issue of an entire season called HURRICANE SEASON.  So yes, we don’t lose power and miss school for blizzards, but we do lose power and miss school for hurricanes.  Have you ever been put under “24-hour” curfew for 72 hours and stuck with your entire family in a house with no TV, no internet, no phone, no lights, and, worst of all, no A/C – in 96F/34C temperatures?  Have you had to bathe in a swimming pool and boil water to brush your teeth to go to work because you had no running water when there was no power to run your electric well pump?  Long story short, it rains in Florida too.

 

 

This is just an easy example that everyone should be able to understand.  I don’t know at what point it became trendy to “one down” each other.  “O, I have it so much more difficult than you.  You don’t have to deal with A, B, & C!”  Ok, yes, maybe.  But I do have to deal with X, Y, & Z.  Everyone has something they have to deal with.  Just because it might not be the same as what you deal with, doesn’t mean it is any less difficult.

Bottom line, don’t judge people based on where they’re from – especially if it’s not even a place that you have been (tourist trap towns do NOT count!)  You know what happens when you ASS-U-ME.

Homeward Bound (A Case of Schadenfreude)

First of all, I would like to admit that I am writing this about three weeks late because my entire post was deleted from my computer (silly technology, tricks are for kids!)

Have you ever gotten the feeling that the world was preventing you from doing something?  That perhaps you were not meant to do something?  Or that in doing it you would face the trials of Job?  That has been my “vacation”.

My job entails making sure all of you enjoy your vacation as you sail around the world.  It’s a fantastic and exhausting job.  Naturally, my vacation is more akin to your everyday life- sitting at home and watching TV.  But when the world seems to be keeping you from getting home, consider it an omen of what is to come.

My omen started when I had to arrive at the airport in Seattle at 10 am for a 9:40pm flight.  I figured I could check my bags and take a train downtown for the day and see some sights, but no, the air line will not let you check-in until four hours before your flight.  So I instead spend ten hours sitting in the one little sandwich shop on the outside of security.  I finally go to check in, only to learn that the entire staff is on dinner break and will not be back for two hours.  So I am forced to wait some more, and just as the time is finally approaching, I receive an email notification saying my flight is delayed until 12:03am.  Now, I have to wait longer to check in, and I will have 10 minutes to make my connecting flight in Miami.  After an anxious call to my family warning them I may need them to drive to Miami and pick me up, I receive another message of a further delay.  Now I won’t make my connecting flight at all.  I go to the counter to see what they can do, and since the plane is going to keep being delayed, they book me on another flight on another airline.

I go to check in with the new airline so I can finally dump my bags, and they inform me that I was booked on a full flight.  Feeling generous since I share her birthday, the girl cuts me a lucky break and keeps me on the flight (although she doesn’t cut me a break on the baggage fees, even with my Seaman’s book!)

I finally make it through security, get some much needed hot food, and proceed to my gate.  I find a friend from the ship and also make friends with a nice airline employee.  We board the plane and they announce that the pilots are MIA but should hopefully be there soon and we should all applaud when they board the plane.  What the?!?!?!?  Thank goodness they are only fifteen minutes late or so, and we are finally on our way.

My connection in Atlanta goes off without a hitch, but upon arriving in Tampa, I discover they have forgotten one of my bags.  At least they know where it is – still in Atlanta.  They inform me it will arrive on the next flight and they will deliver it to my house.  I take a tracking number and head out to my ride, anxious to get home and sleep off my horrible 24 hours.  No such luck, I’m locked out.  After twenty minutes of trying to break into my own house, I finally get my brother to wake his roommate up and let me in.

There is to be no rest as immediately upon getting home, I learn that my car won’t start at all.  There is no food in the house and I am starving so I resolve to walk to the store.  Unfortunately, my missing bag is the one that has all my shoes in it save for the cowboy boots I was wearing (which are not acceptable for walking half a mile in 95 degree heat and humidity!)  So alas, I simply pass out on the crappy green couch that is to be my bed for the length of my vacation.

After a week of fruitlessly trying to get my car fixed, I give up and take a train to visit my parents for a week so I can put it out of sight and out of mind.  Unfortunately there is to be no rest for the weary as other anxieties pile on instead.  The icing on the cake?  I get an email begging me to go back a month early!  This would mean missing seeing most of my friends, my cousin’s wedding, and Thanksgiving with family I haven’t seen in years.  And if that were not enough, they want to change my ship to one with a much less exciting itinerary.  They have yet to confirm said dates, and so I sit here knowing that I could POSSIBLY be leaving in less than a week and knowing that it’s IMPOSSIBLE to take care of all of the things I needed to before leaving again.  Perhaps next time I should just skip vacation all together and go straight to another ship.

My life would make an excellent “comedy of errs” type film.  Schadenfreud!

 

 

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