I really did have a senior’s moment

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I was working on an itinerary for an upcoming bus tour this fall and flashed back to a bus tour we had last fall.

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(image credit)

Was I guilty of ageism?  Perhaps.  But when the senior’s euchre tournament bus tour arrived at the lodge on that fateful Sunday, I was genuinely dreading the three days that would follow.  I made an egregious error in judgement.

Admittedly, the tour had not begun well for the 42 participants but the fault was not ours.  A slight hiccup in their agenda had caused them to arrive an hour and a half early and we were thoroughly unprepared for the sudden onset of walkers, luggage and upset elders.  We did our best to scramble and be as accommodating as possible.   I made a witty speech welcoming them on behalf of the owners and staff and my words were met with sullen stares and moderate contempt.  It was a bumpy start.

Once we regained control, our momentum increased and we began to get everyone settled into their rooms. I had entered first and once Betty and Rose reached those three stairs Betty took the lead.  Once she was at the top, Rose began to follow.  Betty reached for the door frame and found nothing but a handful of air.  As I turned to look behind me, Betty, doing her best impression of a tree being felled in the forest, fell straight backwards and took Rose out, using her as a cushion for the fall.  The two ladies I had escorted to their room had just fallen and couldn’t get up.   Thankfully we got them into an upright and relatively stable position and, after many unqualified examinations, we deemed they were medically stable.

The group’s first dinner was an interesting event.  Still unsure of their surroundings, many uttered complaints that hung in the air like angry cartoon balloons.  There were threats of husbands being called to retrieve them the following morning and the night was punctuated by another woman being hit in the head by a heartily kicked-open kitchen door.  In the span of six hours, we had potentially concussed three women.

But then something changed.  Over the course of the following 60 hours, attitude and understanding rapidly evolved on both sides.  We understood the nature of their initial frustration and they understood the nature of our good will and hospitality.  By the end of their three night stay, I was calling them all by their first name and I was truly sad to see them climb the stairs to get back on the bus.  There were many hugs and talks of seeing them again next year.  I will admit that I was close to tears saying goodbye to these lovely souls.

Perhaps it was the sideways glances I got from Rose that reminded me so much of my mom.  Maybe it was that bond of parenthood I have been missing since my mom and dad passed.  Whatever the reason, I will be ready and willing to welcome that next bus tour with open arms and use this enlightening experience as a lesson for the future.

You breathe in while I exhale

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You breathe in while I exhale.

Every molecule of our existence

is suspended in a moment of time.

Energy,  moving in an undulating wave,

 is passing between us. 

Intensity burns.

Your breath invades every part of my being.

The air is charged with electricity

and my breath is caught for a moment.

Your eyes reflect mine,

and you see the piece of the puzzle

that has been missing.

you breathein

Our eyes close,

but we see each other more clearly

than we ever have before.

Your touch only confirms what I believe.

Our love existed before we met,

in a time long ago, destined to happen again.

We knew we would meet once more,

we didn’t know when,

but our souls will meet over and over.

You breathe in while I exhale,

because this breath will always belong to us.

 (image credit)

Maybe I should have paid more attention in my high school Physics class

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It never ceases to amaze me.  The amount of hours one works in the real world is directly proportionate to the eradication of the creative mind in the artistic world, especially following a long weekend of working in the hospitality business.

I remember my Physics teacher in Grade 11 throwing around words like ‘inertia’ and ‘for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction’ but I don’t remember studying the direct correlation of physical exhaustion and prolific brain death.  Sure, the basic functions in my body still happen – I breathe in and out, I walk and talk, but the rest of me seems to be on autopilot – like that object in motion that tends to stay in motion.

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I want to be that object at rest.   I want to remain at rest (for at least 24 hours).  I want to have my brain back – the brain that wakes me up at night, swirling words around in circles until I can grab them all from those cartoon word clouds above my head.  I want the ability to form those words into whimsical, thoughtful or romantic lines and be able to feel that creative flow coursing through my veins.

I wonder what Newton’s theory would be on my chances of winning the lottery and being able to spend my precious moments writing a best-seller?  Time + creativity = true bliss.  Until that moment, I shall struggle through the hours required at my job and hope my brain can keep up the frantic pace.

“Touricide” and a message to the transient population

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It has already begun.  The simple act of easily turning left onto any of our local roads is a shadowed memory of its former self.  They have descended upon us and the seemingly mundane tasks we used to perform with ease now require an expletive filter and a great deal of patience (or high blood pressure pills) (or both).

Almost two years ago, I wrote this post about the tourist season in our small town.  It was that post that sparked some interesting conversation about these wayward travelers and also got me Freshly Pressed.  To those of us on the WordPress blog site, being freshly pressed is a nice pat on the back.  We are recognized for writing something interesting that would encourage a discussion, and that it did on many levels.

I will preface the words that follow by reminding you I work in the hospitality and tourism industry.  My job is to serve people and I truly enjoy it.  Our lodge guests have slowly become like friends and family and it is a pleasure to go to work. But the cottage dwellers are a like a box of chocolates and as Forrest Gump so eloquently put it, “you never know what you’re gonna get”.   I realize that these summer vacationers are the bread to our butter, the wind beneath our small town wings, but, as each year rolls into the next, the level of courtesy and manners shown by some of these visitors leaves much to be desired.

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The act of “Touricide” has crossed my mind at many points throughout our busy seasons.  I’m sure if the facts of my potential case were presented to a jury of my peers the charges against me would be dropped and the crime would be ruled justifiable.  I don’t mind that our population explodes exponentially in the summer months.  I plan accordingly knowing my routine tasks will take much longer because the lines have quadrupled in length.  I leave my house much earlier to deal with the sudden onset of traffic in a town where six cars on the road in the spring is considered gridlock.

What I cannot tolerate is the arrogant attitude of so many of these visitors, thinking we live in this town only to serve them in the summer.  You have entered our home.  We have greeted you with courtesy and respect and all we ask is the same in return.  We will bend over backwards to meet your needs and we ask so little of you.  Smile.  Say thank you, and mean it.  Take a moment to appreciate that you are on vacation and relax.  Things may not get done at city speed, but they will get done and we will make sure they get done properly and that they meet or exceed your expectation.

I wish everyone celebrating the long weekend a safe and happy holiday.  Take the time to smile and say hello to a stranger.  Perhaps all they need is a little small town warmth to melt that cold city shell.

 

In youth we learn, with age we comprehend

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I did a lot of things as a child – some are noteworthy and deserve mention and some I’m not so proud of, so I won’t expound on those moments.  I did make amends for those things that were not becoming of a young lady and I’m sure I learned from my mistakes because they were never repeated.

As much as I think I learned from those errs in judgement, I did not truly understand the consequences of those fateful actions until I was much older and reflecting on my youthful days.  The mirror has become a time portal and, as I gaze at my reflection, I see a much younger version of myself.   The translation was naive, a girl who thought she got it, but she was so far from “it” that she could never comprehend that distance.  It’s like the old adage “if I knew then what I know now”.  But if that were the case I probably never would have made the mistakes in the first place to teach me the lessons that I would come to comprehend so much later in my older and much wiser years.

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Time is a fickle mistress.  She has a way of seeping into our conscious realm when we least expect her.  She inadvertently brings up memories from our long-buried past to insinuate a lesson that we may have overlooked.  I can say from personal experience that there are many things I may have “learned” as a child, even as a young adult, but the learning portion was a mere drop in the bucket compared to what I truly gained from the comprehension of the true meaning of that lesson as I got older.

There certainly are things I would tell the younger version of myself if I could go back in time but, for the most part, I would live my life again because it shaped the person I am today, flaws and all.  Those misgivings I had as a child, the uncertainty of who I was, led me to make mistakes.  There was a fine line between being good and being bad and for a while I hung on the precipice, unsure of which force was stronger and which power would pull me in.

Looking back at those moments, now that I am beyond that cataclysmic time in my pubescent life, I can truly understand how those stages of life burrowed their way into my brain.  They were stored until the moment I could truly appreciate the lesson that was entrusted to the vault in my memory and now I really do get it.  What I may have learned in those formidable years I can truly understand now and appreciate the message.

What lesson do you appreciate most, now that you are old enough to understand its true message?

 

Peeling back the layers of the onion

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It is rare to find people who you can talk to about anything.  Words seem to just flow and nothing you say is awkward or judged.  There is no pause in the natural ebb of the conversation and there is no deflection to inane topics like the weather.   The connection exists on so many levels that no topic is off-limits.

Those people are hard to come by and each time you find yourself encapsulated in their presence, the synergy grows.  The things you anticipated would generate a look of surprise become predicted and that person peels back the skin of your onion, exposing another layer and getting closer to the core of your existence.  Sometimes that onion will cause some tears along the way but the true essence of its flavor will far outweigh the arbitrary drops of saline along the way.

onion

(image credit: flickr.com)

Words can be weapons but words can also be gateways into a meaningful relationship that is based on a true appreciation of what the other person represents in our lives.  Whether it is pre-destined chemistry or the slow development a true affection, the words uttered truly matter.  They are not said to fill a block of time.  They are communicated because of a shared interest in what is being said.  They are expressed in moments of affinity.

When conversation flows, it flows because of an unspoken bond.  It flows because two people feel a level of comfort that is achieved by honesty and a genuine interest in what the other person has to say.  It flows because they care about the words being said.  Minutes turn into moments and those moments linger through time.  Those moments repeat themselves and the conversation flows so freely that becomes etched in our memory and our lives are changed forever.

Kicking it old school

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A flash of white, a black soft-top and four black tires rolled by the only window to the world outside of my office.  I was mesmerized.  This 1976 Triumph TR6 rolled by my mundane, paper-pushing existence and I have to admit I drooled slightly when I saw it.  I was afforded the opportunity to get a closer look and I am wont to say I immediately developed a school-girl crush.  It was in great shape and sounded even better as the throaty engine responded to the shifting gears as it pulled away.

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I love classic old cars.  I don’t know what it is that makes them so much more enticing than the cars of today but I have always been attracted to their sleek styles and rugged good looks.  There is something so alluring about a car that has so much character and doesn’t blend in with every other make and model on the road.

I have always said if I ever win the lottery, I am going to spoil myself and buy a Morgan Roadster.  It has been a dream of mine for a very long time and one that I hope will come true.  Oddly enough, I truly fell in love with the Morgan when I watched the movie “The War of the Roses” with Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner.  His Morgan was his baby, his pride and joy, and as soon as I saw it I knew I loved it.  It would be years later that I would discover my father in a frozen-in-time photo in Florida standing in front of his dream car – a candy-apple red Morgan Roadster.

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1957 Morgan Plus 4 (image credit)

There have been many moments of my day-dreaming when I pictured myself tucked behind the steering wheel, the feel of that wheel held firmly in my left hand and the gear shift comfortably in my right.  The wind-stream billowed over the top of the windshield and my hair blew in the breeze. (okay, I have really short hair but you get the idea)

I am a firm believer that if you put the right energy into the universe, that energy will come back to you.  I have been, and will remain, a person inspired by positive energy and will continue to live in the hope that this energy will come back and my dream will come true.  Six glorious gears, British Racing Green and open roads for miles – the energy is out there and now it just needs to come back.