Every day Life
I’m one of those frazzled women who, during times of stress, can’t take the time to prepare, never mind eat, a real meal. For me, it’s salt and sugar grabbed at all hours to sustain energy and ‘comfort’ myself. Small comfort indeed, when the pants get tighter and the Spanx have to stretch all that much tighter. Last month was a particularly rough one, work-wise, involving much munching (no utensils or plates, thank you) and sitting for 14-hours with minimal breaks at the computer. I was heading to Barcelona for an important meeting and had prioritized getting that one last email done over taking a brisk walk.
Larger suits in tow, I headed to the airport. All was well on my Delta flight to Amsterdam, where I pounded away at the computer, my gluten-free meal and the breakfast that was served three hours later. On the Amsterdam leg of the journey, they handed out sandwiches. ‘Do you have a gluten-free snack for me?’ I asked the flight attendant? ‘No, sorry,’ she said. At my expression she then offered, ‘We have some almonds – would you like those?’ I quickly scarfed them down. A little while later, my stomach growled and I headed to the back where I told her, ‘I’m starving, may I have another packet?’ To which this European woman promptly - and angrily - replied, ‘You are not starving! You don’t know what starving is… You are definitely not starving!’
Taken aback - in my hungry and sleep deprived state - I said, well no, I guess I wasn't starving but I was definitely hungry and could I please have the almonds. She then said, 'You are not hungry either! You don't know hunger! You just WANT them!'
Seeing as the conversation was not getting me far, I said, 'okay, yes I do want them. Could I please?' and was handed over two tiny packets of nuts.
As I haded back to my seat, I thought 'well that's a first in customer service.' As I was eating the nuts, however, I started to think about what she was saying. I don't know her story but she likely has travelled to places where food is not as plentiful and people are truly hungry. Having just read the book: The Sandcastle Girls, by Chris Bojalian, about the Armenian massacre - an eye opening novel that I highly recommend - I recognize that the plight of some people is truly desperate. Being a middle-class American, I am comfortably removed from the worries of where my next meal is coming from.
A little later, the flight attendant came to my seat to apologize, holding out a banana as a peace offering. But it was my turn to thank her, for giving me a new perspective. While it was just one encounter, it is something I am now thinking about. When I get home, I think it's time - past time - for me to sign up to volunteer in a soup kitchen.
Note from Queue Murphy: Dear OnTheCusp - you are too gracious! That flight attendant had no idea what you have gone through in life either, nor your background! I think she was rude - there are other ways to teach people!!!