Friday, March 2, 2012

Vintage Whine


March is here and my self-imposed February-no-whining policy has expired. Just in time for my trip to Edmonton. As you may recall from the “Kill-the Lawyers” blog, I was already grouchy from the crippling tire-iron-to-the-knees of common human courtesy that the litigious culture of insanity delivered in the form of “We can’t pick you up at the airport because of liability issues.” Combined with a ten-page form to fill out dealing with taxes and the news that airport transportation fees were mine to pay. So things weren’t off to a good start.

But I dutifully raced to the airport after a full day of teaching and managed the two-plane flights without too much problem. Except being stricken with an inner-ear pain because I had just gotten sick again from the San Francisco change in the weather—after a summer-like winter, temperatures plunged to the near-artic zone of 45 degrees and now my ear was hurting from some sinus imbalance. I arrived around 11:30 at night, but my green-tagged carry-on was sent out to baggage claim and after bouncing between two carousels for twenty minutes with the grouch-factor increasing exponentially, finally found it and made my way to the hidden-behind-construction Sky shuttle, to arrive at the hotel at 1:30 am, just in time to request my 7:00 a.m. wake-up call to prepare for a day of teaching at this Conference. Can you hear the whine here?

But to my credit, I did try to keep things in perspective. While waiting on the jetway for my bag that got sent away by mistake, the door opened and I was greeted with the –6 degree (that’s Fahrenheit—minus 21 Celsius) blast of cold air and within a mere 30 seconds, was cold beyond my endurance. My ear wasn’t too happy about it either. And I thought of the Inuit people of the real Arctic, tried to imagine them waking up every morning saying, “Damn! It’s cold!” and checking out their to-do list—“Hmm. Let’s see, what to do today…Oh, yeah. Survive!” I pictured them planning dinner. “Okay, it’s Friday. How about…seal blubber! Hold the arugula.” Figuring out fun Saturday activities for the kids. “Hey, guys, what do you think about—ice fishing!” By comparison, arriving later than I would have wished to my heated room at the Westin didn’t seem particularly whine-worthy.

So instead of vowing never to whine, my new thought is to keep these propensities in the dark, cool whine cellar and let it age. Take it out only for special occasions. And when the moment arrives, take time to sniff the boquet and savor each sip. Clink glasses with my fellow whine connoisseurs—“Here’s to our minor miseries!” Indiscriminate whining is like drinking rotgut— not good for digestion and no one wants to join you except some dubious lowlifes.

So even though the two-year old stil inside of us wants to throw a fist-pounding tantrum on the floor when things don’t turn out the way we want, our mature adult that lives somewhere in our community of beings bottles it up, sticks a prizewinning “Whine Board Control” label on it and carries it down to the cellar to store with all the other bottles of our litany of complaint and injustice. Yeah, my ear hurts like hell and I have to face too little sleep and two more flights tomorrow, but at least I don’t have to wake up and go out in sub-zero temperatures to go club a few seals. There’s always something to be grateful for.

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