I originally began writing this article while sitting in the Sacramento airport after an enlightening week in California. I arrived at the airport early, dropped off my rental car, checked my bag, went through security, found my gate, and opened my laptop. After half an hour of typing, a cell phone rang. Its owner yelled “Halloooo” into it. For what seemed like an eternity the speaker entertained and annoyed two gates worth of travelers with her loudly pronounced opinions and prognostications about a north Georgia political race.
Normally, I would be interested, since it was politics and I might be able to learn some details I could share with others. But no, her banter was just gossip, not worthy of intelligence gathering.
I turned to look at the woman who did not seem to have confidence that her cell phone could relay her conversation along its bandwidth. I was stricken. She looked just like me and was even dressed similarly to me. I turned back around in my seat and stared at the blank wall ahead. As I stared pride, ego, and vanity made a visit. What if people think I am her, I thought. Reacting to some of the seven deadly sins taking charge of my brain, I turned in my chair again.
“Excuse me. Excuse me.” I said, arm extended and fingers fluttering. “You are talking way too loudly.”
“Oh, I’m sorry,” said my twin southern sister.
“Thank you,” I said repositioning myself in my chair.
The ladies next to me thanked me and returned to their books with sighs of relief. Me, I felt kind of crappy. I thought about my motivations. Even though what I did appeared to be justified, I knew I should have handled the situation better. The bad manners of another did not justify mine. I resolved to print out a copy of the seven deadly sins and tape it up where I can reflect on these easy-to-employ misbehaviors.
In preparation for boarding, I closed my laptop and popped an Advil PM. Once in the plane, I closed my eyes and dreamed of heat and olive trees and new acquaintances. I woke up in Atlanta snuggled up to the arm of the man who sat next to me. I apologized and he forgave me, promising not to tell his wife.
May the sun shine through your branches.