September 7, 2007


"Mommy Home!" That’s what I said to my tail-wagging, tongue-licking dog, Sheba, who was jumping between the front and back seat of the car when hubby met me at the airport in Columbus, Ohio last night! (Hubby was glad to see me too, but not quite as expressive…)

During this last week, my ‘birthday celebration’ has taken us to visit friends (Floyd and Tania) in Illinois by car; and then my trip (alas, alone) to Portland, Oregon to visit oldest son and his wife by plane, taxi, bus, taxi and plane again! Whew! I was only in Portland one day, so the trip was exhausting travel-wise, but wonderful to see the ‘kids’ again!

I’m posting a separate story titled, “Flight Across America” about the last leg of my trip home on a Delta airline that was a, once-in-lifetime experience for me because by some miracle, I was able to sit in a single window seat in an exit isle, and look out on the clear earth below from Salt Lake City, Utah to Columbus, Ohio! I even saw a UFO! I took careful notes and will explain in the story posted, "Flight Across America".

At my son’s home, someone asked the question, “Are you an Extrovert or Introvert?” The question wasn’t directed at me as I recall. It was just part a conversation, but it got me to thinking because I really don’t know the difference! Is one better than the other?

Later, I noticed a book on the same subject lying on the piano. Titled, “The Introvert Advantage” by Marti Olsen Laney, Psy.D. It answered the question for me!

While most who know me would laugh and tout, “Linda is an extrovert!” Hummmm. I don’t feel like a loud, boisterous, party-going, friend-seeking, fun-loving person who craves action.

But, I do enjoy striking up a conversation with the person who happens to be my seatmate on a plane or bus. (This got me into delicate situation on the plane, but opened an unusual opportunity on the bus). I’m the first to offer directions to someone who looks lost or assist someone who looks like they need it. Does this make me an extrovert?

While waiting for my flight out of Portland, I noticed a little white-haired lady sitting in a wheelchair all alone. I asked her if she wanted me to bring her anything. “Thank-you”, she responded with a beautiful grandmotherly smile, “but I’m being careful how much I drink right now”. That brief encounter got us into a conversation about her life.

She told me she was 93 years old and this would be her last trip to see her kids. “After this, I’m doing the cooking,” she offered with a chuckle. She lives only a few miles from our home and has eaten at the same restaurants near our town! As the skycaps wheeled her into the airplane, she used the tip of her silver-tipped cane to point out a bumper sticker stuck to her suitcase. It said, “If you’re living like there’s no God, You’d better be right!”

Earlier, on the flight to Portland, my seatmate sat next to the window with an empty seat between us. That was great because I suffer from extreme claustrophobia and always ask for an isle seat so I can look over everyone’s heads and imagine that I’m getting more air. Sometimes all the mind tricks in my head don’t work at all. Especially if they stop that snack cart right beside me, and even more so if I politely ask them to move away because I need air and they refuse. They have come close to having to drop out of the sky and remove me from the plane when that happens!

But this time, I had air and was able to control my head and concentrate on the book I was reading. It was only after my neck pillow “exploded’ splattering thousands of tiny white dots of Styrofoam all over both of us that my seatmate and I got into conversation. I happened to complain that the Bellingham (Washington) Airport had no public service to the bus station, and he offered to take me – not to the bus station – but to his town not far away and ‘arrange for a bus from there’.
Of course I refused and hoped he would go back to sleep and let it drop. But, he mentioned it again. I noticed he had a hat that said, “Retired Army” so I said, “Are you retired from the Army?” When he responded that he was, I used the opportunity to inform “Mr. Army Man” that "my husband was in the military and was in Vietnam.” That still did not deter his continued offer to take me to his home, so when we stood up to get off the plane, and everybody had their heads all close together in our direction, I responded rather loudly, “I don’t even know you. I don’t want to go home with you!” If I am a true extrovert, I don’t think I would have felt the least bit guilty for speaking to “army man” like that (but I did). I never saw him after we deported the plane.

I had to ride two different buses to Portland from Bellingham. I thought I had a good deal with a $10 ticket on Sky Bus from Columbus to Bellingham with “easy connections to where ever you are going”. Not so! Don't do it!

A few hours later on the Greyhound bus, I sat next to an older man who had just spent several days/weeks in Alaska! Hiking, I would assume from his clothing and other clues. He was a bit introverted at first and I wouldn’t have minded his aloofness, but I felt sorry for him trying to give me more seat space than I deserved, so I struck up a little ‘howdy-doody’ conversation to help him feel more comfortable.

From there, he eventually used my cell phone to make a call to his brother who works for the state department in Washington D.C. to let him know he was back safe and sound. After that, the young girl across the isle used my phone to call her mother and let her know she could meet her at the bus station. After that, the mother called back on my phone (using caller ID) and asked to speak to Crystal. “The girl who just borrowed your phone.” I passed the phone back across the isle for that unusual call which gave several travelers a good chuckle!

Later, a young man got on and sat next to me. He too seemed a little nervous-like and sat huddle tight in his narrow seat. At first I tried to concentrate on my book and avoid being pleasant and friendly. But, his comment that he was going to see “the old lady” kept interrupting the lines of my book about Lewis and Clark. Who is the “Old Lady”? Finally I put the book down, apologized, and asked the question.

“I apologize if this is none of my business, but who is the old lady?”

He laughed and relaxed a little as he explained it was his girlfriend. Then he started telling me how his ‘old girlfriend” was bringing his ‘new girlfriend” to the bus station because his ‘new girlfriend’ didn’t have a car. He wondered how he was going to react to that slightly uncomfortable situation.

Later, he confided that he had just today been released from prison and had great expectations to live by the law and get his life together and do something worthwhile with his life. “This isn’t just prison talk either,” he said with conviction.

I wished him well and encouraged him to stay strong. He pulled out a Bible from his small kit and said he was surely going to give it a try! He has a long road ahead of him and it will not always be sitting next to a kind lady on the bus who encourages him to stay strong!

Needless to say, 14 hours after my long across-the-country trip began at 6 a.m. in Columbus, I was delighted to give my tall, handsome Spanish Professor a big hug, and happily greet his pretty wife who takes time from her busy schedule to work out six days a week. You go girl!

Oh yes, I took the personality test. I got Introvert = 14 and Extrovert = 16. But, in short, what you are is based more on where you get your energy in life. Alone or with people. I like both! I highly recommend the book.

Now I need to get out my little airplane notebook and put together the, “Flight Across America” story. I think you will enjoy it very much. I have to work (as a nurse) later today, so 'stay tuned' if I don't get it posted right away.

Take Care on YOUR Journey,

No comments: