Thursday, June 30, 2011


I'm an upstanding citizen.  I follow traffic laws (mostly...I confess that sometimes I turn right on red even when it says not to). I pay taxes.  I'm a big believer in the honor system...even if no one is looking.   So imagine my shock and horror when I realized I accidentally stole something yesterday in Texas. 

The hotel told me I needed to make a reservation for the airport shuttle 24 hours in advance of my flight.  Of course, they told me this 2.5 hours before my flight, so that wasn't really a possibility.  Once we took that option off the table, the concierge mentioned that if the shuttle driver had space when he got to the hotel, maybe he'd take me. The shuttle had space. He took me. 

As we were driving to the airport I wondered how he knew at which terminal to drop me off.  Turns out, he asked me when we reached the first stop...I told him United and he said that was my stop.  He held the door open for me, went back to get my bag, I tipped him, and we said goodbye with a smile.  I walked with a spring in my step into the terminal, checked in,  and hopped on a plane.  Smooth travels all around.  Pleasant seat mates, minimal chit chat, delicious smoothie at my know, a nice travel day.

Next morning I'm arranging my receipts to do my expense report.  I have to do it right away or I forget where the hell I even was, never mind what I spent.  As I looked at the airport shuttle receipt from the airport TO the hotel it occurred to me: I NEVER PAID THE DRIVER for the ride to the airport.  I stole a ride.  What resulted was a moment of panic (OMG, what's the penalty for this?), followed by guilt (OMG, I'm a thief!).  Then I spent a fair amount of time trying to figure out how to remedy the situation.  Or even if I should.  I didn't even catch the name of the service! It was an honest mistake...kind of like eating meat on Friday during Lent.  Heck, that's not even a sin if you didn't do it on purpose, right?  Is the same true of accidentally stealing a ride?

What's even more amazing to me is how the whole event unfolded.  Because I confidently walked away as if I didn't owe the guy money, he didn't think a thing of it.  Act like you belong and no one questions you...Could I rob a bank that way? Don't worry, I'm not going to try it.  I  freaked out all day over a car ride!  I feel like hunting the driver down just to say, "Really, I'm not that kind of person!" 

So, does this make up for the fact that the last hotel I was in charged me for the $4 bottle of water in the room when I never even drank it? (Of course I didn't notice until I was home...I'm not that observant. Obviously.) The balance of the universe at work? Perhaps.  I'm hoping this doesn't anger the travel gods.  I added to my good travel karma by giving up my aisle seat for a center seat so a couple of lovebirds could sit together on my flight down to Texas...maybe I won't be stricken down for this.  This confession made me feel better...thanks for letting me get this off my chest...

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

who's missing?

Facebook is the best of sites and the worst of sites.  I am generally a big fan.  I love that I can keep in touch with my closest friends, updating a whole bunch of people at once.  It's allowed me to keep that "every day" feeling with people that I used to actually see every day.  It's not quite the same, but as a substitute, it's not too shabby.  I love seeing my friends' family pictures, their accomplishments and their unbelievably funny observations and experiences. 

A pleasant trend I've noticed is that I feel closer to some people that I never was that close to in person.  This is true of high school friends, parents of my children's friends, former co-workers...people that were friendly, but we never really confided in each other.  FB allows us to share deeper thoughts, and some not-so-deep-but-insightful comments.  While impersonal on some level, it's liberating on other levels.  I have to say, on the whole, I've been pleased with how much I've learned about my "friends". 

An even more unexpected outcome...I've made new "friends".  These people I've never met, but we've had "conversations".  We share friends and jokes's a little like we're meeting at our mutual friend's house for a party...only we're in our own houses...drinking our own alcohol.  Well, when you say it like that it sounds weird, but really, it's kind of nice to "meet" new people, even if I haven't officially met them yet.

And then there's the downside to FB:  defriending, unfriending, whatever you want to call it.  You would never (ok, mostly never) do that in real least not without a fight.  People don't just make the statement "I do not wish to be your friend" like they do on FB.  The thing about friend kind of know it's happening, but you don't know who it is. Someone doesn't like you...but who? (Well, I'm sure there's a way to track your friends regularly, but really, is that healthy? I think not.) I've noticed a few times, the number of friends I have changes...but I don't know who's missing.  If you're not here, raise your hand...  After a while, I may notice I haven't seen any posts from a particular person and I'll go check.  Hmmm...Gone from the friend list.  What's up with that?  I don't THINK I did anything to offend...did I?  Can't really retrace my steps...don't know when they left!  Now this has only happened a few times, but each time I have a fleeting moment of hurt...until I realize that I barely knew these people.  These are not my closest friends, but really, who likes to be told outright (well, sort of) that you haven't met some friend standard, especially when you don't know what the standard is.  There's only one way to handle the FB drama...shrug your shoulders and give it a "whatever".  Move on. It's not like you can work to keep those friends, and do you actually want to? Nah.

Overall, I can't imagine not checking in with my little community online.  I can choose to interact as much or as little as I want. (Okay, I'm not sure how much choice I have anymore.  I'm kind of addicted.) Yes, I have to ignore some comments and others make me roll my eyes, but that's true in real life too...only it's a heck of a lot easier to move along online. Nothing to see here...