Wednesday, May 21, 2008

One of My Favorite Stories

This story may be may be an urban legend. Either way, I love it, and it always makes me feel thoughtful. I heard this story when I took a "Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" course while working at the University of Oklahoma.

Our facilitator explained that he had a friend who was traveling in England. She was at the airport, I believe Gatwick, and was trying to get back to the United States after her trip. She was flying alone and was facing a long day of delays. The airport was crowded, busy, and she was a bit grumpy that her flight was not taking off as planned. She sat in the waiting area, hunkered down for a long day of nothing. At least she had her book and some magazines, and, most importantly, biscuits. In England, biscuits are what we Americans know as cookies, and they are delicious, as I know from my trips to England with Anna. I think Le Petit Ecoulers, shortbread cookies with a layer of milk chocolate were our favorite (in my pre-vegan days). But I digress....

The heroine of our story was settling into the uncomfortable plastic chairs when a sophisticated, well-dressed, older British gentleman sat near her, with a small table between them. I always imagine him with a hat that he tips in greeting, though I doubt he was that dapper, though he was dressed smartly in a suit. He looked innocuous enough, anyway. The woman nodded in greeting, and then set to reading her magazines. She then took a biscuit from her tin, yum! And then, our British friend took a biscuit! From her tin! She couldn't believe his nerve. So she took another biscuit. And he took one. And so on. It became a furious race...if she could eat faster, he would be able to eat fewer of her cookies. So it went, until only one cookie was left. The gentleman picked up the tin and tipped it in her direction, offering her the last of her own cookies. She snatched the last of the biscuits and gobbled it up. She couldn't believe this was simply a matter of different cultural norms--it had to be outright rudeness, plain and simple. She was fuming--barely reading the pages--really just feeling anger at the fact a stranger had just eaten half of her delicious biscuits. And on the last day of her trip! When would she get to have such yummy English treats again?

Shortly, the man heard his boarding call. He picked up the tin to put in the trash--it was the least he could do, really--and nodded his goodbye. So she calmed down, slowly, a little anyway. She was at least feeling like she could read again, but was tired of the magazine, so she reached down to exchange it for her book. As she opened her bag looking for the paperback, she saw, with great embarrassment, her unopened tin of biscuits.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for reading my blog and posting a comment! : )

Related Posts with Thumbnails