Do you remember Lila from the movie Latter Days? She was the gracious restaurant owner played by Jacqueline Bisset. If you haven't seen the movie, you should. But the movie isn't what I'm here to chat you up about today. It goes beyond the actress, the role, the part she played. It is her spirit. The energy she exhibited. The heart she showed. How she opened up herself, her business, her life. To help the boys, others, and to make people feel good. She believed in something more, something positive, something even, perhaps, ethereal.
I think I'm drawn to that type of person because I wish I were more that way. I try to be, believe me. But I don't always succeed. Occasionally, gasp, I lose my way. I have this feeling that I will be working on it for the remainder of my life. I'm such a hard old crusty bastard sometimes. I don't think it's one of those things that will ever be fully achieved. But continually focused on for reminding myself of who I am and who I am not. It keeps me humble and god knows I could use a little of that.
My friend Rhonda is that way. A devoted, devout positive person. She cares for others. Honestly, deep down, from the core of her being. You feel good being around her. Being a flight attendant brings about those opportunities to fly with a variety of people. Some you get to know and fly with frequently. Others are more flash-in-the-pan sort of folks...you fly with them once and may never again. And some you never, ever want to fly with again. Today, I had an unexpected surprise to meet Jan. From our Los Angeles base. Jan had that big smile on her face from the moment I went down the jetway and entered the airplane. She was right on it. No drama, no negative, no ill habits, no hating of the company, no doom and gloom. She had shed it all for today, at least. She opened up her arms and gave me a hug. Now, remember, I had never seen her until that moment in time. Even if I'd wanted to, I couldn't have a bad attitude being around Jan. She was one of those deep souls. Not superficial. And I can spot surface, shallow BS a mile away. She had clearly experienced in her life things that created her. She had struggled and hurt and recreated her life in a way that helped make her who she is today. We chatted about marriage, past lives, our mutual time together in Boise (we actually lived in the very same apartment complex back in Idaho in the early '90s....). She laid out her life out for me to see. She was diving deep. I had to practice those skills that go deep, far beyond the borders of being nice because I'm a flight attendant. You just never know what any particular day is going to bring you.
I'm convinced that as much as people irritate me many times that I actually need these irritants to make me, remind me!, who I am. Who I am not. And who I need to be. Life is so short. And much of it is shallow. But today, I got a little depth. A little soul, and human culture. And I'm thankful.