Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Chilean Miners experience a REAL 7/24...

7/24/120…but they're not married! They may not even all like each other and they've already had almost three weeks of each other's "unbathed" company.

While watching the news about the Chilean miners who are trapped thousands of feet below the surface in a copper/gold mine, I pondered their predicament with my “take” on retirement. Yes, we are together 7/24/365…but….we are not trapped. We leave when we want to; we breathe freely and, most importantly, we shower daily!

I heard on the news that local officials were consulting NASA and submariners on how to handle the emotional trauma of being in such close quarters with 32 other human beings. While I’m sure they are friends, nothing has prepared them for the possibility of seeing only each other for an extended period of time. They are not rocket scientists like the NASA astronauts or military men with a higher mission; they are ordinary working men. I came up with my own ideas of how to encourage them to “hang in there”. I borrowed some of the ideas from my years of teaching 1st and 2nd graders about religion. I had to keep the attention of the six- and seven-year-olds for 90 minutes once a week after they’d already spent 6 hours in a classroom...the similarity is that they often felt "trapped" me!

So….here are my ideas:

1) The 33 miners should all write their names on a piece of paper and each morning someone (perhaps the oldest member) would draw out one name. For that day, the miner whose name was drawn would be “#1” for the day. They could tell their family story to everyone there; they could perhaps sleep in the most comfortable area of their capsule (they should designate a “#1 area for that purpose); they should be the recipient of notes from each of the other men telling them one thing that they like about that person. On that day, if there are chores to be done, the #1 person would get a “day off”.

2) A fund should be established on the outside (by contributions from around the world)…the miners should be told that there would be a competition for the duration of their entrapment to see which one of them exhibited the most sympathy, compassion, and helpfulness while trapped...the winner would receive the cash. (They shouldn’t be told that the fund would be divided equally when they get free…the idea is to keep them helping each other for however long it takes to get them out...I'm sure the competitive nature of men isn't an "American" thing.)

3) Kazoos should be lowered down the supply tube and they should practice their national anthem to be played on the day they are released. (There's already a video of them singing their national anthem.)

4) At the end of each day, each man should express one wish and then they should have a prayer service where each of them would pray for the wish of the man next to them rather than their own.

5) And this one is borrowed from Marriage Encounter and Cursillo retreats sponsored by the Catholic church: the world should be encouraged to "adopt a miner". Make an email address available where messages from the world can be printed; choose a name and make the message specific to that miner. Before emailing, go to my favorite free translation website (got me through my French classes in college).

I've emailed a Santiago newspaper website and requested a contact email; will add it to this post and put it on facebook if he/she replies.
Add them to your prayer list. The best thing ever would be if Apple stepped up to the plate and helped the rescuers send a cable line down...along with it 33 iphones!!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Stewardess or Flight Attendant...rude is the same...

In view of the “hero of the week” Steven Slater, I thought I’d reminisce about life as a flight attendant…it seems that one thing is constant from “my day” when we were still called stewardesses, to today…rude people are universal. (You’ll notice I didn’t excuse the occasional rude flight attendant…the jury will decide whether Mr. Slater is a hero or a villain.) I am referring to the absence of courtesy. It has no gender bias; or race bias; or age bias; or nationality bias…you’ll find rudeness in the grocery store; in the line at your bank; at the DMV (definitely at the DMV…at both sides of the counter)…needless-to-say, rude is not discriminated against.

In the late 60’s when I was a stewardess with Delta, the book “Coffee, Tea, or Me” was published. The “hero” of the story was a bachelor (played by Tony Curtis in the movie) whose apartment had a revolving door through which numerous stewardesses entered and exited. It painted all stewardesses as lacking morals and just slightly better than prostitutes (they didn’t get paid). On one of my flights a little old lady was reading the book and as I walked past her, she looked up at me, shook her grey curls and said, “Tsk, tsk, tsk…shame on you!” (I didn’t give her the satisfaction of a reply.) In the clip art shown here, they refer to "the Girdled Stewardess"...among the indignities of the job was a "girdle check"...your supervisor could board a flight unannounced and ask to check and see if you were wearing a girdle...God-forbid you should "jiggle" down the aisle! (I'm serious!)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Remembering the past...investing in the future.

Recently we had dinner with three other couples we’ve known for 43 years. It is amazing that we live within 30 minutes’ drive of these couples who knew us even before we were married. All four men were the “junior officers” in Navy squadrons on the USS Kitty Hawk in 1967 and 1968. All four women were the “dates” they brought to squadron parties when the ship was in port between cruises. All of us got married in 1969. One of the husbands was among the 40 men who attended our wedding in Sasebo, Japan when the ship pulled into port in May.
Our lives took different paths when the men left the Navy. Two of the four men went into large real estate development companies. After a brief time dabbling in that market, Joe opted for government service and the fourth husband became an airline pilot.

Among the four couples there are 11 children and 12 grandchildren. We have shared milestones along the way that remain among our favorite memories: baby showers; 30th, 40th, 50th, and 60th birthday parties; weddings of our children; and, more recently, my college graduation celebration and retirement parties. We only see each other a couple of times a year, but whenever we get together we have an unmistakable bond.

While reminiscing at dinner, we were doing a lot of “Do you remember….” talk. Topics included childhood games and TV shows and the products we “had to have”. They are a litany of the things that the baby boomer generation made profitable. How I wish I had invested in the parent companies of this list through the decades:

1. Schwinn bicycles…remember playing cards and Popsicle sticks in the spokes?

2. Chatty Cathy doll (a personal favorite) and Barbie soon after.

3. 45 rpm records and the record players to play them...I had a black and white vinyl carrying case for going to slumber parties.