Tuesday, October 20, 2009

What's it worth to you?

When you dine at a restaurant, it is considered good form to leave a gratuity, or tip, for your server. When you get your hair cut, a massage or other personal services performed it is also appropriate to tip the person providing those services. I suppose this is our culture's way of thanking them for the service rendered.

I've never really been comfortable with the idea of placing a monetary value on another person's work so I tend to maybe be a bit more generous than I should be. However, I had an experience recently that totally changed that mindset.

I was returning home to Utah from a quick trip to California and had to pass through airport security. I emptied my pockets and walked through a metal detector. The alarm went off, so I had to go back and try again. It went off again. I walked back to try again - BUZZ. Try again. BUZZ. Try again. BUZZ. The friendly TSA agent asked if I had anything in my pockets. I assured him I did not. He had me move into a glass box and wait for a more intensive search.

A not-so-friendly TSA agent carrying a wand approached me and had me step to the side where he was going to perform a search of my person to ensure I had no dangerous items I was trying to carry onboard a plane. The Wand Man asked me to turn out all of my pockets, which I did and in the course of so doing discovered that I had forgotten to remove my wallet...with a magnetic money clip.

I tried to explain to Wand Man that my wallet was obviously the cause for the metal detector alerting when I walked through and that I should be allowed to proceed on to my gate. But Wand Man wasn't having any of it. He explained to me that he had to conduct his search and that he would pass the wand over me and if it beeped, he would have to pat me down in the area it beeped.

He passed the wand all over my body and it never beeped once. Somehow Wand Man still felt the need to thoroughly pat me down. After becoming more acquainted with me than I am comfortable with any man being and satisfied that I was not carrying any dangerous items, I was free to go.

This left me with just one question: what does one usually tip for such intimate, personal service? Ten percent? Fifteen? Twenty? I didn't know either, so I just walked away, red-faced, to my gate.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Hitching a ride

Today I did something I have rarely done in the past, yet I felt completely comfortable doing today - I picked up a hitchhiker.

This wasn't your typical road warrior thumbing by the freeway, no siree. I didn't even have to stop to pick him up, he was sitting on my hood when I walked out of work. I tried to shoo him off the hood but he merely moved a little and looked up at me - this was a bee with an attitude. I thought for sure he would hop off when I started driving - no such luck, he just sat there.

I decided to see how fast I could get going before he'd fall off so I gunned it out of the parking lot. When I was on the road, he was still on the hood. I figured I'd lose him on the freeway, but that danged bee kept hanging on. I decided to test his endurance and got up to about 85 MPH (don't try that at home) but the bee was still there. This was one tenacious bee.

Despite my Andretti-like speeds and stuntman maneuvers, the bee wouldn't budge. The only time I saw him move was when he crouched down, presumably to be more aerodynamic. He hung on the entire time on my way back from work. As I was driving and watching the bee cling to my hood, I thought about life. I thought about how we should attack life with the same resolve this bee had; how we should never lose sight of our goals and pursue them with all the effort we had; how when life is battering us and we want to give how we should hang on for all we're worth. I thought about how much fun the bee must have been having and I also thought that maybe the bee had died and gotten stuck somehow.

This last thought proved to be false when I got out of my car and observed the bee crawl on the hood. If I'd had a hat on, I would have taken it off for this bee. I did have my shoes on, however.

I took off one of my shoes and as I raised it above my head I said with a snarl, "Adios, vaya con Dios" and let the shoe fall. Mission accomplished...or so I thought. It seems the bee has gotten the last laugh - he is still on my hood.