Friday, May 16, 2014

The Merry Acres, a bird and the cleaners

It is such a beautiful day here in Florida's capital city that it causes me to reminisce. I go back in time about 25 years to a beautiful spring day. I was in the pharm business and was on a business outing to the Albany, GA area. As was my custom I spent the night at a Quality Court independent motel called the Merry Acres. I always stayed here because they remembered my name and more importantly they had a great restaurant.

I had scheduled a hospital display at Phoebe Putney hospital. That meant that I had to get up early and be at the hospital at 7:00 AM. I had just finished a lovely breakfast and on my out the door to my car. I had done this many numerous times before. However, today I was sporting a brand new three piece suit. It was cream colored. I had purchased it on sale from Gayfers department store. I had a nice blue shirt to go with it and matching tie and I had to say, I liked what I saw in the mirror.

I felt great. I was 43-44 years old and was in pretty good shape, happily employed, happily married and loved what I was doing for a living at that particular moment in time. I could not wait to get in front of my customers on that day. How could they resist my sales pitch, when I was looking so good?

Out the door, passing under a beautiful dogwood tree in full bloom. I could almost hear the Disney movie theme music playing " Oh what a beautiful morning. Oh what a beautiful day. Everything's coming up roses. Everything's going my way !" All of a sudden I felt a splat on my right shoulder. Looking with horror I saw that a bird had evacuated its alimentary canal all over my suit. My day went straight from bright and lovely to dour and gloomy immediately. You could tell from the residue that this bird had been glutting itself on some lovely blue berries of some variety. I could even see the seeds from its most recent meal.

I was livid. I spewed forth a lengthy string of sailor talk and my day had immediately gone from sunshine to spit.I acted like a 5 year old throwing this little singular tantrum. I was going to be late. My new suit was ruined. I might as well go home and forget the day. You could see the steam pouring from my well coiffed hair. Then I spotted my salvation. A dry cleaner. He had just opened his door. I made a veer straight to that door from the site of this travesty.

I walked in the door to inquire if there was assistance for me. My thought was that I could just leave the coat and go on to work in a shirt and tie and come back for it later in the morning. Before I could even open my mouth the dry cleaning professional took one look at me and doubled over with laughter. It did not cure my ill slated frame of mind. Just before I could unload my pent up anger on this person, whom I had not ever met, he looked me in the eye and began to apologize to me. He said that was just a ridiculous sight to see this so early in the morning.

He then said, " Hand me your coat, sir and let me see what I can do." I did so. He disappeared around the corner and was back inside 5 minutes. The mire from my suit was totally gone. It smelled a little funky but it looked brand new again. " How much do I owe you ?" said I as I put on my coat and looked at my watch. He said that he felt so bad  about laughing at me that he could not charge me a penny. I could not believe how quickly this chain of events had reversed itself.

Since the bird dumped on me to the time my coat was clean again was under 15 minutes. A bad situation in my personal world was made right by the simple act of a very nice person. I, to this day, do not remember his name. Yet here I sit 25 years later, recalling that event which taught me a valuable lesson once again.
There is simply no reason to react dramatically at what seems to be a disastrous event. Short of a diagnosis of terminal illness or the news of a death of a friend or loved one, most everything is manageable and reversible. Patience and being able to laugh at yourself is at the core of being able to survive.