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Carol Perkins: Life lesson - it's not the seat, it's the principle

The Curacao Incident: Sometimes - well always for Carol's great teacher-friend Connie - one has to stand up for one's self, international scene or no.
The next earlier column: Carol Perkins: Sharing memories of recently razed Edmonton HS

By Carol Perkins

By now you probably know about my yearly cruises with my friends. This year there were twelve of us, so you can imagine the eight days of tall tales, laughter, and eating so much our clothes weighed more at the airport! Many have told me how lucky I am to have that many people with whom to travel and all get along. They are right. However, with that many we never know which one will have an encounter. Here is what happened:

We were loading a local tour bus in Curacao. Each took a seat and typically that seat becomes yours, unlike tour buses that travel from city to city and rotate seats each day to keep everyone happy. We were very early so took the first seats. We sat for at least thirty minutes while the driver rounded up those who couldn't find their way or were late. It is amazing how many people are late, holding up dozens of others in order to have one more cup of coffee on the Lido (food) deck.

My friend Connie (by now you likely know her through articles and my book) and another lady took a seat across from me. Finally, we were on our way, listening to the driver as he told us about the area and trying to hear over the people who go on tours so they can talk to each other! We made our first stop at a rum factory and everyone got off. There were cups of rum for tasting, a gift shop, and most importantly, a bathroom. This was a twenty minute stop.

When I went back to the bus, there they were.

In Connie's seat was a couple who had moved from the back to the front. I thought, "Here we go!" Another lady in our group looked at me and mouthed, "I think she'll be okay with it." I whispered, "Not a chance." I knew Connie.

When she boarded and looked up from the bus steps, her faced turned into teacher mode ready to scold a kid for taking someone else's seat or breaking line. She looked the couple straight on: "You got my seat!" she announced loudly. The man mouthed something she didn't hear (she doesn't hear well) but I did, "If you hadn't been in the bar you've have gotten your seat." I thought, "Oh no, I hope she didn't hear that." Connie was in the bathroom where the line wrapped around the building-not in the bar.

Then he rose from his seat as if to move, but his lady friend pulled him back down and said, "Open seating" which meant she wasn't leaving. Connie, thank goodness, moved a couple of seats back, but I could feel the steam. If she had heard that comment about the bar, no telling what kind of explosion would have erupted.

At the next stop, everyone got off again, but not this couple. They never got off at any other stop until we arrived at the port. I guess they were afraid she'd get their seat. As for the bet, I knew Connie and knew she wouldn't let it go. Sometimes you have to stand up for yourself and she did. The seat didn't matter, but the principle of taking the seat did. It took her several hours to get over this, but she moved on to the people at the airport cutting line trying to get ahead into the "A" group. She asked those in front of her, "What's your number?" Here we go again.

This story was posted on 2018-06-06 06:48:20
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