Tag Archives: love

Airport Friend


On a four hour layover in Charlotte Airport, I determined I was going to need something other than the usual faux-leather chair stuck to eight identical others.  I was going to need a rocking chair so I could read my new book. Unfortunately,  all the rockers were occupied except one, but even that one wasn’t exactly available. A guy was getting up from that rocker slowly, gathering his stuff which was strewn about the floor.

“You off your rocker?” I asked, admiring  my clever approach. He responded quickly.

“That’s what she said last week… said I was nuts, right before she dumped me.”

“Is she right?…Are you nuts?”  I asked moving cautiously in the direction of the rocking chair while keeping both eyes on him, after all, maybe he was nuts!

” Not sure.   I mean it’ true,  I can’t  seem to pull the trigger, you know, commit.” He indicated quotes with his fingers held alongside each ear. (I do that too sometimes and I made a mental note to stop doing it, it looks so lame.)  He was still talking.

” I don’t know, maybe I am off my rocker.”

“HMM”, I made that sound I often make when I don’t know what to say next, it sort of buys me time.  “Maybe we are all a little nuts”,  I added, “Sorry about your girlfriend, though.”

“You married?” he asked.

‘No”. I responded simply. While he was willing to putting it all out there, I wasn’t.


“Well, I’m not sure how to answer that.  I was divorced and then my former husband passed away. I’m Catholic so according to The Church (I wanted to do the quote sign thing but held myself back)  I am a widow because the church never recognized my divorce. I am not really sure what I am. It doesn’t much matter any more.” (I guess I was going to put it out there after all.)

I realized we were  both standing alongside the rocker, which oddly enough was rocking every so slightly. He caught me looking at it.

“Please”, he said, “Sit down.  I am off this rocker for sure.”

” Sorry about your girlfriend”, I added.” It’s sad to lose someone you love.”

‘Whoa… who said anything about love?  I never said I loved her.  Who really knows what love is anyway…do you?

“I think so, at least  when I was in love, it was just as I envisioned it to be.  I felt happy deep down to my soul.  He saw more in me than I did in myself, he was kind and fun. He respected me,allowed me to speak my  mind and flourish according to my own plan. People who are in love, love all about the other, even the differences, even the quirks.  I think that’s love.

“Are you in love now?”

“No, I don’t seem to be able to find what I once had. Sometimes I think that 25 years of being in love is more than most people get and so I am grateful for that.”  He sat down on the floor alongside me. Didn’t look like I was going to get to read my book any time soon.

“Steve” he said, extending his hand.

“Mary Ann.”

“So what’s does Mary Ann do?” he inquired.

I’m an adjunct , USF Tampa.  And I am retired so I spend time with my grandchildren, and travel a lot. Life is good for me.

“Cool”, he said.

“What do you do, Steve?”

‘Me? I dabble.”

“You dabble,” I repeated it as though I was questioning the legitimacy of his answer.

“Yeah you know, a little this and a little that. I invest in property,  I own a bar in Jacksonville.  My parents died early and for better or worse left enough money for me to just ..well…dabble.”

“Ah”…most people would envy  you, being able to dabble.”

“Yeah…I guess. It probably wasn’t the best thing for me. He went on to talk about some poor business and life decisions. No, he wasn’t nuts, just hadn’t found his ground yet. I talked about dabbling with my writing, about my need to create stories and share them, and my search for what’s next in my life.   We chatted easily as though we had been friends far longer than this short encounter.

“This is cool.” His fingers went back and forth pointing to him, to me and him again.  I mean, I know it is just an airport friendship, but it’s cool.”

I liked the term, airport friendship.

Steve glanced at his watch.  “Crap! I gotta get to my gate, but thanks, Mary Ann.  I don’t think I’m off my rocker, but I am glad I got off my rocker for you. Before I go, can I ask you a very personal question.”

“You already have . Why stop now?”

He smiled approvingly, “Yeah, but this one is even more personal.” I knew in an instant the question, so I answered before he even asked,

” 73″.

“No kidding!” he responded with wide eyes and a huge smile that I hadn’t seen before.  ” Wow, you look great in skinny jeans!” And off he went.

And so my airport friend put closure on our friendship, and  was on his way to  go dabble somewhere at something. He left smiling, making me  think he felt better as a result of  our conversation, and frankly I was smiling as well.

SUCCESSTROGEN is about defining your life as you wish it. And I wish my life to be like that night, meeting others and sharing  stories–nothing life changing, but powerful just the same.   I never did get into my book, as a matter of fact I left it there on the rocking chair for someone else to read in case they chose not  to share their story with an airport friend.

The Habits of Sea Otters


Yesterday I had a routine medical appointment.   Since I  purchased an iPad a few years ago, I no longer dread the long wait time before an appointment.  I bring my iPad, and play Words with Friends for however long it takes for the nurse to call my name. But yesterday I noted that  my iPad battery was very low.  I had not brought my charger with me so I was unable to power up the iPad.  I almost went into a frenzy–How could I function without my electronic entertainer?

I  had to resort to reading a magazine about nature.  Generally a magazine about nature  would be my last choice for leisurely reading, but the patients who arrived before staked their claims to the most recent editions of  my top choices:  O, Coastal Living, and Sports Illustrated.  A magazine about nature  was the only thing left for me to peruse. By its clean, unwrinkled cover and pages it was easy to see that no one before me had chosen to read it.

I reluctantly began checking the table of contents.  Since I am afraid of heights, the article about mountain climbing was of no interest to me.  The  one about walking the Appalachean Trail alone to “find my inner self” had little appeal as well.  However, a cute photo caught my attention and I began to read an article that described the instinctual habits of the sea otter. I learned an interesting fact that will endear me to sea otters for the rest of my life:   sea otters hold hands while they sleep so that one of them doesn’t drift away.  How cute is that?  I like the idea that these two sea creatures value what they have together and  protect it by eliminating the possibility of drifting apart.

Sea otters hold hands while they are sleeping so that  one doesn’t drift away.

Similarly, we often see adults holding the hand of a small child to prevent the toddler from “drifting away. ”  My friend’s husband has Alzheimer’s and she holds his hand wherever they go, for the same reason, to make sure he doesn’t drift away.  Due to the 47%  rate of marriages ending in divorce, maybe married couples should consider the practice of the sea otters so that neither of them even thinks of “drifting” away.  While my thought about married couples is tongue-in-cheek, we are aware that couples, families, and friends have to consciously do things to keep together, to avoid the possibility of drifting away.

Women with high SUCCESSTROGEN know the value of relationships and partnerships.   In business, they know to maintain the synergy of their associates, recognizing both the individuals and the teams so they do not drift apart.  In their homes, these women consciously organize dates with their spouses, and events with their children, so no one drifts away from the family unit. And in their relationships with friends, they do the same, keeping in touch and getting together in spite of their busy lives.

I spend considerable time keeping my family from drifting apart, but I can do much better “holding hands” with my friends so neither of us drift away. How about you, is there a hand in need of your hold?