When I had to get home a fortnight ago for my sister’s death, the journey alone became a mini-epic.
Planes are full these days, so the airline was scanning for bump volunteers. I wasn’t in a hurry, probably the first time ever. I said yes and texted a friend from grade school who lives near my connecting airport. I was motivated because I had started Amanda Palmer’s The Art of Asking. My default is to suck it up and be self-sufficient, so asking for help is usually a Deep Breath Effort.
I didn’t get bumped. Instead, the plane didn’t arrive in time for my connection. I sucked that up and texted again. At 10 pm. My gracious friends came to the airport, shared the laughter that comes from old days, and gave me a clean, safe bed. Yeah.
The next day brought an 11:30 pm arrival in Columbus. I hesitated…to ask anyone to pick me up, and car rentals were ridiculous. Instead I put on my Big Girl Asking Panties and worked the airport gate crowd. “Excuse me, is anyone here heading toward Zanesville? Excuse me….” Heads shook and I called my brother. “You gotta be there/I know it sucks/we only had one sister.”
When I finally landed in Ohio and stood up to get my bag, people checked in. “Are you ok/ You have a ride yet/I live in Westerville and have a spare bed….” Yeah.
Amanda Palmer contends that we are continually engaged in asking and negotiating, so we might as well be smart, kind, and conscious about it. Other people don’t have to agree or say yes. The point is that we interact with each authentically. It’s community. We’re all family. We find the way, and it may be more interesting and beautiful just for the asking.