If you've not been there yet, it's high time you meet my friend, Lou.
So we've not actually met in person. It doesn't matter. I don't need to hug her in person to know she's a good and true person. To know she's a dedicated mother, devoted wife, loving daughter, doting sister and all-around great gal.
Tonight, however, Miss Lou reached the boiling point. (Similar to Mr. Gladwell's point, but a little to the right. Or maybe the left. I dunno. I'm directionally challenged. If you ever ask me for directions, QUESTION EVERYTHING I TELL YOU. I live in North Fargo and--I'm not making this up--once inadvertently sent someone to Canada whilst directing them to South Fargo High School. Mea culpa. But I digress.)
Back to the Lou-ster. (Surprise, Leah -- a new nickname!)
She's had it. Had it with the hurtful, nosy and just plain rude interactions that often arise in human relationships.
Had it with knowing the "right" thing to say twenty minutes after the right moment has passed. Had it with people over-stepping their bounds, much less even seeing those boundaries to begin with.
We've not talked details, but I like to think she has also had it with the idiots in this town who politely STOP at the top of the on-ramp merging onto the interstate rather than adjusting their speed LIKE DRIVER'S EDUCATION TAUGHT THEM TO DO AND COMMON SENSE WOULD DICTATE. Then again, she lives in South Dakota, so maybe not. I like to think I'm not alone on that one, though.
So she wrote a rant. A gorgeous, from the gut, fingernail-splitting from pounding the ever-lovin'-snot out of the keyboard, the cat was probably hiding, still used her nice words, still acted like an adult and didn't name-call rant. And I thought, "YEAH. Good for you, honey. Let 'er rip!"
It's such a rare occurrence for Lou to flip her lid on her blog, that it triggered a memory of a story.
It must have been the late 80's to mid-90's.
My girlfriend's Mom was a flight attendant for an airline with a hub in a Southern state sporting an unusually large population of good ol' boys. You know the ones. Car dealership ownin', snakeskin boot-wearin', cigar-chompin', scotch-soaked, butt-slappin', rump-pinchers in ten-gallon hats. But because they were paying, regular customers, any antics in which they partook where endured.
So it's the same flight this aircrew makes most of the week: the Southern city to Chicago and back. Twice a day. It's the flight-of-choice for the good ol' boys to get their game on in the Windy City.
On this crew is my friend's Mom, (we'll call her Mom) Mom's friend, who we'll call Janie, and another attendant or two in addition to the crew in the cockpit.
Mom and Janie were working the same section of the cabin, with the same group of passengers they'd been hauling on this route for over a year. Just as scotch-soaked and rump-pinchin' as ever, these ol' boys were clearly not going to be behaving any better than they had on any past flight. They, in fact, had decided in the last weeks to add, "lewd comment-makin'" to their repertoires.
As Janie checked seatbelts and overheard compartments, she endured slaps, pinches, squeezes and swats ... now liberally peppered with salacious comments, suggestions and requests.
And then, all of a sudden, she didn't.
One swat, or maybe one suggestion too many, and Janie reached her boiling point.
She whipped around, slapped that man in the face, told him he needed to sharpen it, carve spikes into it, stick it where the State of Texas would never find it and give it a 360-degree turn. Twice.
Janie then proceeded to stride the aisle like a catwalk, thrusting her finger in the faces of stunned but guilty passengers who had spent the last year contributing to this Mt. Vesuvius-like explosion.
Peppering each of these digit-to-the-visage encounters was one simple phrase:
Except, of course, she didn't abbreviate that first word.
Up the aisle, one passenger at a time.
"And F you, and F you, and F YOU, and F .... "
You get the picture. I like to think that with each step, a wisp of smooth hair came out of her chignon, her eyes grew a little wilder, and somehow--magically--her fingernails became longer and longer until they resembled blood-red talons.
Then she reached the cabin where she threw open the door with a vicious twist of the in-door knob thingy.
One giant step in, and a pointer-finger in the face of the pilot: "F you."
To the first officer: "F YOU."
And then, utilizing TWO fingers to execute the oft-ignored "multiple destination point", to the other two crew members in the cabin, "AND F THE TWO OF YOU!!"
I hear it took three crew members to restrain her.
I heard they had to strap her into a jump seat until they got to the closest airport.
I hear she lost her job.
I heard she'll never work in the airline industry again.
But DAMN, I bet she felt better.