Outlook: bright and sunny
Checking the weather forecast is not part of my daily routine. I know what to expect.
Just like my default plan for Seattle weather –layers, layers, layers – my own personal outlook has a default setting that is consistent, predictable and for the most part, safely reliable for the people I encounter each day.
This hasn’t always been the case. I cringe when I think back to my early days working at Nordstrom. My daily prep included too much makeup, a fashion forward costume and a sourpuss look on my face – because I thought it would help make me look mature and serious and not 18 years old. I wasn’t fooling anyone and I looked ridiculous.
Each day I passed a man, who was either homeless or stuck in a loitering rut in the alley between my apartment and the bus stop. I ignored him as I stomped by in my high heels, pursed lips and pale pink wool Calvin Klein overcoat. But despite my best efforts to suffocate him with clouds of Avon’s Imari perfume, he still managed to make consistent fun of my Miss Serious face. He tried his best to turn my frown upside down; “Smile, baby!” “Ah honey, what’s wrong?” “It’s a beautiful day, be happy!” “Just smile! It’ll be okay!”
He was relentless. And he was totally right. I finally stopped fighting my personal atmospheric tendencies and allowed myself to smile and answer “peachy’ or “d-e-lightful” when someone asked how I was.
Our recent last minute trip to California reminded me again how much our expectations and point-of-view impacts our experiences.
At the end of a long and fruitless shopping adventure in search of summer garb, a very grumpy Sweetie-Boy met Joanna, a salesperson in The Rail at the Bellevue Nordstrom whose optimism, humor, efficiency and willingness to protect him from the world’s harshest critics – his siblings – won his undying loyalty.
Venom Pen was unable to resurrect his new iPod Nano after its second trip through the wash. He was prepared to fork over birthday and Xmas dollars to buy his own replacement, but after some very positive interactions with employees at the Bellevue and University Village Apple stores he was surprised and delighted to leave for vacation with his personal funds intact, thanks to Apple’s stated goal to “surprise and delight our customers.”
Late Wednesday evening, Sistafoo danced with excitement as we stood in line to check into the Disneyland Hotel. When it was our turn, her enthusiasm transformed into thrilled amazement as the suddenly shy Sistafoo was escorted around the counter, assigned a Jr. Cast Member Badge and allowed to use the computer to check-in our family. When she was done she received a thank you card, a personalized badge and a memory to last a lifetime, all because she didn’t try to hide her enthusiasm behind a faux mask of stoicism.
Throughout our trip to Disney and beyond, we encountered person after person determined to make the world a sunnier place – from advice from strangers and employees on where to eat, what to do, where to stand for the best view to subtle nods and gentle persuasion to help avoid expensive mistakes.
As hard as it is sometimes to endure foul weather, tolerate foul personalities, or conquer foul circumstances, I try to remember that the most important forecast is the one we predict for ourselves, so I think I will keep planning for the same outlook, the same forecast, regardless of where I live, or where I visit: Sunny with a chance of surprise and delight.
Wanna say Hiya to Heija? Follow her on Twitter (@Heija) Friend her on Facebook or relax, sit back, and silently judge her life in the flickering glow of your computer screen at her blog The Worst Mother in the World (www.Heija.com).