Help wanted

By Reade Brower | Mar 27, 2014

“Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which differ from that of their social environment.” — Albert Einstein, physicist, Nobel laureate (1879-1955)

I need your help

Weigh in on this and let me know what you think. Let me set the stage and then ask you “what would you have done” or perhaps better stated; “what should I have done”?

Like many people, I like to study human behavior and this incident was a chance to study my own. My selfish and boorish ways were quite evident, even to me, and yet there I was being selfish and a boor. I was heading out for a vacation, leaving Owls Head on a Thursday morning to head to Boston. My plan was to arrive in Boston about four hours early for my connection to Phoenix that evening and then be out of commission for the next week (we already had tee-times set for early morning Friday with 36 holes planned at two different courses).

With clear skies, I thought all was good until the seven of us flying that morning were told that our intended plane had a crack in it and would not be operable. We were offered a van ride to Boston and travelers were offered reconnections if necessary.

They tried to change my scheduled 4:15 p.m. US Air flight to a 5:30 p.m. Jet Blue flight that would have still got me to my destination at a reasonable time. However, my next piece of bad luck occurred when it was discovered that I was flying on a voucher from US Air, not a ticket, as they had cancelled a flight on me awhile back and this was a “make good." Apparently a voucher cannot be used or redeemed on any other airline so I was out of luck and needed to cross my fingers that the van to Boston would arrive in time for me to make my connecting flight.

I’m a gambler so I left it to the universe and off we went, leaving Rockland minutes before noon.

Now comes the dilemma. In Boston, during my four-plus hour layover, I had a conference call already scheduled for early afternoon with an insurance team that I had been trying to connect with for over a month. I also had two scheduled (lengthy) business calls that needed to be dealt with before my vacation could start.

I made the conscious and deliberate decision that I would sit in the far back of the van and take my conference call as planned, as well as make the two other calls. I settled into the back seat and a gentleman sat next to me. I apologized to him and to the other five passengers, telling them I knew it was rude of me but I would need to be on the phone during our ride to Boston.

About an hour later, I began to make good on my promise to be selfish and a boor. Off and on (mostly “on”) for the next two hours I tried to talk softly, without whispering, in the back of the van. Speaking in printing terms, deal-making self bravado, and throwing around big numbers (insurance people need to know what and how much they are insuring) I was also guilty of throwing in a little B.S. and some personal tidbits as I did the business song and dance with the insurance people and during my sales calls.

It wasn’t done without regard to my fellow passengers, but it was done with the knowledge that one-way conversations are super annoying and should be kept at a “need to” basis and, at the least, kept at a minimum.

My luck for the day did change; with little Boston traffic during the mid-morning, the van arrived curbside, as I ended my last call, with just over a half-hour until my flight. As I exited the van, I apologized again for my rude behavior and was met with eyes or avoidance that what I would classify as a cool resistance.

I mulled it over wondering if I should have sacrificed my needs for the other passengers or whether, because this was an unintended consequence, perhaps I could be let off the hook for my behavior. There were choices to be made and I made the one that served me, justifying it by saying to myself that I was just adjusting to the situation and that, although rude, I was trying to keep it on the low side and it was perhaps in the category of traveling with children who talked or cried too much and parents who did not control them.

Being in the van was not my choice, nor was it a choice for my fellow passengers. However, what I did in the van was. Therefore, the dilemma.

As I entered the van, I thought about asking the passengers if they minded me being on the phone, but I dismissed that notion because I had made the decision already that I needed to make and take these call so having them say “I would prefer you didn’t” was not a position I wanted to put myself in.

Let me know what you think, I really want to get some neutral viewpoints on this. If you were in the van, my third apology to you and an invitation to chime in and let me have yours first-hand.

I can’t figure this one out

Help me understand…… is all I can say about the letter dated Feb. 28 and postmarked March 4 that I found in my mail cubby at Courier headquarters. I need to point out that I am not “day to day” so this letter had probably sat there occupying space for some time until I wandered in to attend a manager’s meeting.

No return address and not signed it simply said; “Mr. Brower, I don’t agree with your column. Therefore I must HATE you. Right?”

Dear anonymous reader, you spent 45 cents to send me this anonymous letter for what reason? I assume it is a response to my column on our President; I can assure you that I don’t hate you. I love you, and the fact that you don’t agree with me is fine. I’m not sure why you didn’t sign your name; after all I signed mine to the column.

To stand up and be counted, we need to stand behind what we believe and share our thoughts rather than write anonymous letters that leave too much to “guess work”.

Onward! Courage!


Turn the Page. Peace out; Reade

Reade Brower can be reached at:

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