Surprise, surprise

I love surprises.

Which is why I have a much higher tolerance than the average person for airports, Walmarts and friends who suck at planning.

Are you groaning? You must be one of those people who excel at spreadsheets, cross-country road trips and planning your social calendar months in advance.

As I write this post, I am sitting in one of the world’s busiest airports. I took a car to get on a bus that took me to a train so I could board a plane. I’ve been run into thus far by a two-foot-tall Disney princess and a man who looked like he was trying to move house via a major airline. I’ve had a piss-poor egg sandwich and mediocre coffee.

But I’m still smiling.

You know why?

Because I love the element of surprise.

FeaturePics-Waiting-Airport-Passengers-200617-506989Airports hold promise. The odds of an unexpected encounter in your run-of-the-mill average daily life are decent, if not huge. You might run into your boyfriend of 25 years ago. A former colleague who has since moved to Europe. A celebrity who is just passing through town.

Or, you might just sit next to a fascinating stranger, one who changes your life in the brief hour you fly together.

I love the surprises the melting pot holds.

The couple who looks miserable after an obviously far too long Bahamas vacation together. The wedding is off, from the looks of it.

The family headed to Nashville to visit relatives, with a daughter begging every airline staff member she can find for wings.

The jaded businessmen, traveling in a pack, looking like they could use a lot less coffee and a bit more sleep.

It’s humanity, if not at its finest, at its most diverse.

Which brings me to Walmart. Definitely not humanity at its finest. Park at your own risk. Pass someone in an aisle at the same risk.

I don’t love your typical Walmart customer. I don’t love the messy parking lot and mass-produced items. But I do love not knowing what you will come upon at every turn. Walk toward school supplies and you might just find a great deal on sunscreen. Or, the latest bestseller you’ve been meaning to buy. A kiddie pool for the dog to splash in this summer.

Some of my nearest and dearest find my love of surprises annoying. As I head back to my hometown this weekend, I have reached out to several friends. Most of them, at the eleventh hour. And one has scolded me for not giving her more notice. My former spontaneous college sorority sister has become a planner and wants advance notice when I’m coming in to town. Which is totally understandable, given our busy lives.

But part of me says–doesn’t she know that would completely eliminate the element of surprise?FeaturePics-Man-Surprise-Birthday-Party-201010-2452355

What better feeling than realizing that in the midst of your ho-hum weekend, an old pal is visiting. And suddenly, the weekend brightens.

I love that feeling.

In the same way that I loved walking into the conference room at the law firm I’d worked at through college breaks to find that the entire office was throwing me a going-away party. When they yelled “surprise” and the truth sunk in, I was elated. I was truly surprised, truly grateful and truly had fun.

Some of you will think I’m nuts. And quite possibly, I am. But you ride the roller coaster of life either way, right? Some people scream and fret the whole time.

And some of us put our hands up in the air.


Postscript: After I finished this post and boarded the plane, the airline lost my luggage. It never made it on the plane.

After dealing with rather rude airline employees and two other women who nearly came to fisticuffs over who should claim their lost luggage first (one had a dying mother and the other two screaming children—both felt their need trumped the other), I finally got my suitcase—eight hours after I landed.  

I changed in an airport hotel bathroom so I could make it to my event. Broke my expensive perfume bottle. And got hit on by a fellow visitor to the ladies’ room.

Let’s just say it wasn’t my day. The universe was testing my hypothesis. I could just hear it saying, “So, you think you like surprises? Let’s see how these sit with you.”

And yet, I stand by my love of surprise. The surprise of lost luggage? Not so much. The broken perfume bottle? Oy vey.

But the beauty of it all is—if these surprises can happen, then so can more pleasant ones. 

Which really should come as no surprise at all.



17 Comments Add yours

  1. andmorefood says:

    it was such an enlightened, inspirational read and then I reached the end – and I burst out laughing! murphys law always wins :p I love surprises and airports too, but I live also in the constant fear that I would surprise myself by not having my passport!

  2. I had fun reading this.
    And I don’t think you are crazy to love surprises.
    In fact I completely concur with what you said!

    1. candidkay says:

      A kindred spirit . . . I like that:)

  3. You and I must be complete opposites because I hate Walmart and love spreadsheets; although I do not plan ahead my social calendar too far ahead. I hope that apart from the ‘surprise’ starts, your trip went well. .

  4. Love this post Kay, surprised and delighted by it!

  5. I loved this post and I also kinda loved that things didn’t go according to plan showing both good and bad surprises!!! Obviously it wasn’t fun for you at the time but it made the post so nice and humorous. I too love surprises and people watching and airports 🙂

  6. Jim Simon says:

    It’s the Bodhisattva in you that accepts change…

    1. candidkay says:

      Touché, Jim:)

  7. Jenny says:

    This is fantastic! You are so much fun to read. Have a wonderful weekend.

  8. Jenny says:

    This is fantastic! You are so much fun to read. Have a great weekend 🙂

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you! One of the nicest thing you can say to a writer;)

  9. words4jp says:

    I love the oyvay! The perfect word which sums it all up – whatever it is;). Oh, I agree with Walmart. A zoo, where the animals are humans, but the surprises can be astonishing!

  10. markbialczak says:

    Rarely does one get the chance to trump one’s self, Kay. You did it. Good post. Great postscript. You upped your hey, life with your oy vey. The fact that you want more hey, life is even more pleasant.

  11. Dinesh Deo says:

    Reblogged this on BoomStuff and commented:
    absolutely right,,,,

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you for the reblog! And for stopping by my blog:).

  12. This was great…but that postscript?!? FABULOUS.

    I used to be a flight attendant for a major airline. I could sit in a large airport for hours…HOURS…and just people watch. And I would try to figure out their “story” in my mind.

    She must be going to a wedding. She must be on a business trip. He must be with a girlfriend. He must be miserable to live with.

    I would try to read so much into them just by the look on their face and the types of bags/luggage they were dragging.

    Airports are the most interesting places. But now you’re little adventure in the ladies room?? THAT tops it all!! =)

  13. Cindy dadik says:

    Surprises make life more interesting! And traveling is always an adventure- it’s all in how you look at it!! Enjoy your weekend in OH!!

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