Monday, January 16, 2012

On the road again: Cayman Cookout,
Grand Cayman, day 6

On the way to the airport, the driver mentioned that Grand Cayman was only 23 miles long and 9 miles wide at its widest, and that almost all shops closed at about the same time as he got off work. His point, which other residents echoed in short conversations, was that there just wasn’t much to do on Grand Cayman.

I can certainly see their point, but for a visitor, none of those things matter. It remains one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited. Couple that with a conference full of amazing food and almost non-stop activities, not to mention work and writing, and I was never bored. Not even close.

Mind you, in the interest of science, I would be willing to stay there for a few months and see if boredom set in, so anyone willing to fund such a study should feel free to contact me.

Most of today went to travel, as per the plan. I found it a bit odd to be singled out for a manual luggage search in Grand Cayman, but my suitcase and I passed the test with flying colors. I may even come out ahead, because the very nice guy who searched my bag said he’d go buy a book of mine.

My first flight landed on time, but the second brought me home almost half an hour late. That would have been an acceptable, even normal bit of bad news, but when I arrived at the baggage carousel to claim my bag, a page over the loudspeaker said I should come to the American Airlines baggage claim desk.

That's never good news. I was prepared to hear my bag would be late, but unfortunately, the woman behind the desk delivered the news in the worst possible way for me:

1) She failed to lead with an apology.
2) She immediately went to passive voice.
Her opening line: "Your bag wasn't scanned in Miami and won't be arriving."

Now, I know that I should take this news in stride, and for the most part, I did. I kept a level voice as I asked the necessary questions.

Inside, though, the anger grenade went off, and I had to cope with an adrenaline dump that was none too pleasant. (Remember my various writings--and all the research--about the way PTSD sufferers experience anger?)

By the way, if you're wondering how I think she should have delivered the news, it's simple:
1) Lead with an apology.
2) Take responsibility.
What I would have had her say: "I'm sorry to have to tell you that for reasons I don't know and have been unable to find out, American Airlines did not put your bag on the flight from Miami."

I recognize the corporate bullshit concerns that probably made it impossible for her to say that line even if she had wanted to, but it would have worked for me.

Still, I spent multiple days at the Cayman Cookout, I am home, and my bag should arrive tomorrow, so I have little to complain about.

Now, I have 42 hours at home before I get on the road for Chattacon.

Much to do, so it's back to work for me.

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