A Rainy Day, Lost Luggage and Tangled Christmas Tree Lights


Many friends have sent me an email I believe by now has probably circumnavigated the globe many times over.  You know, one of those feel good emails I am always happy to read.  Who doesn’t need a little uplifting in the middle of their doldrums.  I know I do.

So I have received this email so often I started to think the email was TALKING to me.  You know, telepathically in a weird sort of science-fiction sort of way.

So this email consisted of things Maya Angelou had said on the Oprah Winfrey Show.  I’m sure many or all of you have read it.

It was a typical short course in inspiration with lots of lovely thoughts.  It was nice and all BUT there was this one line that has weighed on me like a ton of bricks ever since receiving it for the first time.

Maya Angelou said, “You can tell a lot about a person by the way they handle three things: a rainy day, lost luggage and tangled Christmas tree lights.”

Hmmmm….what can you tell?  I want to know.  You can’t just throw that out there without clarifying what it is, “YOU CAN TELL”!  Can you tell good things or rotten things about someone?  What if you have a freak-out about two of these things but not the third?  What if you love the rain but lost luggage causes your toenails to curl up into sphinx like statuettes?  I mean crap, what does it say about you? Ugh!

This whole email has caused me great distress.  Dumb I know.  But being the investigative reporter I am I decided to put this to self-evaluation and get to the bottom of what this all meant in regards to ME.

A Rainy Day???  Well, let’s see, I’ve learned to embrace the rain.  When I lived at the beach, rain was always an obstacle to being on the ocean.  Now I know I will live out my days in a very rainy area I’ve learned to love a cloudy, wet day.  It doesn’t bother me at all.

Sooo, what does this say about me?  Is this the reaction that Maya is looking for?  Or not?  I mean lots of people are saddened by the rain and not indifferent like me.  And isn’t sadness a natural reaction to loss; in this case the loss of the sun?  Maya, or are you talking about sadness when the rain hits or another emotion?  If we are talking about sadness, isn’t sadness a crucial, integral part of our human-ness?  Or Maya are you talking about the anger when the rain comes and how it ruins our picnics or runs in the park?  What would that say about me…if I was ANGRY about the rain.  Hmmm, but what if we accept the rain as I do?  Am I numb to the sadness I’m supposed to feel about the damn rain? 

Good God, this has stressed me out to no end.  I mean, Maya just might be thinking I am a numb, bimbo who has accepted her fate to live in a rainy, gray part of the country because she can’t make a better choice for herself.

Wow, that makes me sad.  So what does that say about me?

Lost Luggage???  I have really good lost luggage insurance with American Express.  If my luggage is lost or just delayed for 3 hours, I get a $500 credit for any items I purchase for every bag missing.  This has happened to me twice where my luggage has been delayed, not lost.  I went on two $500 shopping sprees courtesy of American Express.  I can’t complain, send my bags to Alabama for a few hours, I don’t care. 

So let’s see, I am totally fine with lost luggage, so what does that mean?  Is it dependent on what you lose or what is delayed?  I mean if my underpants and hair gel gets sent to Alaska should I be more or less upset than if it’s my shoes that get sent to Vermont?  And will it matter if my luggage is just “misplaced” and not really lost?  Will that tame my reaction? 

Maya, what will it say about me if I don’t get flustered about my lost luggage?  What about if I don’t get disturbed after a one hour flight with lost luggage but I go ballistic over lost baggage after a fifteen hour butt-numbing jump across the globe?  What will that say about me? 

What if I only care about the shopping spree, WHICH IS PRETTY MUCH ALL I CARE ABOUT?  What can you tell me from that? 

And what does it say about me that a random email has taken over almost my whole life?  I know it’s pathetic but for those of you who send me these emails, I really, really do read them and take them to heart.  I seriously do.

Tangled Christmas Tree Lights???  Oooooh, this might be where I miserably fail or maybe NOT because it’s really the blind leading the blind here; we don’t really know what Maya Angelou meant by any of this. 

But really, I have thrown so many fist-clenching stomping fits over this one.  Fits to the point of throwing away perfectly good lights because the tangles were too much for me to deal with.

Is that a spoiled brat attitude or what? 

The worst part is I’m the one who tangled them in the first place!  Eeeks, what does this say about me? 

I mean if tangled lights don’t make you insane, well, then what does that say about you?  I think it makes you pathetic.  The fact that you can sit there and patiently untangle lights because you have nothing better to do is just sad.  Sorry, but that’s how I feel.

So, how did I do? 

Because rain and lost luggage don’t get me fired up but tangled lights do…what does this mean?  Or are you supposed to be wrangled by all of these things which just might be a more normal reaction.  Or is acceptance of all the key here?

Please Maya Angelou if you could please contact me and explain what you mean by all of this and mostly, “What Can You Tell” I would really appreciate it.

Otherwise, this freakin’ email will be the death of me.

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12 Comments

  1. Maggie 1

    I just call my mom. For all three things, but ESPECIALLY the Christmas lights.

    What does that say about ME?!

    Reply
  2. I guess for me it would depend on my hormone levels. Catch me on a low estrogen day with one of those scenarios, and look out!

    Reply
  3. Hmmm. My reactions to all 3 have changed over the years. I think Maya’s questions ought to have age ranges – how you reacted to those things from 18 to 28, 29 – 38, 39 – 48. I mean really if you want to figure it out I hope people learn and develop coping skills as they grow older. So personally I think you can toss out her questions altogether because without age ranges or specifying what point you are at in your life – they aren’t really valid. Or – what your occupation is because you know – if you work in construction and don’t get paid if you don’t work on a rainy day …………

    Reply
  4. Kate 4

    Yes, everyone hates tangled Christmas lights. Ever since reading that Maya Angelou thing about the lights, I’ve always felt bad about myself because of it. I cannot stand tangled lights and have done the same thing as you. Gone out and just bought more.

    Reply
  5. robin 5

    what does it say about you if you only hate a rainy day after 3 days of sun in feb? or if the lost luggage thing doesn’t bug you (because, after all, you have that shopping spree to look forward to) UNLESS the airline employee is a complete JERK about it? Most of all, what, pray tell, does it say about your character if you NEVER have tangled christmas tree lights because every year you take them down, carefully wind them up and place them, individually, in gallon sized ziplock bags? i’m afraid of the answers.

    Reply
  6. Mental P Mama- LOL. I wouldn’t want to experience any of these while I’m cranked up on oral steroids!

    I don’t worry about those things because they aren’t really barometers of life like Maya is saying they are. Rain? What can you do about that? Christmas lights….psshh… buy more.

    How do people respond when they lose a loved one, find out their child is disabled, go through a major life change like divorce? These are the things that try us.

    Reply
  7. I think if you do not love lost luggage, rainy days and tangled lights then you are doomed. Supposedly, we are supposed to see a positive challenge and light in every situation. I’m doomed!

    PS. Thanks for visiting my blog!!

    Reply
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  9. My thoughts exactly, someone just wrote that phrase on my facebook, and I commented with a condensed version of what you just said! Well written article, thanks, lets me know I’m not the only warped sense of humor out there.

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    Reply
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  11. Nice one. I haven’t experienced that eversince.

    Reply
  12. you still lucky because has luggage insurance which cover your items but $500 for someone may not enough for item price in luggage. However if this occur with me just $100 can cover my item cost for me. ha ha ha ^ ^

    Reply

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