"Turn left, your seat is down the aisle this way," the flight attendant kindly pointed out as she steered me toward my ENORMOUS seat!
Left? I had never turned LEFT on a plane before. I always turn right with my soggy airport sandwich . . .
tucked into my purse before locating my spot in economy class, along with my fellow sardines; our bodies crowded into too little space, our jackets crammed into the overhead bin, our requests repeatedly ignored. You buckle in, try to get the air vent working, and then inevitably wait for the passenger in the row ahead of you to slam his seat painfully into your knees. (This is why people pop pills, I suspect.) If flying was considered glamorous at one point, it certainly no longer is. There's got to be a better way (turns out, there is).
"I'm Karen," the attendant cheerfully continued, "this is today's menu for your meals (plural - meal(S)!). "Can I pour you some champagne?" (Sparking water would be great.) "Do you need a blanket?" (Uh sure, thanks.) "Just call me if you need anything else she practically sang . . . (Really?)
This was surreal. The blankets and pillows in "business class" are made of cotton and have lovely, soft pillow cases, the entertainment is free, drinks are poured the moment you sit down, the seats extend horizontally into a cozy bed, there are four attendants to approximately 30 guests, they personally hang your coats in closets, there are NO lines for the bathrooms, and about half way through the flight, they actually served us warm chocolate chip cookies and ice cream sundaes! (Is this what heaven looks like?)
Say, a person could get use to this kind of treatment.
Having now experienced what flying "business class" actually means, I'm afraid I can never go back to slumming it again. In fact, our quick sojourn to Italy to ski the Alps may be my last vacation abroad now that I've seen how good the exalted 1% have it. (First class actually is a better way of life.) If money can't buy happiness, it can certainly buy room to spare.
Yes, we skied the Alps. (See how I just casually slipped that in?) Our dear friends, Betsy and Rob, who moved to Austin years ago were dropping their youngest son off for a semester abroad in Torino, Italy and unexpectedly invited us to join them. It had been years since we had spent any real time together and the last-minute offer was far too tempting to pass up. Betsy works for Delta Airlines so she was able to score us some "friends and family" passes (Sweeeeet!) and made the reservations in Courmayeur at a lovely, historic hotel to boot.
Courmayeur is a poetic little village at the base of the Mt. Blanc and as one would imagine, is an idyllic, picture postcard with its snow-covered rooftops and welcoming Pastarias. How could we turn down this impromptu invitation to reunite In Italy, laugh uproariously, and eat spaghetti Bolognese?(We didn't). The trip was nearly perfect, save for my skiing, which only looks decent on nicely maintained, corduroy runs. (Just a suggestion Italy.)
"Perfect" is an interesting concept for a gal who grew up in a large family filled with chaos, but yearned for control and sought "perfection" in response. Of course, I fell short more often than I achieved anything close to perfection;"perfection" being an unrealistic goal at best and a real pain-in-the-you-know-what at worst. Happily, I've learned to let "perfection" go. That's okay. We aren't here to be perfect, but to do the best we can.
Which isn't to say that I'm not trying to make your transaction as seamless and perfect as possible (I am.), but that I recognize that at some point along the way, we're bound to run into a glitch or two. Welcome to the world of Real Estate where all the moving parts are constantly in flux. Each home is unique, each set of Buyers or Sellers are unique, and the circumstances that precipitate a sale, are also (you guessed it) unique! It's the learning curve I've come to appreciate now, the journey on which we embark, and the challenges as they unfold; in essence, the ungroomed slope we happen upon and work our way slowly down. (In truth, I've gingerly picked my way down that slope more than a time or two.)
Looking back, there have been less than a handful of deals that wereeasy. In fact, the easier I thought they would be, the more challenging they often became. Listen, this is your home, so it's bound to be anemotional journey, no matter how pragmatic we'd wish it to be. If I've learned anything along the way it's that the concept of "home" is truly individual to every Buyer and Seller in pursuit of fulfilling their dreams. If it weren't, you'd simply buy and sell online, akin to purchasing an airline ticket via the Internet and Realtors would have long gone the way of the travel agent(or the Dodo bird. Gratefully, we haven't.) And because the concept of "home" is different for everyone, there's more than one way to arrive at your destination.
With the understanding that ALL sales present obstacles as a starting point, we are very likely going to run into some serious moguls along the way. If we can't, in fact, steer away from them altogether, how we work through the unexpected is what sets one Realtor apart from another. With hundreds of satisfied clients to tell the tale, I'd like to think I problem solve exceedingly well, but whatever bumps we come across, you'll get my very best as we either maneuver around the icy patches or find an alternate route. (There's usually more than one way down the hill.) Hey, maybe we'll even catch the gondola and just enjoy the view!
Whether its a first-class journey or coach we are traveling in, I'm definitely along for the ride. . .
How can I help you?
Julie Gardner, has been writing The Perspective for 15 years and has published more than 600 essays. She is also a frequent contributor to the Sound Off column in the Real Estate section of The San Francisco Chronicle.