It was one of those times when silence would have been the best policy. Unfortunately, for my sister and me, a few sharp words said aloud had brought about its own kind of justice.
I had received a phone call from my sister asking me if I would like to join her on a business trip to Amsterdam. Elated, I accepted her offer. It would be my first trip to Europe.
We were booked on an evening flight out of JFK International Airport in New York City. We were served a full meal on the plane and before long; we had drifted off to sleep.
Upon our arrival in Amsterdam, we settled into our hotel room and planned the activities we would engage in during our trip. Each day, we walked for hours, down the horse-shoe shaped streets, visiting antique shops, boutiques and clothing stores. We stood by the curbside and watched the waterboats as they glided down the calm waters of the city’s canals. We dined at an authentic Dutch restaurant and ate family-style with other people in the restaurant. We stumbled into a coffee house expecting to receive a great cup of European brewed coffee and quickly learned that coffee and sweet treats were not the main items on the menu. In the evenings, we perused the streets in the Red Light District and popped into a couple of nightclubs to hear jazz music.
My sister and I marveled at the friendliness of the people, as well as the city’s diverse cultural landscape. To us, Amsterdam was a city full of wonder and unique complexities.
While sitting in the International airport waiting area, on the return trip home, my sister and I recapped the highlights of our trip. Naturally, we compared Amsterdam to a few American cities, especially New York City, which has been called “New Amsterdam” and agreed that we would love to go back to Amsterdam one day.
Soon after our conversation, we heard our flight number being called. The flight crew was ready to board passengers on the plane. As my sister and I walked into the jet way, we were stifled by the strong aroma hovering in air. We turned to each other and loudly proclaimed that we did not want to be seated near anyone whose natural scent would be offensive.
However, as it turned out, we were completely surrounded by seat partners who valued the body’s natural aroma. Since we were booked on a full flight, we were not able to be seated elsewhere. So, we did the only thing we could do…….sat back and enjoyed the eight-hour flight home.