Dixie Peach: Thing to Count On and the Unexpected

Cooler than the other side of the pillow.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Thing to Count On and the Unexpected

When I fly, there are things I can be fairly certain will happen. I always ask for an aisle seat so I can count on my arm being banged by the drink cart. I know I will order tomato juice to drink.

Not to digress, but I heard that tomato juice is extremely popular with people in airplanes. Evidently it's something people don't often drink at home and when they see it offered on the plane they think "Hmmm! Tomato juice! I haven't had that in a while. Give me a tomato juice!". They then will associate tomato juice with airplane travel and order it every time because it then becomes a travel ritual for them.

Anyway, I know I will wear my Birkenstock clogs on the plane. I know I will forget that I'm in a pressurized cabin and will open my little cup of yogurt with it facing me so that it spritzes on my top. And I know that I will look forward to watching the in-flight movie but I will end up hating the movie.

It happens every time. It could be that it's merely coincidence that the feature film is of something not my taste. Past films shown to me as I cross the Atlantic Ocean have included The Parent Trap - the Lindsay Lohan one - The Avengers, Unbreakable, The Mask of Zorro, The Evening Star, The Manchurian Candidate - the remake with Denzel Washington. All of them - boring, annoying crap. Maybe it's the idea that I'm watching them while on a plane that makes them so terrible. If I were seeing them in the theater or in the comfort of my living room perhaps they'd be more to my liking. Or maybe not. The Avengers was such complete shit that not even watching it while in my jammies in my living room while eating Kettle Corn and drinking Coke could save it.

When I flew to the US in early 2001 I remember being somewhat pleased to see that Pay It Forward would be one of the films shown. I like Haley Joel Osment. I love Kevin Spacey. I generally can't stand Helen Hunt but maybe I'd get lucky and she would be the Helen Hunt of As Good as it Gets and not the Helen Hunt of Twister. Unfortunately Pay It Forward suffered the in-flight-film curse. I hated it. Really hated it. It was sappy, maudlin and Kevin Spacey was about as interesting as wet cardboard. I was so disappointed. I hated it enough that when it came on TV months later I couldn't give it another chance.

And yet the underlying message of the movie is one that resonates with me. The whole idea of someone being generous to you and in turn to "repay" that generosity you are generous to three others and so on. It's an idea that really can do a lot of good when it's put into effect and even the smallest acts of kindness are important. It doesn't matter if you do something as small as send a card to a friend or you make a generous donation to a charity - every act of kindness that gets passed on can make a difference in how people feel about themselves and the world around them.

A friend of Poppy's was the recipient of some acts of kindness by another friend and she's taken on the challenge to pay it forward. Poppy took on the challenge as well and now I'm doing the same. Here's how it works:

I will send a handmade gift to 3 random people who leave a comment on my blog requesting to join this Pay It Forward exchange. I don’t know what that gift will be yet and you may not receive it tomorrow or next week, but you will receive it within 365 days, that is my promise! The only thing you have to do if you like, is in return pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog.

That's it. If you'd like to participate in this challenge, leave a comment here saying you'd like to participate. I'll pick three people at random and they'll be getting a handmade gift from me. And if you'd like to continue to pay it forward, post this challenge on your blog as well and give three handmade gifts to those who leave you a comment. It doesn't have to be anything expensive or extravagant - just heartfelt and something that will make the recipient feel special. And if you don't have a blog, that's okay as well. Just pick three folks you know and give them an unexpected gift or card - anything to brighten their day.

Over the years I've lived in Germany I've been the recipient of very kind acts of generosity. Friend and family - even folks I didn't know all that well - have sent me cards and gifts when I didn't expect them. Those tokens of kindness made me feel less alone and less homesick and very well loved. In turn I've tried to think of others and repay them with acts of generosity and I hope it's resulted in them, in a small way, feeling better about themselves and their lives.

Pay It Forward is a great idea. Just don't make me watch that movie again.



Blogger sari said...

1. I always get tomato juice on planes as well.

2. I actually liked Parent Trap but I,too, can't stand Helen Hunt. Even is As Good As It Gets. If that's as good as it gets, then I don't want it, thanks.

3. I'll pay it forward, but feel free to pick others as you may feel inclined.


1:59 AM  
Blogger Hilda said...

1) I have to be in a very special mood for tomato juice

2) I hated "Parent Trap" with Lindsey Lohan - but I love Helen Hunt. I hated the movie "Twister" though.

3) I would love to participate in the *Pay It Forward* thing, but is the "handmade" part a deal-breaker. See, the thing is, I don't "hand-make" things and if I did, trust me when I say this, no one would want it.

4:23 AM  
Blogger kara said...

I was once forced to watch Solaris on a plane. Both directions because the westbound tape wasn't working on the way there, so we watched the eastbound one.

It was horrid. Not even George Clooney's hotness could save that movie.

I like the pay it forward thing y'all are doing, but I can't even guarantee that I'd be able to get something in the mail in 365 days (I still have some mac&cheese sitting in a box waiting for me to address it and mail it to you, but can't seem to muster up the energy to do it). So, anyway, keep up the coolness. :)

5:39 AM  
Blogger jen said...

i hate the movies too! I really wanted to like mr and mrs smith(something to do with the angelina jolie thing), but couldn't stand it and can't re-watch them once they've been soiled by plane viewing.

This was a fabulous blog. Don't put me on the list as I am lucky in the kindness department, I get far more than my share and try to pass it on. I really like that you put this post out there. thank you.

10:29 AM  
Blogger UmmFarouq said...

We were delighted with Ms. Potter and Music & Lyrics on our last transatlantic flight. Not. My 12-year old daughter is still singing "Pop! Goes my Heart," so wonderfully sung by Hugh Grant.

I would like to be counted in the Pay it Forward plan. I have a PO Box and I know how to use it. I have been blessed with folks sending me the loveliest and most thoughtful cards and gifts. It really does help to quell homesickness.

12:20 PM  
Blogger Marsha said...

1. I have never in my life even tasted tomato juice, I drink orange juice on the plane, and I always have wine with dinner, red wine. I am always an absolute mess when I get off the plane, I blame it on the kids.

2. It is inconceivable to me that anyone could not love The Mask of Zorro, I love Antonio Banderas so very much I cannot express it with words.

2. Count me in on the pay-it-forward.

1:45 PM  
Blogger Mr. Fabulous said...

I had not heard that about tomato juice. That's strange. It's not like tomato juice is hard to get.

I will have to pay attention the next time I fly.

1:54 PM  
Blogger Dixie said...

Oh I think the whole tomato juice on a plane thing has nothing to do with how available it is - I think tomato juice is just something most folks seldom drink outside of a Bloody Mary. Then they see it offered on a plane and they think "Hmmmm!". I know that's how I got hooked on my tomato-juice-on-a-plane thing.

Let me make it clear to everyone - the Pay It Forward thing for me is and sending handmade gifts to three of you does not hinge on if you do it yourself. The thing about Pay It Forward is that it has to be something you want to do, not have to do. The only thing you have to do to be eligible for a gift from me is to leave a comment here. And if you do decide to Pay It Forward, you don't have to do handmade gifts. It can just be cards or bookmarks or a souvenir from where you live. Change the "rules" to fit you. Make it your own challenge.

I'm just going to pick three of you at random on Friday - whatever comments I have by Friday evening my time will be the ones I choose from.

8:44 PM  
Blogger Tiffany said...

Tomato juice huh? Maybe I'm missing out, but I can't stand the taste.

As far as movies go, I have never been on a plane long enough! Ha!

I think you and Poppy and everyone else who are doing the pay it forward rock!

9:52 PM  
Blogger hexe said...

I understand the tomato juice on planes, but my choice is always ginger ale. I never drink soda but order ginger ale on every plane ride. I try to convince myself the ginger ale will settle my stomach.

I like the pay it forward idea. Imagine how much nicer life would be if people did this on a regualry basis.

10:28 PM  
Blogger sari said...

the tomato juice thing becomes pavlovian.

it's exactly as you say - you get on the plane, you see someone drinking it, you think "hmmm, haven't had *that* in a while, and then it becomes a habit.

you get on the plane and you have to order the tomato juice.

it's kind of weird.

12:55 AM  
Blogger Rositta said...

I've lived most of my life with the pay forward principle. Not gifts but deeds and was recently rewarded by one of my favourite bloggers. She travels to remote countries and works in orphanages. She's in Bolivia at the moment and was in Mozambique in the summer.
I don't have time now to get involved since I'll be travelling for the next 6 weeks...have fun, ciao:)

1:36 AM  
Anonymous Lisa said...

How did I miss this one? I must've been in a hurry. The pay it forward idea is a good one. Count me in. I'm going to select three people at random from my blog list.
*warm heart* :)

8:29 AM  
Blogger JEANNETTE said...

Ooh, I'd love to take part in the Pay It Forward happening. It's funny, I saw that movie on a plane too - from Amsterdam to New York. I hated the ending if I recall correctly. I don't like tomato juice, though. My hubby always drinks vodka orange which he NEVER drinks on the ground...but it helps him get over his fear of flying (or so he says).

Anyway, whether you choose me or not you have inspired me to send a nice lady in Oregon a skein of german sock yarn I have sitting in a drawer...she admired it and was sad that she couldn't get any in the states. That can be fixed! :-)

12:03 PM  
Blogger purplepassion said...

I get Cranberry juice on planes. But since you put this Tomato Juice bug in my head I may go wild and get some next time.WooHoo!

We saw Pay It Forward as a family. It was actually a homework assignment for 15 when he was like 9 or 10. It was what it was. But I love your challenge idea. Count me in.

7:02 PM  

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