Saturday, August 25, 2012

Night and Day

So, there I was – at the Philadelphia airport with a first class ticket on a flight to Minneapolis, Minnesota.  The next morning.

You didn’t expect me to spend the night at the airport did you? 
Brother to the rescue.

Now, don’t get to thinking that he’s a prince among men and all that stuff.  In fact, through my whole travel ordeal, he was sending me texts and calling me saying such supportive things like – “You’ve been to London, you should be able to handle this.”  “You’re a world traveler!”  “Are you hangry?  I bet you’re hangry!”  “I’m trying to be supportive…like a jock strap!”  “Still hangry?” 
Granted, he did play a crucial part in translating for my parents who don’t do very well in the communication department in times of crisis. 

I think my brother realized that I was at the end of the rope when I was trying to make sense of the SEPTA train timetable and was crying again realized I had justmissed a train and would have to wait another god knows how long for the next one.  So, he said the magic word:  “I’ll come pick you up and we’ll go get dinner.”  Dinner being the magic word, of course.
My tears dissipated, everything became right in the world again, and I remembered that heroes do walk among us. 

And that’s the story of how I flew to Philadelphia to have dinner with my brother. 

When we were kids my mom used to tell people that my brother and I were as different as night and day. 
He was artistic. I was not. 

I was a reader.  He was not.
He was athletic.  I was not.

I was a good student.  He was not.

He was intellectually gifted.  I was not. 

I was a morning person.  He most definitely was not. 
Things haven’t really changed in 30 odd years.    

We’re still pretty different. 
I believe strongly in punctuality.  My brother lives life according to his own clock which seems to be in a time zone that no one has quite discovered except for him. 

My brother’s house is decorated with a discerning eye towards detail.  The fact that the screws in my light switch plates aren’t aligned the same way makes him bonkers. 
I can’t smell an ashtray on fire right next to me (yes, it really happened).  My brother can walk into a room and get sick from the smell of cigarette smoke.   

My brother whips up amazing meals for family and friends.  I offer family and friends the bounty of my take-out menu drawer. 
As we ate dinner that night and he told me a story about work, I realized that, in some respects, we’re not so different after all. 

My brother is an HVAC guy…he installs heaters and boilers and big stuff like that and he’s very serious and very meticulous about it.  Sometimes, I get the sense that his tendency towards perfectionism might drive his coworkers crazy.  I wondered aloud if he was being a bit tough on them.  He got very agitated and said things had to be done a certain way – his way – so that it was done right.  I thought he was on a very high horse, indeed.
And then I chuckled because really, when it comes to work, I’m the same way.  My brother flips out about ductwork.  I flip out about improper records arrangement, crooked labels, and people not spell-checking their work.  Sometimes, I ride a pretty high horse myself.     

Yeah, we’re still as different as night and day. 
But every night has some light and every day has its darkness. 


(This morning person is eternally grateful that her not-a-morning-person brother got up at 4:30 to take her to the airport the next morning!)

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