Coming home from Seattle on the Clipper we sat in front of two men whom I found to be loud and annoying. They were en-route to Victoria for a business meeting. It was obvious that the gent sitting at the window was higher in the company echelon (Mr. Boss). His coworker (Jan) was working really hard at impressing him. We heard the complaints of the poor breakfast at the Clipper Cafe compared to the 5 Star hotel Mr. Boss was staying at (duh) and the fact that he was pretty angry this meeting was so early in Canada. Mr. Boss called his assistant many times changing his flight plans for a future flight – twice forgetting her name. Then the voice control emails began. He commented to his travelling companion how inept these voice controls are but he continued to send them.
Jan pointed out some of the great scenery. He told Mr. Boss that he and his wife had thought about buying on Whitby Island – it was very beautiful. Mr. Boss said snottily “Oh really? I do like Florida. Are there golf courses there?”
Mr. Boss said he couldn’t believe the customs officer in SEA called Jan, Janice. Jan reacted quite emotionally (and louder than usual): “that’s my name!!” Mr. Boss said “really?” “Yes, Janus is my name, J-A-N-U-S. It would be Janice if I was a female” SILENCE.
More work related, professional conversation continued. I actually felt sorry for Jan. Mr. Boss was difficult and Jan was not making headway. Then, the pivotal moment came. Jan yawned and said “I’ve been awake since 3 a.m. when our dog jumped on our bed and puked. Then he looked at us as if to say ‘what are we going to do today?’ haha”. Mr. Boss instantly softened. “Really, you have a dog? What kind? I have two Whippets”. Their strained working relationship barrier was eased. They’d found a common thread and a pretty great one, I thought! They talked about the ages of each dog, their habits, showed pictures on their phones, etc. Although I was not facing them, I know there were smiles on their faces. I quickly warmed up to these two guys. They like dogs.
I love that no matter how pretentious, cranky, and arrogant people can be, talking about their pet completely changes their disposition in such a positive way. It also changes the way I view some people. I ended up thinking these guys were okay! I even partially forgave Jan’s final comment as we pulled into Victoria Harbour – “weird looking boat over there, must be bringing in beer, it’s Canada after all”.