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If We’re Green We Grow

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Good morning Baltimore!

It’s a line from Hairspray, the musical, and I’ve been using it as I greet each day here in Baltimore, USA.  Baltimore is not exactly a rocking place but I am grateful to sing wherever our music and talents are valued.  We’re doing concerts here with our Act, Bravo Amici, and then back to New York and on to London.  Then I’m looking forward to spending this weekend in Monte Carlo for an exclusive gig – can’t possibly tell you what for though, not until afterwards, as we’re ‘Incognito Artists’ for a reason!

Something happened last week when I was back in London, for a few days in the office again and having family time, that made me think twice. I was picking up my youngest daughter in Hampstead and I’d parked my big, rather obvious car in a resident parking zone as I whipped into her school to grab her and came out again. I was only there for 5 minutes so I was hoping the Parking Gods would smile at us.

When we approached the car we saw the dreaded parking warden writing furiously onto his pad, looking at my car and my heart sank. You know the feeling?!  “Great, it’s just cost me £40 to pick up Olivia”, I thought.

When I looked at him he gave me the thumbs up sign and grinned like a Cheshire cat.  Having many experiences of London parking wardens over the years, and none of them pleasant, I assumed the worst and thought he was rubbing his hands in glee.  I said to him, ‘That’s not a very nice attitude when giving a ticket’.

To assume always makes an ‘ass’ out of ‘u’ and ‘me’.  I should know better.

His face fell and he looked hurt and he said, ‘I’m telling you you’re okay.  No ticket’.

And I felt like the biggest loser on the planet.

He was displaying the kind of attitude I love and respect – going about his day, playfully, doing his best in his work and assessing any situation on its merit and what’s present in front of him.  He wasn’t being a jobsworth or getting pleasure out of my pain, regardless of my ‘listening’ for parking wardens.

And I ruined it.

I apologized for being so wrong and thanked him for his kindness but it was too late.  Damage done. I walked away having experienced yet another valuable life lesson:  never assume.  We never know what another person is thinking, even if we think we do.  Always be present, in the moment, now.  Always give someone the benefit of the doubt before jumping to conclusions.  (I could go on…)

And I had the added bonus, or humiliation, of doing all this in front of Olivia.  So she learned too.

What is life if it’s not one big opportunity for learning!  If we’re green we grow; if we’re ripe, we rot. (Yet another pearl from my Dad, one of his favourites).

Rock on!

Geoff

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