John and I went Snorkeling around Lanai on an incredible trip with Safari Boat Excursions in
exchange for 90 minutes of my life. For a whale watching, sunken WWII vessel snorkeling, thrill ride cave mouth dare-devil stunting, guaranteed dolphin sighting experience, we agreed that I’d attend a 90 minute sales pitch aimed at a demographic much different from mine. The only other details I was told was that it was NOT a timeshare and I’d need to convince these folks that I, Miss Living On Hawaiian Food Stamps, make about $85,000 a year.
So, In exchange for a man to hold his boat just outside of a lava tube, allowing John and I to sit on the bow and tempt the ocean by dangling our legs in the scant space between the vessel and lava rock, waves thundering past with enough force to shatter not only our illusions of invincibility, but the craft itself, I was blessed with the opportunity to enjoy 90 minutes of Powerpoint “brilliance” delivered by a man who joked (playfully of course) that he could take away our “gifts” if we didn’t participate and laugh.
Ha. Ha. Ha.
Ha! Ha! Ha!
I immediately realized that there were two ways to go through this presentation. I chose to open my sense of humor up to it, and allow it to be a pleasant time instead of a boring, horrible, push to sell something that sounds A LOT like a timeshare to me.
I laughed a lot
The story I gave Angela, the lady asking all the questions, was that I’m a traveling dance instructor (I confirmed this by adding a body roll and shimmy for sport), and that I travel the world sometimes working, most times playing, since I love what I do.
See! That wasn’t too far off at all!? The parts that I fudged a little might be how much money I made last year (Uh…$85,000?), what kind of accommodations I usually require for a vacation (Definitely hotel. I like room service, you know, because you don’t have to do anything yourself), and whether or not I’m staying in an overpriced whitewashed cage built on a foundation of locks, closed doors, and elevators to more of the same. (Definitely staying at the Westin Hotel…Don’t you just LOVE Black Rock? I jumped!!!)
There were two times where I could have gotten myself into trouble. One was a specific question about construction at the Westin I claimed to be patronizing with John, and I answered a confident, “Yeah, they might be building a new wing or something? It looks a little ratty,” having no clue if there was or wasn’t construction. Angela didn’t seem to notice. The second time was when the performer/salesman guy asked the audience confidently, “I mean, really, who hasn’t been on a cruise before?” and I raised my hand, answering a big, fat NO to his sure-fire follow-up question, “But you’d want to take a cruise if you could, right?” This was the closest I came the entire 90 minutes to spilling the beans, to explaining the confines of a cruise ship, the schedule, the stolen time, the inability to know a place by walking down the main street from the dock to the nearest diamond, ice cream, and souvenir stores…
The closest I came to explaining how to me, that type of travel is as lame as a television.
I simply replied when challenged with disbelief, “I just couldn’t handle someone else controlling my vacation like that. I like to be free, not told I can’t spend an extra night somewhere if I please. I guess it’s just not for me.”
I was labelled “Aurita the Troublemaker.”
Though I still prefer Hurricane Rita.
I watched two couples take the bait and purchase the non-timeshare timeshare.
I walked out of that briefing/sales pitch/bad joke fest with one single thought (aside of YES, YES! We’re going snorkeling! I pulled it off!!!)
If we could promote our way of travel, sharing, communicating, and connecting using the same Death by Powerpoint method for 90 minutes to the exact same crowd, I guarantee we could have convinced more than just two couples to “Join our team,” or at least consider making more eye contact the next time they walk down a street.
More than two couples would have seen the benefit of getting out of the overpriced whitewashed cage with the manicured lawn, and into the lush, vivid hues of nature. Unmanicured.
They would have understood the value of making real connections, real relationships with people all over the world, wherever they go…
Or maybe just in their neighborhood!
More than two couples would have been infected by our excitement for life, laughs, love, people, and travel.
More than two couples would have begun daydreaming immediately about their next trip, even if living it in their mind is all they’d ever have the courage to do.
Consider the possibilities!
I’m thinking of putting Powerpoint on this computer.