Sometimes at the end of my tours, between the spot where I drop people off for down town, but before their ship, I start to talk about some pretty random stuff. The time is open for questions, so the conversation goes wherever the few remaining passengers take it. Sometimes they ask about me.
Last week when I was doing a tour off of the Star Princess, this happened, and a small group was curious to know what I do in Juneau when I'm not working.
"Oh, I do a little hiking and I read a lot. I try to write letters to keep up with the people I'm away from."
They all made a little noise about writing letters, saying no one does it anymore, and they thought it quite cute that a bus driver could be included among the ranks of that lost form of correspondence.
"Some girls have shoes. Some girls have hand bags. I have stationary. There is nothing like a high quality piece of cotton parchment!" Yes, I said that. Yes, I understand it sounds ridiculous. After that, I said to the crowd, "If any of you are writers, leave me your address - I'll write you a note!"
No one left me their address. That is, no one left it with me as they were getting off the bus.
Yesterday I was getting off work and went to my box to get my punch card. There waiting for me was a piece of paper saying:
Please pass this information along to a driver of yours who goes by "Ariel." Thank you - signed the Shore Excursion Manager from the Star Princess. Below that was an address.
I was stumped for a few minutes until I remembered my silly dialogue the week before that I recounted above. Someone sent me their address!
I put a little note in the mail today. We'll see what happens next. I got so happy about it. Dan laughed at me, but it mattered - that someone went to the effort to pass along a little personal lifeline. Yes I'm just a tour guide, but maybe when someone gets on my bus I turn their whole vacation around. Maybe they're having a horrible time in our cool, wet weather, and my silly talking gives them something to laugh about, or make fun of - either way, it doesn't matter to me.