It should be no surprise to me, or to anyone, that personal wealth and good manners are not mutually exclusive. I guess I already knew that, as we all do, but it was reinforced today on my bus tour of the Western Scottish Highlands. It was a nice small group tour, only thirteen on the 'short bus'. You know that old saying 'there's one in every crowd'? I met that one today.
The main reason I find these small group tours so appealing is that you have fewer people to wait on. With a bus load of 48, there are bound to be a handful who feel it's their God-given right to stretch the appointed meeting time to accommodate that second cup of coffee, or that stroll around the lake. Wth a small group, that handful can be reduced, and with any luck, eliminated entirely. Given my luck quotient on this trip to date, it should be no surprise that the 'eliminated entirely' wasn't the option available to me. There was this one Argentinian woman who, based on the value of the resort she was staying in, and the even greater value of her accommodations on previous trips to Glasgow, was loaded...crazy wealthy. However, nothing else about her matched that description. She was accommodated by a hotel pick up at a high falluten resort called Cameron House. The concierge drove her out of the resort to the end of the driveway and kept her company until we arrived. All twelve of us are nicely ensconced in the seats of our choice with a hearing impaired lady sitting on the front passenger side beside the driver to enable her to read the guide's lips as all the history and area descriptions were shared. Let's just refer to this Argentinian as 'BSC' from this point on, and by BSC, I mean 'Bat-shit crazy'. So BSC boards the bus and there is a single seat available right behind the hearing impaired lady. BSC says to the driver 'I vant that sit', to which the guide explained the woman was hearing impaired and needed to lip read and that front seat afforded a good vantage point for that, but there was the seat directly behind open, and wouldn't that do? 'No, I vant that sit. I hurt my lig playing gulf and dare is not enough rum there. I sit in the front sit'. Through the jigs and the reels, they make some adjustments and the hearing impaired lady moves. BSC sits in the front, props her leg up on the dash and replies 'This von't do...the sit is too close to the dash'. She turns around to the double seat behind the driver occupied by a lovely woman from Malta. 'I sit there'. The guide is getting a bit frazzled by this. She asks the woman from Malta if she minds sharing the double seat, but that just won't do for BSC. Nope, she wants the double seat to herself so she can stretch out her 'lig'. Musical chairs ensues. The hearing impaired lady goes back to her original seat, Mrs. Malta takes the seat behind the impaired lady and BSC gets the double seat behind the driver all to herself. And as the comedian Bill Engvall would say 'there's your sign'.
Aside from BSC, who has that overall sense of entitlement that sometimes exists with the uber rich, we had a lovely day. Everyone, including BSC was punctual at every stop. There were no draggers, braggers or lolly gaggers. The weather was beautiful and sunny, the temps warm, the scenery lovely.
The tour progresses. We've hit all the highlights and we're heading towards Glasgow again. We only have a few photo ops left. These are merely road side turnouts where the bus can pull out of traffic and people get out to snap a picture. Generally, they are 5 to 10 minute stops. On this one particular stop, I opted to wait in the bus. It was windy, it was the umpteenth Loch that I'd seen, and hey, to be quite frank, ya seen one loch, ya' v seen them all...more or less. Two seats in front of me BSC has also elected to remain in the bus. The next I hear her yell to the driver 'Hey, why we stop here? It not on the leest.' Juliette, the guide, has provided each of us with a typed sheet identifying each stop and their names...cause...well...ya seen one loch, ya'v seen them all...So who could keep all those names straight. BSC proceeds to tell the guide that she is in a hurry. She has to get back to her hotel. She doesn't want to stop here, and it's not on the 'leest'. Some back and forth ensues between BSC and Juliette. We get to our final stop where we have 30 minutes in the small town of Luss on the shores of Loch Lomond. Juliette announces that while we are in Luss she is going to run BSC back to her hotel because she's in a hurry. BSC starts to spit and sputter and I can't resist. In my best Dracula from Hotel Transylvania impression, I say rather loudly so everyone can hear 'blah blablahhh', and walk off the bus. She's lucky...I wanted to punch her!
As I told Juliette when she returned from dropping BSC off, 'It's a shame ya know. I may not remember some of the really great things I've seen today...but I'll never forget HER!!'